Popular restaurateur chews food truck addition | Business Observer

Consolidating to grow can be tricky, especially during a pandemic. But when Stéphanie Archibald saw the 30-foot Ford Stepvan, the path to vertical integration opened before her.

“I had this guy and he turned it into a food truck,” she says. “I’m just waiting for them to call me and say ‘Come and get him.'”

Archibald owns SB&B Seafood Bar & Grill, a full service bar and restaurant now home to its retail fish market, Step’s Garlic Seafood & Fish Market, which she operated at two locations in Lakeland for almost eight years. In March, Archibald closed Step’s Garlic Seafood & Fish Market, essentially moving it to SB&B Seafood Bar & Grill, which it opened in August 2019. SB&B employs five people, up from 10 before the pandemic and consolidation. She plans to hire more people for the food truck staff.

“I consolidated both under one roof and under one business license,” she says. “SB&B was taking care of Step’s Seafood” and when a Ford Stepvan “came into my possession” it was time to “finally” put his restaurant on the road. “Sometimes I’d rather have a food truck than a real location,” Archibald says, “so people who can’t come to me, we can come to them.”

There is a catch: it must disassociate itself. “I have to register the food truck as a whole different business,” she says. “I didn’t think (the bureaucracy) would be this difficult. It’s a lot of time, a lot of money invested in it.

But Archibald, 38, from Lakeland, has been here before – she started it all by selling seafood in her kitchen.

The 2001 Lakeland High graduate worked 13 years as a Lakeland Regional Medicare Specialist before realizing, “It was a dead end job. I had to think of something else to do, so I sold seafood on the weekends to make ends meet.

Archibald’s mother often did hair and nails around the house, and his father owned his own landscaping and junkyard businesses. “My father and my mother, they have always been entrepreneurs. My father worked for himself all his life.

“It’s good to lick your fingers – it’s all in butter, baby.” They say it’s crack butter. They want to drink it. Stéphanie “Miss Step” Archibald, Restaurant SB&B

And so, after 13 years in a booth, she swore she would, too. “My friends got together and we cooked seafood on the weekends. It started to become very popular, ”says Archibald.

Too popular.

“Someone reported me,” she said. “I had to get my business license” and find a location to operate.

This year, Florida lawmakers passed the Home Sweet Home Act, which reformed Florida’s outdated regulations on the sale of homemade “shelf-stable” foods. It “would have helped,” Archibald said. “It’s going to help a lot of people” in the future.

The business license, however, proved to be invaluable, she says, especially in the Tampa Bay fish markets where, “I didn’t have a connection, not a lot of discount even for being a regular.”

By going through those same doors as a Certified Business Owner, “I was able to secure more resources,” Archibald says. “I was able to get wholesale prices and not be alone. “

Calvin Chevalier. Stephanie “Miss Step” Archibald is expanding rapidly, with a food truck in a vertical integration that incorporates her original seafood and garlic butter retail business.

Archibald’s menu includes Caribbean seafood dishes reflecting his father’s Virgin Island roots, traditional and South African seafood dishes, and at least one secret recipe: his garlic butter.

“It’s good to lick your fingers – it’s all in butter, baby,” Archibald said. “They say it’s crack butter. They want to drink it.

SB&B – named after the first letters of each of Archibald’s children – offers catering and regular events such as Wednesday Ladies Night and the Saturday “Boozy Bunch”, which starts at 4pm and features shrimp and cheese. oatmeal, pork chops and bottomless waffles and mimosas. “Our dishes are original creations unique to any other restaurant,” says Archibald. “We only serve fresh produce. No preservatives. “

Archibald says that among his lessons learned is “charge what it’s worth”.

“The biggest mistake is under-billing,” she says. “You can’t please everyone and charge what it’s worth.”

Finding new products and putting them on plates is also something she has learned to do.

“I went to Houston and came back with an idea: smoked turkey thighs,” Archibald says. “We didn’t have stuff like that around here. I did the research myself. They are doing really well. When I start something, I create a trend.

These trends will soon have markets. SB & B’s fluorescent lime food truck will be seen at gatherings, parties and near “large call centers and warehouses” around Lakeland-Linder Airport for the lunch crowd Monday through Friday.

Hitting the road is only his first stop.

Archibald’s goal is to franchise ‘Step’s Seafood’ for its child entrepreneurs. Her eldest daughter, Sha’Nya, 21, a student at Polk State University, “knows how to handle it, how to do everything,” she says.

But, alas, everything is just in the blood and butter.

“The only (thing) she can’t do,” Archibald said, “is make butter – and I’m not telling her.”

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