Lighter on Waistlines, Heavier for Haney’s Pocketbook
May 23, 2019 11:54AM
By Tamsen Butler
Chef Bob Haney tells people that the success of Heavenly Waffles is largely due to the waffle mix being a superior product to anything else on the market. Surely a mix for light, fluffy waffles that manages to pack a protein punch while still tasting great (yet not break the caloric bank) is a recipe for success.
The people with whom Heavenly Waffles does business have a different take on the onus of success for the business: it is Haney. Laura Fowler Goss, the owner of The Filling Fork, a restaurant and catering team in north Florida, says, “His waffles are great and all, but I don’t know if it would matter what he’s selling. His enthusiasm is number one; he has a real zest for life.”
Kathy Walker, owner of Point Loma Coffee in San Diego adds, “Whenever he’s here, we draw a bigger crowd. People know Chef Bob.”
By his own admission, Haney is outgoing, chatty, and gregarious, but he’s quick to counter that the product speaks for itself.
Haney is now a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, but long before starting Heavenly Waffles in 2016, he was simply a good home cook who had an old family pancake recipe. One morning around 1990, while making pancakes for his grandmother, he realized he was out of one of the recipe ingredients—sour cream. He made the quick decision to use vanilla-flavored yogurt instead of sour cream and a new batter recipe was born.
Before there were Heavenly Waffles, there were Pancrepes, which he trademarked in 2004. Before they were Pancrepes, Haney shopped the batter around. Store demos, farmer’s markets, and approaching large companies kept Haney busy. More than once, large companies showed serious interest in buying the rights to Pancrepes but were bought out before the deal could happen. “If a company wants their company bought out, just talk to me,” Haney jokes.
Pancrepes officially launched in 2014, but a comment from a woman watching a demo who asked if she needed a crepes pan to make Pancrepes caused Haney to think that the brand could be more reflective of its versatility. He tweaked the recipe a little—using dry yogurt and whey protein. Then he re-released the product as a dry mix instead of a batter under the name Heavenly Waffles. Despite the name, the mix can be used to make pancakes, waffles, and crepes. When made into a batter (using club soda, an egg, and oil), it can be fried and used to make donuts, scones, cobbler, and smoothies. “You can make them however you want and it works,” Haney says.
Heavenly Waffles taste good—but this isn’t what really sets them apart from other mixes. After being mixed, the batter holds together for four days; this makes it an ideal batter for food service since prep can be completed long beforehand. “Because the mix holds for four days, it saves in waste and in labor,” Haney says.
Locally, Heavenly Waffles can be found at Karma Coffee, Prairie Life Fitness, or on the brunch menu at Mode de Vie. Hard Bean in La Vista will soon offer Heavenly Waffles as well. The mix can also be purchased on Amazon.com and at Breakfast Kitchen Bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. The first location far from the Omaha area was Point Loma Coffee. Haney’s mother has a home in the San Diego area. “So she went in and pitched,” Haney says.
They sell waffles and the mix at Point Loma. “Usually people buy the waffles—then they buy the mix,” Walker says.
Haney responds to the question as to whether or not he considers Heavenly Waffles to be a success with confidence. “Yes! Financially we’re not where we want to be, but the quality of the product and the response from customers is great,” he says.
For Haney and wife Cathy, achieving financial success with Heavenly Waffles will involve a big food company. “They’ll come knocking on my door and as long as there’s a residual agreement so my great-great-great grandchildren benefit, we’re in,” Haney says. “We’re going to be a 15-year overnight success.” Until then, they’ll keep going. “A lot of entrepreneurs quit,” Haney says. “I’m not quitting.”
Visit heavenlywaffles.com for more information.This article was printed in the June 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.