GULF SHORES — Bondi Bowls Gulf Coast owner Janese Nelson has operated her family's food truck at several festivals, but working at the 2023 Hangout Music Festival was a different level. She …
GULF SHORES — Bondi Bowls Gulf Coast owner Janese Nelson has operated her family's food truck at several festivals, but working at the 2023 Hangout Music Festival was a different level. She called in reinforcement.
Bondi Bowls franchise owner Bailey Wilson traveled from Oklahoma to help her Bondi family.
"We are all just trying to support each other and help each other with sales and business," Wilson said. "I want to be able to help and be a blessing to each owner."
Nelson and her husband, Josh, bought into the Bondi Bowls franchise in June 2021 and worked their first event in September 2021. They quickly grew to two trucks, pink and blue. In February 2023, they opened the brand's first storefront in Daphne and sold the pink truck.
Getting a vendor spot at the Hangout Music Festival is big for local businesses. Three days of 35,000 people can make for a lucrative weekend, but it requires long hours, hard work and logistics. In 2022, Nelson got a call from festival organizers the day before it began to ask if Bondi Bowls could set up in General Admission Plus, one of the smaller areas on the grounds. The request also came with the potential for a spot in the General Admission area for the 2023 festival.
Nelson said they were happy to get accepted into General Admission this year.
To keep things running smooth and lines moving, Nelson paired the normal menu down to the two most popular bases, pitaya and acai, and the six top selling bowls. She also included a favorite from the Daphne store, energy balls made with Bondi Bowls' vegan granola, chocolate chips, agave and homemade peanut butter.
Bondi Bowls serves acai and pitaya bowls. Acai berry is a reddish-purple fruit that comes from the acai palm tree and is native to Central and South America. Pitaya is also known as dragon fruit. Both are considered superfoods that are loaded with antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. The acai or pitaya is blended with strawberries, banana and apple juice to create a smooth creamy texture. The acai and pitaya are topped with fresh-cut fruit, granola and honey. Customers can create their own combinations or choose from the menu board.
"Business has been good. It's been hot, which is perfect for our food," Nelson said Saturday. "We have all cold products, so when people get hot, they want something refreshing."
Determining how much product and staff to have for such a large event can be tough for even the most seasoned business owner. Nelson said she was thankful to have Wilson's help to figure it all out.
"This is our first big event," Wilson said. "That is why it is so exciting to be out here supporting them and helping out. We have done some small local festivals but nothing to this extreme. There has been a lot of adapting, and we are figuring it all out as we go."
"It means a lot to have Bailey here," Nelson said. "The number of hours you put in, we serve from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for three days. To know that if you just can't get with it, you have someone that is going to be able to help and allow us to take a couple of minutes means a lot."