From a COD student to a business entrepreneur


Eva Koureta, Staff Writer

Noel Rodriguez was a baking and pastry student at COD when he became a young businessman by founding his own food truck business in his early twenties. The Courier recently sat down with Rodriguez to learn how he made a dream into reality and what it’s like to start a business during the pandemic.

EK: What was the main idea behind the creation of “The Bread Man Food Truck,” and how did it all start?

NR: Well, to start off, having my own food truck has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I am beyond thankful that I had the chance to establish my own business. To be honest, such a concept was not in my mind until I registered at COD. I started as an athlete. That did not go as planned, and I decided to join the culinary program of the college. COD provided the fundamentals, which made me confident enough to start my own small business. After that, all I had to do was to find a truck and create a unique menu that was worth the money of my customers. 

EK: How did COD support your business? Were your professors those who helped you launch your concept of the food truck? 

NR: The math class that I registered for as a baking and pastry student helped me understand the theory and model of funding and creating a business with the right essentials. Talking with the chefs and learning from their own experiences influenced me to make my passion for baking into an actual corporation. Starting as a young business owner with minimal experience, COD offered me the courage that I needed to put my thoughts into action. Specifically, Ms. Susan Maddox was the one who helped me with my purchases and health department license. Also, Ms. Abby Smith, who runs the financial side of a few restaurants, showed me her financial documents and gave me a hint of how to create my own. As for the menu, the chefs provided me with a few tips on how to create a strong menu that will attract and amaze the customers. The advice that I still receive from my mentors is helping me improve and continue my work with the Bread Man truck.

EK: What makes your food truck special, and what is something that cannot be found anywhere else but on your menu?

NR: Firstly, allow me to say that my truck is unique and not ordinary at all (laughs). It is an old, vintage truck with ambiances that remind you of a nostalgic era. People come by, and they are fascinated by the truck. They always ask me if they can come inside and take a closer look at the truck and, of course, I give them a little tour behind the scenes. They are amazed by the food as well. The traditional Puerto Rican bread and the cinnamon rolls are my most famous dishes on the menu. People love the food and the truck. In their eyes, it is more of an experience than just buying food from a truck. Other than that, the menu includes garlic rolls, Paisan rolls (traditional Puerto Rican bread), cinnamon rolls and jalapeno and mozzarella rolls. 

EK: What was it like to start a business during a pandemic? 

NR: The pandemic has been a devastating situation for over a year now. It was and still is a negative aspect in every way, especially for a small business like mine. However, that did not stop me from making my dream come true. I knew that no matter what, my truck would be ready by the spring of 2021. By that time, restaurants and food businesses started to open again, and people were excited to go out and enjoy their time. As a result, that helped the community to host events. Since Naperville became a crowded place again, I could advertise my truck easier and quicker. So, as weird as it sounds, it was perfect timing. 

EK: What are your plans for the future? Are you thinking about expanding your food truck business, or is it more of a college-student experience?

NR: I like the idea of the food truck, but as for a future prospect I would like to establish a small corner bakery. With a traditional concept of the menu, a small old-fashioned store on a corner of a famous neighborhood would be the ideal transformation of the Bread Man truck. As for now, I am happy with what I have accomplished and how the theory of my food truck has been established.


Social media of “The Bread Man” truck: 

Instagram: thebreadmanfoodtruck

Facebook: The Bread Man