In April 2014, Kenny Stuckey, an Army veteran, decided that he wanted to launch a food truck in order to be independent and to create something of his own. He and his partner Bill Voget began to research how to start a business, specifically a food truck, while selling chicken on street corners in Oakland to build a following.
Now, Kenny’s Heart and Soul is the only soul food truck in the Bay Area, serving hundreds of customers each week their famous homestyle cooking. “Kenny’s Heart and Soul is love on wheels. Our fried chicken is that ‘shake and bake’ style that you shake in a paper bag then cook in some oil. My dad’s recipes inspire us, and our grounded, homespun approach is what our customers connect to,” says Kenny.
Kenny and Bill came to Veteran Launch looking for an organized, financing partner. “At Veteran Launch, they asked the pertinent questions. Going through the process gave me confidence and made me feel like my business has value for the City of Oakland,” says Kenny. “At the time, we got counseling and guidance from Veteran Launch, and that was invaluable. The money let me complete my vision, and the support made it possible for us to start.”
Kenny’s Heart and Soul is focused on creating local jobs, and is always on the lookout for veterans they want to hire. “One of our first employees was a veteran, and we love her! I find that military veterans have a lot of common sense, an enormous skillset, and are really smart.”
Our staff love Kenny’s food, and we were thrilled to feature them at our office warming in June 2015. “It’s the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had,” says Jen Leybovich, Vice President – Strategy & Development. “Everything on their menu is delicious.”
“For aspiring entrepreneurs, I always ask, ‘Are you ready? Because this will be your life.’ Always do your research, and then research your research. Being prepared helps set you up for success,” advises Kenny.
Kenny’s Heart and Soul is positioned to grow over the next several years, thanks to Kenny and Bill’s vision and hard work. You can catch Kenny’s Heart and Soul all over the Bay each week. Follow them on Twitter for their locations: @KennysHeartSoul, and visit their website to learn more.