Daily Mirror – Crepe Runner Wins Award – SME Brand Of The Year

The SLIM Brand Excellence Awards is a celebration of brand excellence at national level and rewards the outstanding efforts of outstanding marketers. Through this event, SLIM endeavors to not only encourage best practices in branding, but also to raise local brands to global standards, to enhance the image of marketing in the country and that of SLIM in the region. This event translates as industry recognition of the motivation, dedication and hard work that great marketers have demonstrated in making brand champions. Each year our panel of judges evaluates the contenders for each category of award, looking for those elusive qualities which elevate a brand above the sea of nondescript products. For the Brand Excellence Awards to be truly successful there must be industry-wide, representative participation which will ensure healthy competition. SLIM’s efforts to make marketing the driving force in the economy will be measured by several factors; the significance and direct benefits of marketing strategies for an organization being among the most important. Recognition of exceptional marketing prowess with events like the Brand Excellence Awards can only contribute to promoting these ultimate results and further motivate professionals.

 

  • 1st food truck to serve street crepes.
  • Talk of the town and gained the name “The best crepes in town”.
  • Most user generated content by a new business.
  • Ranks no.1 in google search for crepes.
  • Disrupted the street food market in such short span with 3 branches.
  • Survived the aftermath after the Easter attack.
  • Survived the covid19 period with pivoting strategies.
  • Popularity and passion helped us feature in many newspapers.
  • Aligning to our vision to provide the best street food experience.

Ceylon Today – Holy Crepe!

In 2016, the Marine Drive area in Bambalapitiya was the location for fledgling food truck services. While there had been growth in the services and quality of these small businesses, nothing was quite like what the soon to be the owner of Crepe Runner Abdus Salaam had in mind. He decided to try his hand at starting a food truck, with an idea to start serving waffles that look like burgers. However, all these plans changed after a single trip to Melbourne, Australia which introduced Salaam to the magic of crepes, which had been served to him by an authentic French brand. Mystified by the taste of this concoction, Salaam was ready to bring this product to Sri Lanka, updating the recipe to suit our Sri Lankan taste buds. 

Crepe Runner was officially launched on 4 January 2019, as a food truck, with the capacity to serve more than 200 crepes a day. Since their inception, they pride themselves on having never once compromised on the quality of the ingredients they use as well as on their customer service. As their popularity grew exponentially, they became the talk of the town as soon as they opened up their first branch. That initial hype continues to this day. Since then, Crepe Runner has evolved and expanded and although it was quite the learning curve for Salaam and his loyal team, they managed to open two new outlets in the span of two years, emphasising the success of their brand and their food. 

We, at Ceylon Today, were invited to try out three of their bestselling menu items. We started with one of their Sweet Combo Crepes which consisted of Nutella, Kitkat, and Strawberries. The Nutella acted as the chocolate base, giving life to the crepe, while the KitKat gave it that extra crunch. Usually, I find two types of chocolates a little overwhelming as all that sugar makes me quite bloated and I usually get a little sick of it after a while, however, with the addition of the strawberry, there was a sour kick that made every bite very varied in terms of flavour, and therefore it was quite a hit. It was also much synthesised in terms of its textures as there was a nice hearty bite into the crepe itself, and then through to the thick serving of nutella, the soft crunch of the KitKat and the chewable strawberry slices. However, I do have to mention that this was a pretty messy meal to eat, as lots of these items kept leaking out of the crepe. It wasn’t a huge issue though as the taste more than made up for it.

The next crepe we tried was the savoury ‘Chicken Slayer’ which had a combination of chicken, cheese, and herbs. The chicken was made in some really convenient popcorn-like sizes so that each bite was really fulfilling and it was cooked to perfection where the outside was pretty crisp and the inside was soft and succulent. There were also a variety of vegetables that made the filling more varied and exciting in each bite, while the cheese topped it all off with a smooth finish. This option was not too messy and was still pretty stuffed with filling. Lastly, we tried the Oreo Milkshake. This one was also quite delectable, but didn’t have a very overwhelming Oreo flavour. There were also not a lot of little chunks of Oreo as everything seemed to have been blended down into the drink. Thus, while it was a tasty beverage, it just wasn’t what I expected to come from an Oreo milkshake. 

We were able to visit their Mount Lavinia Branch which was a small yet cozy outlet. While you can sit down and enjoy your meal there as they have a few stools and a table placed along the orange walls, Crepe Runner is still primarily for take-away. With their open kitchen you can also sneak a peek at how everything is made, seeing how the immensely helpful staff work their magic in such a short span of time. Overall, all of their items are available for under Rs 500 which gives you a pretty fulfilling meal. They offer a pretty wide range of items too with sweet crepes, sweet combo crepes, savoury crepes, mojitos, and milkshakes, with quite a few items on this menu sure to strike your fancy! 

YAMU – Crepe Runner Mount Lavinia – Colombo’s one-spot for crepes.

Colombo’s one-spot for crepes, the Crepe Runner finally has a properly established restaurant. Yayyy! 
 
After driving around in their humble food truck for a good year or so, they initially settled down in Street Rush Food Court, and now has moved out of it to a space of their own. 

Ambience

Located down Galle Road in Mount Lavinia, it’s a tiny space, but can easily fit about six customers at a time.

Well-lit and arranged with wooden chairs and wall tables, its interior is quite simple and has a charm of its own. 

Crepes

Crepe Runner does both sweet and savoury crepes, and makes sure to use the freshest ingredients in their fillings. Plus, they’re made to order.

Gorgeously pale gold in colour, these crepes are delicately thin, soft and have the most wonderful buttery, crispy edges. 

The Nutella, Brownie & Cadbury Combo (Rs. 500) is a heaven for any chocolate lover. Crepe Runner is known for their generosity, so you’re guaranteed to get a good dose of all of the above. 

The Peanut Butter & Nutella (Rs. 380) had the promised two elements at the right balance. If you love chocolate with an extra nutty kick, this is your best bet.

On the savoury side, here we have the Minced Beef (Rs. 400), an assortment of minced beef, cheese and herbs. The filling here is tangy, spicy, and absolutely beefy, while the mozzarella makes it all gooey.

Drinks

The drinks range at the Crepe Runner includes mojitos and milkshakes. We ordered one from each.

This refreshingly sweet Blackcurrant Mojito (Rs. 350) goes down really well with the Minced Beef Crepe. I would have preferred a little less syrup here though, but my dinner partner didn’t seem to mind it.

The Chocolate Crunch Milkshake (Rs. 400) has an extra depth of flavours to your regular chocolate milkshake, as it’s infused with bits of walnut, almonds and cashew nuts. 

 

Service

The guys manning the counter were super busy with orders, but yet managed to accommodate us with friendly vibes. Dine-in isn’t allowed at the moment due to the current pandemic, but they’re available for delivery and takeaway. 

Conclusion

If you haven’t tried Crepe Runner yet, you haven’t had the best crepes in town. They’re consistently good at what they do, and it’s one of the many reasons why we love them. 

The Sunday Morning – Crepe Runner – The story behind the food truck truned restaurant chain

Food trucks are a relatively new addition to Sri Lanka’s culinary scene, with independent food trucks first making an appearance around 2015. Now, five years later, there are a few more food trucks dotted around Colombo, each with their own distinct offering, slowly building food truck culture that could potentially one day rival that of New York City.

Crepe Runner is one of these revolutionary food trucks, offering a selection of sweet and savoury crepes designed to take people on a unique gastronomic journey. The Sunday Morning Brunch caught up with Crepe Runner Founder Abdus Salaam to learn more about Crepe Runner and its journey from a single food truck to a chain of three locations.

What made you start Crepe Runner and why?

Food trucks were in their infancy in mid-2015, and I saw that many of those businesses had issues with quality, branding, and service. I sensed that the market was missing something and if executed properly, it could become a real success.

In 2016, my passion for food trucks grew as there weren’t many around. The initial idea was to serve “waffle-burgers” and plans were in place to launch a food truck called Waffle Runner. Plans changed though when I visited Melbourne and had sampled crepes from a French brand serving locals there. The taste and recipe were just perfection.

I knew then that I had to bring crepes to Sri Lanka, and Crepe Runner was born. I researched and adjusted until I found recipes that suited Sri Lankan taste buds and went all in.

I launched Crepe Runner as the first food truck to serve sweet and savoury crepes in the streets of Colombo with the capacity to serve 200 crepes a day.

Crepe Runner journeyed from one food truck to three outlets. How did it happen?

I believe in the “art of not giving up”. Crepe Runner was just a raw idea and converting it to reality was exciting. The whole concept had to be designed and the hardest part was to plan operations as we were new to the food industry. We had to learn by trial and error, but it was worth the risk. Effective business operation is key. If not planned effectively, we lose our edge. The food industry is an entirely different world and is super competitive.

As a business, Crepe Runner’s vision was clear and we stuck to our instincts and supported it with analytics and scenario-based planning. The plan was to control the supply chain and systemise everything. We had to live and breathe planning, execution, and development. We never compromise on the quality of our ingredients and we took customer service to the extent where we educated the customers on how the product would be, how it could be customised, and how it was served.

We launched Crepe Runner in January 2019 and it created just a ripple in the market. It was a learning curve for the whole team, and we worked hard to meet our targets. The hard work paid off and Crepe Runner gained popularity, becoming the talk of the town.

We then launched our second outlet in Mount Lavinia, another opportunity which our team used to grow and become stronger. Demand grew to the point that we launched our third outlet at Cool Planet Maharagama earlier this month.

The passion of the team makes this kind of growth possible, as well as always remembering our core operating values and using them as a guide.

What makes Crepe Runner special?

We truly believe that the customer is king. We take all feedback very seriously and continuously develop and improve.

Crepe Runner exists because of its service and the product itself. Who doesn’t love posing with a crepe in hand? Customers love sharing emotions and we have disrupted the market by giving them something unique to share.
We treat our customers as a part of the Crepe Runner family. Every order is based on relationship and trust and is not transactional. If you still have not visited us, you are missing out on a whole lot of fun and the best crepes in town.

How did the pandemic hit Crepe Runner? What was it like?

Like every business, Crepe Runner had to halt operations temporarily due to customer safety, employee safety, and government regulations. Nevertheless, we reacted proactively and were able to restart operations quickly.

It was tough but (we) faced it positively and attacked the situation from a business perspective. It is important for every business to have a contingency plan and be able to make quick decisions to sustain the business when faced with a threat.

Our passionate team gave it their all to keep business alive with uncompromising service. There is no excuse in the food trade. You have to show up and you have to perform.

What advice would you give young entrepreneurs starting out?

Business is more than a normal routine for me. I look at businesses as brands and I believe that they must evolve and not grow informally. There is a saying: “First build a brand. Then you are in business.”

Entrepreneurship comes from within; no one can imitate or fake it. You need to work for it regardless of its limited possibilities or doubts. Most people tend to wait for things to happen in life. My advice to individuals is to make things happen. Start from some place, from some point, and keep at it. If you are passionate enough, no one can stop you.

Be passionate, be obsessed, and be willing to show up and compete no matter how many times you fail. Don’t leave any room in life for regret five or 10 years down the line. Seize the day.

The Sunday Times – Crepe Runner – The hope keeps foodies passion alive

Three hundred oil lamps illuminated the Dutch Hospital Colombo on the evening of Tuesday, May 21, remembering the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks. Just like many hotels around the country also the small businesses have been adversely affected.

The Food truck owners who frequent the Marine Drive in Bambalapitiya every evening are trying hard to stay positive. “It’s the passion for the food keeps bringing us back says Crepe Runner.

Medium.com – Crepe Runner – The hottest new food truck in town

Crepe runner has hit the city of Colombo by storm in 2019. This food truck which is stationed at Marine drive opposite to Ozo, Colombo has been drawing large crowds from all across Colombo and I understood why when I visited it myself last Sunday; The crepes are super tasty with very generous fillings and the staff is super friendly and seem to be buzzing with a lot of energy. Also this is a brand new food type altogether; some of you might have had crepes before but very few would have had Crepes with the fillings available at Crepe runner in Sri Lanka (however you might have had it overseas)