Happy Cup is becoming Homespun Kitchen! Our new sign is scheduled to be installed Thursday, December 22nd and we will be implementing more exciting changes over the next couple of weeks. You might not know it but delicious, healthy food makes up more than 70% of our sales now! The new name and branding is in line with our long term vision and expansion plans. Don’t worry, we will still be serving our original recipe Happy Cup frozen yogurt made from scratch daily! The new Homespun and updated Happy Cup logos are below:
We will also be:
- Remodeling the store to help make your food faster and accommodate new equipment
- Adding technology to make ordering and tracking ticket times easier
- Adding a self-serve, checkout kiosk for frozen yogurt and food orders
- Adding new menu items
- Adding a full line of handcrafted espresso drinks that will follow our strict food standards
- Adding online ordering and more!
Stay tuned for more details and bear with us over the next couple weeks! We will remain open while we are making all of the changes. We’ve been fortunate to have a successful and profitable business in Atlantic Beach since day one, much to the thanks of a wonderfully supportive community and amazing customers! The changes we’ve made over the years and are continuing to make are part of the implementation and iteration of a dream I’ve had since I was 15 years old! For more background on the changes I’ve included some details and history below under “Why Change A Good Thing?”
We are looking forward to making our restaurant even better and appreciate all of your support over the years!
Aaron, Angela and the whole team that makes it spin!
Why Change a Good Thing?
For those of you that know me, you know I have wanted to create, own and operate a healthy fast food chain since I was 15 years old! My family has struggled with weight issues for generations and we are not alone. Obesity is an epidemic in this country and the health issues associated with it are serious. This issue isn’t just theoretical for me, I’ve struggled with my own weight off and on for as long as I can remember. In addition to learning how food affects my weight, I’ve also had to learn how food impacts my mood, workouts, recovery, energy and key health markers like blood pressure and cholesterol. I’ve had to learn what eating plan works best for me over the years. With that said, I do not believe that there is one eating plan that will work for everyone. Some people do well with low carbohydrate high protein diets. Other people do well with counting calories and a balanced approach. Vegan, vegetarian, primal, raw, and many other strategies work for different people.
Regardless of what eating plan you follow, research has shown that clean, whole food ingredients are key to just about all healthy eating strategies. Knowing that different eating styles work differently for people and that clean, whole food ingredients are universal is what drives our recipe creation strategy at Homespun.
Over the years as I’ve learned what works best for me, I have been amazed at how hard it can be to get delicious, healthy, clean food on the go. When I was focused on low saturated fat, lean protein meals and veggies, I did not want to go to a restaurant and pick from it’s little “less guilt” menu, stuck on the corner of their real menu. I wanted to go somewhere where everything was good and responsible at the same time. You should see the look on a fast food employee’s face when your best friend, who is vegetarian, orders a cheeseburger without the burger!
I’ve just never understood why it was so hard to get food on the go that was delicious, affordable and healthy, fast! For some reason, I noticed this more than twenty years ago. It is why I went to work at Wendy’s and local favorite The Loop during the 90’s when I was in high school and college. I wanted to understand how fast food restaurants worked and figure out how the same operational principles could be applied to healthy food.
Love them or hate them, from an operational perspective, good fast food restaurants are fast, consistent and accurate. The highest performing chains create consistency from location to location, important if you want your favorite item to taste the same at every location you visit. Even though I did not agree with the preparation methods, ingredient philosophies and labor policies, I learned about systems, procedures and operations when I worked at fast food restaurants. Along the way, as a mechanical engineer, I was also fortunate to learn things from large corporations and startups that help Homespun today!
For the last twenty plus years, I have been visiting, tasting and collecting menus from restaurants around the world, always logging and storing ideas that I would hopefully be able to use at my own concept one day. Whether it was Liege Waffles in Brussels or a freshly prepared vegan meal from Real Food Daily in Los Angeles learning about great food has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.
In 2009, all of the talking and dreaming became a reality when my wife, Angela, lovingly pointed out that we were not getting any younger and that if I had a dream, it was probably time to go after it. Happy Cup opened its doors February 22nd, 2010.
At the time, we did not think we had enough experience to open a full healthy fast food concept so we put our spin on homemade frozen yogurt, a healthier dessert option. Our spin was making the frozen yogurt from scratch daily using organic and all natural ingredients. We put a $17,000, full scale commercial soft-serve machine in our home kitchen and figured out how to use real ingredients instead of artificial colors, flavors, stabilizers and preservatives. Our plan was and has always been to get experience in the restaurant industry with Happy Cup and launch our full concept along the way. We feel extremely fortunate to have been able to develop and evolve in such a wonderful and supportive community.
Pushing me out of my comfort zone was one of the best gifts Angela has ever given me. For Angela, this journey has undoubtedly been infinitely more difficult than she could have ever imagined. I could and should write a book about her endless support, hard work and dedication, without it none of this would have been possible.
Since launching in 2009, whether it has been strapping Margot to her back and assembling frozen yogurt machines early in the morning, tirelessly doing the accounting and human resources, completely running the store when we have been short staffed or shopping for the store with all three kids with her, Angela has been dedicated and supportive beyond what I thought was possible.
One of the many joys of running a restaurant for more than 7 years is working with all the amazing employees we have had over the years. We’ve gotten to give people their first jobs, go away to college and come back to work for the summer or holidays. You know you have been at it for a while when younger siblings of past employees apply and come work with us. It makes Angela and I feel honored to know that someone would have passed through our business and felt strongly enough about the experience to advise a younger sibling or friend to apply. As we continue to evolve and grow, the opportunity for employees continues to grow. As we look to expanding not only this location but potentially opening more stores, the opportunities for people to have jobs that become careers becomes more of a reality. The Starbucks of the world who offered incredible benefits, ownership opportunities and true career paths for employees are our heros. As we continue to evolve we keep those things strongly in mind and hope to create an environment that can offer the same type of opportunities.
Evolving to where we are today has been the culmination of a twenty year dream. Frozen yogurt was the launching pad for the long term goal of helping people enjoy eating healthy on the go. I still believe today just as I did seven years ago that frozen yogurt is a great option for a healthier dessert. It is why we will continue to make it from scratch and serve it as we have for more than seven years. Just remember, if you eat ten pounds of it, it’s not healthy!
As we have been making this transition some customers have been confused by the evolution. Has it been out of necessity from a saturated frozen yogurt market? Is Happy Cup just trying to be everything to everybody? Hopefully after reading this, it will put things into perspective. All of the additions follow the strict ingredient and scratch made standards we started with back in 2009 and a dream that started when I was 15. In addition everything on our growing menu has a nutritional inspiration for it’s creation.
For example, our 5050 (1/2 salad, 1/2 grain bowl), the most popular item on our flavor menu, was developed because customers wanted something a little more filling than a salad but less filling than a full grain bowl. At Homespun, a salad, 5050 or grain bowl are all going to be healthy from an ingredient standpoint. Everything is made with organic or all natural whole food ingredients and we make just about everything from scrtach. Beyond made form scratch and clean ingredients, we beleive we offer delicious options for all types of nutritional needs.
Some people go out to eat and get a burger for lunch or dinner and a milkshake or custard for dessert. At homespun, you can grab something delicious and healthy for breakfast, lunch or dinner and grab a healthier option for a treat when your done!
For us, our food has to be delicious, clean and nutritionally purposeful. Additioanlly, our food must be accessable for all. Whether you are a strict vegan, an elite athlete or someone just looking for something delicious to eat, we believe we have great options for you! We want you to enjoy eating healthy.
Thanks again for the unique combination of honesty and nurture that has helped us grow over the years. We are looking forward to the future and would love to hear your feedback as we continue to grow.