Spotlight on Small Business: Alejandro Gutierrez, Owner of Tacos Godoy

Small businesses are the lifeblood of local communities. They keep the members of a town or neighborhood nourished, active and happy. In this series, Arkansas Money & Politics highlights those small businesses that have had an undeniable impact on their local communities. 

For this installment of Spotlight on Small Business, Arkansas Money & Politics sits down with Alejandro Gutierrez, the owner and founder of Tacos Godoy. Tacos Godoy started as a singular food truck and has since evolved to include two food trucks, as well as a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Gutierrez shared how what was once a goal turned into a reality. 

“It was just a dream that took me many years to make happen. It was initially going to be a restaurant, and it was pretty hard to find people that would allow me to rent a building without previous experience, so the truck came as an opportunity,” Gutierrez said. “We got the truck and started to do some research and figured it was good to start with. We got our first truck, then our second, and now we’ve got our brick-and-mortar building. I needed a place to prep and cook at a larger scale, and the brick-and-mortar made it easier to prep for the day and offer catering. There wasn’t a ton of space on the truck, and we were making food every day in small portions. Now, we’re able to do more.”

But turning his dream into a reality hasn’t been smooth sailing. Gutierrez discovered that he had broken the mold in Little Rock by achieving his dream.

“Food trucks hadn’t been in Little Rock for a long time at that point, and it was hard to find people who were familiar with how to work a food truck. So many food trucks were parked, but we went from one office to another. If you’re stationed in one place, you can only serve people once or twice a week. When you move around, it’s new people every week,” Gutierrez said. “It was hard to find people to contact with information, as well as people who had enough experience and knowledge to work inside a food truck.”

And just as Gutierrez succeeded in getting his dream off the ground, the COVID-19 pandemic had other ideas. Fortunately, Gutierrez turned a tragedy into an opportunity. He explained how the pandemic affected his business and how he was able to make the most of it.  

“It was hard. Due to COVID-19, everything was shutting down, and no one was able to go out to eat. World Central Kitchen proposed a plan to utilize food trucks to help people stay at home while still getting them fed. The food truck was the solution for people who were limited in where they could go. We brought the trucks to different neighborhoods and let people come to the truck house by house,” Gutierrez said. “I still have two neighborhoods that I go to today where I park the truck and sell tacos to them. It allowed us to have income during a difficult time and also gave us some publicity.” 

Not long after, Gutierrez took his business one step further by opening a permanent, non-food truck location.

“I’ve been in the brick-and-mortar building for two years, but I haven’t really had a grand opening, to be honest. All of us in the food industry have suffered from a lack of available labor. I opened around April or May of last year, but I didn’t really open every day because we didn’t always have the people to work,” Gutierrez said. “I’m planning an official or grand opening at some point in the future, but I’m still figuring out what to call it. We’ve had people telling me for months that they didn’t know that we were there. We’d be open one day and closed the next because of staffing.”

Gutierrez shared that now, Tacos Godoy is staffed and open from 11 a.m. – 2  p.m., then 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday, and that one of his trucks go out every day at the same hours. 

Tacos Godoy

“We recently expanded to acquire a second truck that usually stays parked. I’m working on finding a permanent location to park the second truck while the first will continue to go out to different places,” Gutierrez said.

The last few years — and tumultuous ones at that — have taught Gutierrez a lot about being the owner of a small business.

“I did this in Mexico, but on a much smaller scale out of a cart on the sidewalk, so I didn’t really have a true business experience. Something that I’ve realized makes us successful is customer service and a consistent product,” Gutierrez said. “I’ve used the same fresh ingredients since day one. Even though the price of things, like my meat, has gone up, I’m still using it, because to me, quality is very important. I make sure that the food tastes the same at every location. Consistency is what we are known for.” 

As Gutierrez looks ahead to this year, he lets hungry Arkansans know what they can look forward to. 

“In 2023, we’re looking to do more things in the restaurant, like a karaoke night. We’re going to try to utilize our brick-and-mortar restaurant while continuing to send our truck out. We’ll be adding a few items to the menu and cooking up a couple of projects on Sundays. I’m hoping to do some type of official opening and build up our social media presence as well,” Gutierrez said.

Tacos Godoy

Gutierrez offered a word of advice for individuals hoping to start their own food truck.

“Do your homework and research, and utilize the resources you have. I don’t see competition as a threat, it’s just someone else trying to do their own thing. If you have ten trucks next to each other, someone will come up to each. There’s business out there for everybody. Knock on doors. Ask questions. Ask to shadow. Stick to it. The sun comes up for everybody.”


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