CHYE and JJ's Holy Cow

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CHYE’s Served Up the Guidance and Funding JJ’s Holy Cow Needed to Start Cooking

The best ideas for new businesses come when someone notices a problem and seeks to solve it or identifies a need and aims to fill it.  That was the case with JJ’s Holy Cow, a Kosher Artisanal Burger food truck based in Brooklyn, New York.  Established by husband-and-wife-team Eliyahu and Shaindy Raskin -- long-time foodies -- JJ’s Holy Cow is a food truck that offers a simple menu of traditional, handcrafted burgers made with select ingredients focused on enhancing the flavor of beef.  

Birth of an Idea

The idea originated when Rabbi Raskin, who is the head schliach of Chabad of Brooklyn Law School, noticed that there weren’t any restaurants in the area serving delicious burgers (or any other type of food) for students who keep Kosher.   “I wanted great Kosher food without having to leave the area and was frustrated that such an option wasn’t available near Brooklyn Law School,” said Rabbi Raskin.  The idea for a Kosher burger food truck business was born.  However, many good ideas are born but never actualized.  Having the idea for a great business is the first step, but then it takes a lot of planning and follow through to turn a good idea into a great business.  Even the most savvy and industrious entrepreneurs need help to get a startup off the ground.  Without guidance, many ideas die on the vine or crash and burn. 

Turning the Seed of an Idea into a Great Business

In the case of JJ’s Holy Cow, they had the culinary, sales and marketing skills needed for this type of business.  They also understood inherently that a food truck would solve the problem of expensive rents in New York.  But what they lacked was funding.  Like most new businesses, it takes money to get started.  JJ’s Holy Cow was no exception.  They needed the capital to buy their first food truck and the equipment and supplies to get started.  They didn’t have the funds or the know-how for how to get some.

Enter CHYE.  “Through the grapevine, we heard that CHYE could give us the guidance of how to get funding for our business,” explained Rabbi Raskin.  Within the Jewish community, CHYE was known as a business resource center that helped entrepreneurs just starting out on how to get started and how to avoid the most common problems faced by new businesses. 

A Niche Business Plan Snags Startup Funding

The Raskins’ business idea needed an infusion of capital.  CHYE had recently taught a course on how to prepare a business plan and apply for a business loan.  The advisor gave the Raskins two sample Business Plans that were specifically focused on the food industry, which was key.  “One of the samples was a 40-page instructional guide on how to prepare a business plan for the food industry,” Raskin explained.  He also shared samples of some of the best Business Plans that had successfully obtained funding.   The Raskins prepared a very detailed Business Plan based on these guidelines.  Within two months, JJ’s Holy Cow had obtained a business loan from the Hebrew Free Loan Society.  With that, they were able to buy their first truck and opened for business shortly thereafter.

On a Mission to Provide Great Food

Since inception, JJ’s Holy Cow is doing well, and expected to do even better with new semester at Brooklyn Law School about to start.  There are also two stores carrying their products.  Their food truck is also doing event catering for office parties, Bar Mitzvahs and birthdays.  For example, they recently were at the Jewish Festival in Westchester and are looking forward to serving up good food at Sukkot and Chanukah festivities.  The proof that their culinary creations rock are the great ratings on Yelp and positive reviews on Facebook.   

The Raskins feel that what they have is more than a business.  It’s a mission.  “We believe our food is so good people need to be a part of it,” explained Rabbi Raskin passionately.  That is why their 1-year goal is to expand to other universities that don’t have many (or any) options for good Kosher food.  They also want to expand to have a second truck based in Manhattan.   Beyond that, they want stores that don’t have full Kosher options to carry their food.  That said, JJ’s Holy Cow is good even for those who don’t keep Kosher.  In fact, says Rabbi Raskin, “50% of our clients are not Jewish.  This is great food and it is also Kosher.”

Quality Kosher Handcrafted Fast Food… not an Oxymoron

While their plan for the future is ambitious and detailed, JJ’s Holy Cow menu is simple. They serve artisanal, handcrafted burgers, gourmet hot dogs and specialty French fries. That's it, and it’s more than enough.  By giving their burgers divine treatment, each is a gourmet culinary creation worthy of being eaten.

Each of JJ's Holy Cow burgers starts with an all-beef patty, which can be customized with a plethora of ingredients.  JJ's signature burgers include the Brooklyn burger on a vegan pretzel bun and the Green Obsession which has avocado, arugula and fried sweet garlic peppers.  But Rabbi Raskin’s favorite is the Sunrise in Brooklyn burger which features an all-beef patty topped with an over-easy egg, bacon, a seasonal mix of veggie sticks, caramelized onions and aioli sauce.   Now that sounds heavenly.