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Why not waffles?

People often ask us, “why waffles?” To which we reply, “why the heck not waffles?” Waffles are delicious. Some of our happiest times in life involve waffles. The first time you tasted syrup. That time you found $20 while eating a waffle. The day you got married and then ate waffles on your honeymoon. Would such events ever have occurred without the presence of waffles? Tough to say, but surely the experience was made more memorable as a result of the waffle’s tasty companionship.

Our search for the perfect Fellows waffle has led us to scour the universe tasting all types of waffles from American to Scandinavian. For our money, the best of the best comes from the city of Liége in eastern Belgium, where people take the waffle to the next level.

Liége waffles are a sweeter, chewier, and denser version of their second cousin, the Belgium waffle. Most commonly served by street vendors in Belgium, these doughy delights are further enhanced by the generous portion of pearl sugar that is caramelized on the outside of the waffle when pressed by a piping hot, deep-pocketed heavy iron. The purist will appreciate the intrinsic quality of this waffle on a standalone basis, while more adventurous patrons will enjoy toppings from fresh fruit to hazelnut chocolate spread and bacon.  

We put a delightful twist on a classic Liége recipe to create a soft and sweet nugget of joy you will not soon forget. Additionally, knowing that for each waffle you buy, a little piece goes towards the tuition of the college student who carefully crafts your sweet and chewy treat adds a feel good moment only matched by a solid group hug with your closest loved ones. 

Should the months of anticipation for your first Fellows Wafel cause you to lose patience and begin to question the merit of your newly discovered coffee companion, please remember this one thing:

At Fellows we take out one of the Fs in waffle and move the E before the L, because that’s how they spell it where the best waffles in the world are made. You deserve the best. We love you. 

The beginning…

Oh hi there. Glad to see you made it to Fellows C&W’s introductory blog post.

This is the first of many posts that will chronicle our journey to becoming the first drive thru coffee and waffle shop designed to help pay the college tuition of its student employees. Before the confusion sets in, let us briefly tell the story of how our Fellows journey began.

The year was 2009. Our Co-Founder and CEO, Josh, was wrapping up his final six months in grad school when he was tasked with creating a for-profit business that is designed to achieve any objective typically associated with non-profit organizations.  As a grad student deep in student debt, Josh began to think of the thousands who are equally burdened by student loans. The truth is, the average college student finishes school with approximately $22,000 in debt. This means that the knowledge intended to help graduates take risks and innovate is handicapped by the debt that burdens them upon graduation. For many graduates, the only viable option is to take the best available job simply as a means to pay for the very education that equipped them to be freethinking innovators. Crapshoot, huh?

As a solution, Josh focused on the concept of work-study programs. The majority of colleges throughout the country offer programs for students that allow them to work in exchange for payments towards their college tuition. What if businesses with high profit margins took a page from the same book by opting to devote a portion of their sales to help reduce or eliminate the debt their student employees incur during their time in school?

After refining the idea and exploring a handful of industries to test his model, Josh finally decided on opening a drive thru business that serves premium coffee and mouthwatering Liége Waffles (a future blog post will detail the merit of Liége Waffles as an everyday source of “wow, that’s good”).

So how does the giving process add up? Let’s say the average employee works 4 shifts a week for 45 weeks out of the year. This is a total of 180 shifts in a year or 720 shifts over the time it typically takes a student to earn a bachelors degree. Now let’s assume that during an average shift the employee sells $300 worth of coffee and mind-blowingly amazing liege waffles. If 10% of the employee’s sales are set aside (above and beyond their hourly wage) over a 4-year period, this means that the employee has earned $21,600 to be directly applied towards their college tuition.

Countless variables ultimately make it impossible to guarantee each employee will graduate with zero student debt. That being said, by sacrificing a little profit
in an already high profit industry, the lives of many students can be impacted in a
profound way.

Fast-forward to 2011 where Josh is reunited with a few friends from way back when who share the same affinity for coffee and freshly made waffles. The other Josh (hereinafter referred to as JoBo), and Jeremey love the purpose behind Fellows and bring a lot of experience to the table. Add a wiz bang numbers guy in Tyler, and you have a super team dedicated to executing this vision and spreading it like Nutella on a kick-you-in-the-face-in-a-good-way fantastically awesome Liége Waffle.

Now let’s recap the concept with some simple Fellows C&W ground rules:

1. All employees will be carefully selected college students.

2. 10% of total sales will go towards paying employee tuitions.

3. Upon graduation, all employees must leave the nest that is Fellows in order to change the world without restraint.

4. All coffee and waffles will be served out of a repurposed cargo container (something else we’ll explain in a future blog post, friend).

We appreciate you taking a gander at the blog and hope you continue to check in on our progress. You’re the best!