DAPHNE -- Abbey Graves is an elementary school teacher by trade and a widowed mother of two girls, Lily and Grace. The family lived on the Alabama Gulf Coast for 10 years before moving back to …
DAPHNE -- Abbey Graves is an elementary school teacher by trade and a widowed mother of two girls, Lily and Grace. The family lived on the Alabama Gulf Coast for 10 years before moving back to Tennessee to be near family, but Graves knew she wanted to move back to Baldwin County. Two and a half years ago, she packed up her girls and moved to Daphne.
With young children active in sports much of Graves' time outside of the school building is spent at the ballfields or driving children around. There's no time for dating. Luckily, she found love at the ballfields when she met Ron Burnett. The two met a year and a half ago.
While on a long road trip to a University of Tennessee football game, Burnett's dream of opening a snow cone stand or truck came up during conversation.
"Ron knew the guy that owns the Wacked Out Weiner, and we called him on our road trip to get some information and thoughts. We asked how to go about starting a snow cone truck," Graves said. "We knew we needed a commissary and thought he might let us use his but instead he sold us on the idea of owning a Wacked Out Weiner franchise. Ron and I's story started with the food truck."
Graves said the owner of Wacked Out Weiner, Mark Clifford and his wife Laurie Clifford, had been operating the food truck in addition to the Foley location and were looking to pass the food truck business on to someone new.
"It was great timing for us. He gave us a lot of food for thought and we spent the next two or three weeks talking about it. That was in October 2021," Graves said.
Within a few months Graves and Burnett were the proud owners of the Wacked Out Weiner food truck and the Daphne franchise. The original thought was it would be a weekend enterprise until the summer when
Graves could focus on the business while school was out of session. But Graves said God laughs when people make plans.
Graves and Burnett took a day off work to train in the in the Foley store. It wasn't long before they booked their first event and it was a big one.
"We jumped into the deep end. We opened in February 2021 and our first event was at Evonik in Theodore. They were hosting a Mardi Gras party for their employees. There were 800 people. We had no idea what to expect and we just went with it," Graves said.
The truck arrived at 9 a.m. and started serving at 10 a.m. and had a line all day long. Graves' daughters even came along to help and sold t-shirts.
"It was exhilarating. We were super excited because it was such a huge event and it went smoothly. Everyone was nice and happy. It has been nonstop since," Graves said.
Graves started promoting the truck across social media when they started in February. Once word spread, more people called to book the truck for events. Graves didn't want to turn people away or get a reputation of being hard to book so she said yes and would figure it out. Luckily, her online teaching position gives her flexibility and she has the drive to go nonstop. Burnett works full time and doesn't have flexibility to help during the week. Graves has learned to work the truck on her own during smaller events and her future mother-in-law Karen Burnett often helps on the truck or manages the children wrangling.
The Wacked Out Weiner food truck can often be found in various neighborhoods throughout Daphne, at events and even in Mobile.
Graves said the Wacked Out Weiner franchise appealed to them because of the established brand and low overhead and startup costs. The truck and the restaurant locations exclusively use hot dog rollers to cook all beef Nathan's hot dogs. There is no need for stoves, friers or exhaust hoods. The menu on the truck is smaller than the store's due to size but they can make the most popular items. The brand is famous for the unique toppings offered from chili and cheese to the Wacky Macky which includes macaroni and cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce.
While the learning curve was steep, Graves and Burnett are all in. They have leased a space in the Fountain Square strip mall in Daphne and plan to open the brick-and-mortar location after Labor Day. Graves plans to operate the store front and Burnett will operate the truck on weekends. They also have their eyes on the next franchise area they hope to secure once the Daphne location is up and running. Graves has even convinced her sister in Texas to buy into the Wacked Out Weiner franchise.
For more information about Wacked Out Weiner Daphne, visit their Facebook page The Wacked Out Weiner Food Truck.