My name is Godwin Ihentuge Chef Owner and Operator of YumVillage.
What is YumVillage?
My unique combination of family roots and life experiences. African raised, but Detroit MADE.
We combine the best local ingredients to meet a surging demand for diverse food options at affordable prices. Mixing traditional African and Caribbean flavors with an American flare you can try our Maafe stew over fresh cut fries, or a jerk chicken sandwich on a pretzel bun.
We are built for growth. The YumVillage model unites three of the fastest growing industry trends in food; all of which saw double digit growth in the past five years: quick casual dining, food delivery and pre-packaged goods. We hold an average transaction price of $15.00 per person beverage not included. And just last year we served over 10,000 meals on our food truck alone operating only on weekends during the summer.
Quick Casual African Caribbean in Detroit with Deliver
Not only will be fast and offer delivery but 20 % of our Menu is Crowd Sourced. #HashTag #VoteYumVillage. We'll be serving our community an African Caribbean inspired Version of whatever they'd like to see on our menu. Can you say #SweetPotatoWontons #MaafeFries
Your investment tonight seeds our first brick and mortar location in New Center. Giving Commissary space for and Freeing up our food truck to test new markets. As we grow we’ll scale up through neighborhood based locations proving that serving ALL Detroiters affordable afro-caribbean food is not only possible, but prosperous.
Let’s make Afro-Caribbean food uniquely Detroit.
Why is it Important?
This strategy links to a broader, holistic development strategy in Detroit. Focus would be placed on expanding restaurant sites to areas where existing or new development of mixed-use residential and commercial space is within a ten block radius. Leveraging communities piloted by the food truck to spur the continued revitalization of target neighborhoods and their commercial corridor developments, this restaurant concept, coupled with external partners focused on residential and commercial rehabilitation, will leverage strong communities, and jumpstart a form of urban living that’s compatible with how urban dwellers desire to live today.
This unique culinary experience anchors as a commercial and cultural institution that both significantly upgrades food quality for residents and serves as a destination dining experience that showcases cultural treasures the neighborhood has to offer. Offering simple, fast, effortless experiences in the quick casual space for affordable food that is both diverse, accessible, convenient we plan to expand to additional neighborhoods through delivery partners.
In the very near future, you'll be able to stop in for his Afro Caribbean delights any time you'd like.
About YumVillage Chef Godwin
YumVillage’s Godwin Ihentuge isn’t a just chef with a food truck hoping to one day open a brick and mortar restaurant, he’s a caterer with a marketing background who wants to see changes within the restaurant industry and help emerging chefs navigate the business.
“I’d like to see the spaces dedicated to chefs coming in, in an incubator village setting, with music, entertainment and art. If I can re-create the artist village of the French Quarter here in the Villages and really have it as an avenue that an up-and-coming chef can come in, have all those barriers that come with opening up a business at least alleviated or streamlined and then have some direct access that’d be something.”
In addition to leading culinary and engagement programming at the Villages Beirgarten, Ihentuge owns and Operates YumVillage Food Truck and is on the board of Colors Detroit Restaurant, a nonprofit restaurant training center, through Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan. He also goes to Washington, D.C., every year to lobby for fair wages and sick leave for restaurant workers.
What will your contribution support?
The cost of this ambitious vilage is above and beyond our budgeted funds. We were only just a good truck and before that a catering company that hosted popup supper clubs. This Kickstarter campaign is the catalyst to rally the additional support needed to expand the Facade and improve the kitchen equipment of the space. We want to be more than just the shell and bones of what was once there.
Your gift will radically enhance this dream by providing a permanent contribution to New Center Detroits very budding, very public but very infant food scene. Chef Godwin believes in this project and is passionately giving his entirety to make affordable and convenient African Caribbean food available in Detroit through delivery and community a very real reality. As a donor to this campaign, you help fund materials and equipment and provide modest design cost and operating expense during the two month-long re-design process to make our space a YumVillage for all. Your support will also help provide honorariums for project collaborators.
Limited Edition Revolver Dinner Painting
The original art from our Revolver dinner's gig poster is available via our Kickstarter campaign. It's entitled Covered in Veil, and was painted by the incredibly talented Ghanaian artist Gordon Amponsah. Just a small gift from (revolver) to Godwin, both to support YumVillage, and to thank him for all the incredible work he's done in Detroit.
20.25" x 16.75"
acrylic on chipboard
Well Wishing Villager
Well Wishing Villager
Very Hungry Villager
We Believe We Can Make A Difference
Posted by Godwin Ihentuge (Creator)
A lot of people have been asking me to explain where the money is going and why I need to do a Kickstarter.
I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase my food truck from my father. Having a food truck really helped us to spread the #YumVillage movement. The thing is...the Food truck was built in Florida and isn't equipped to handle these Michigan Winters. (Or roads to be honest). That being said if this were the summer time, we would not be doing a kickstarter as we'd most likely pay for the updates we need with incoming allocated revenues.
We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to make 6500 our home. We're in the heart of the city. In addition to our goal of restoring the building,
We want to offer Tiered Wages. Training starting at 12 per hour. Wages beginning at 13 per hour and moving beyond 15 per hour based on tenure. We will also be paying team members based on recipe contributions and offering a great commissions based compensation package for catering referrals.
We also want to locally source as much of our menu as we can. We pretty much want to do everything that we did on the truck.
On the truck during big events we had an express line. We were able to cut our turn time down to less than 2 minutes from time of order to food in hand. I've spoke with a good amount of folks in the city and I know waiting for food is definitely a thing especially during lunch.
We'll be breaking down a section along the front (Currently Chick Sign) to add our Express Line / Raw Juice | Smoothie Bar.
On our truck we had a few different types of meat based proteins. We offered:
- Jerk Chicken
- Lemon Pepper Jerk Chicken
- Suya (Spicy Dry Peanut Rub) Fried Chicken
- Curry Chicken
- Hot Peppa Spicy Beef Short Ribs
- Herb Braised Lamb Shank
- Suya Shrimp
All of our proteins are halal. The current kitchen line in our new home isn't equipped to handle our protein production needs. We are planning to add an electric double Decker Convection Oven. There is even a spot for it.
The entire space is filled with opportunities to share art and culture. We plan on allowing that expression of artistic nature to really take shape. We'll feature a wide variety of rotating art and music. We plan to offer programming based on the culture and curated experiences that will be accessible to all.
But most importantly we want to do it right. Over 50% of all small business are funded/seeded by family and friends. The reality is that is my only option. As much as I try to think about it, there really wasn't any other way. I went from being a mortgage banker making six figures a year to barely making it work until it started to.
Most restaurants start out with a purpose to sell food. We're starting out with a purpose to sell accessible food to a community that deserves the effort. 20% of our menu is CrowdSourced. What that means is that if you message us with #VoteYumVillage and your desired menu item then you just might see it on the menu. Sweet Potato WonTons, Cheesy Corn Cakes, and African Style Cheesy Bread are all products of this.
I don't want this to be the shell of a restaurant that once was. I want this to be a shining beacon of what can be. More than investing in YumVillage your contribution to this YumVillage fund will give you more for your dollar at YumVillage. When we open we'll be offering delivery and catering and meal plans in addition to our quick casual service of the restaurant and our food truck. If you plan on eating YumVillage later it only makes sense to pay for it now. You get to maximize your dollar and help us be something beautiful and special in Detroit. Help us contribute to Detroit's Prolific Evolution.
Risks and challenges
YumVillage has long been an early adopter of industry-shifting trends. The first to bring pop-up dinners to Detroit in 2011, pop-ups have since exploded as a strategy to introduce new chefs, activate under-utilized spaces and soft-launch restaurants. For his first solo venture, chef Godwin Ihentuge opened a food truck in 2017, but combined the truck with outdoor entertainment, as operator for the Villages Biergarten. This model afforded a profit after six months, a benchmark the average truck takes two years to achieve.
More dollars are being spent outside of the restaurant. We're positioned to stay competitive in future markets. Our ghost arm will continue to incubate and launch delivery-only concepts that dive deeper into the many regions of Afro-Caribbean Cuisine. Future retail product line will expand with unique product offering and brand awareness. This includes but not limited to Dry-Rubs, Sauces, Marinades, Coffee Blends, Loose Teas, and more. Future services also include Food Trucks in New|Test Markets, Customization Meal Plan Subscriptions, and pre-packaged meals for Apartment|Hotel urban grocers concepts.
Our long-term vision is to introduce sustainable, diverse food options to high density neighborhoods.
We plan on employing 10-14 employees, we plan to expand as business grows. This will be difficult because we strive towards being a triple bottom line company. We plan to pay a sustainable wage of $15.00 per hour while offering profit sharing and net equity based on contribution and tenure. Additionally we want to serve affordable food and hire directly from the community we serve.
- (55 days)