Did you know you can get a “Super Groovy Extra Funky Party Waffle” filled with Fruity Pebbles cereal delivered at 2 a.m. when you’re in the midst of studying for an exam? You might be even more surprised to find out that college-aged students are the ones making your party waffle and delivering it directly to your doorstep.
Bryce “NF Trill” Vickers, Jonathan “Goose” Spencer and Elton “Don” Nkwembe started the business Neverfull Waffles in Jan. 2019 with the goal of selling specialty waffles to people both near and far away from UT campus. Nkwembe has taken a step back from the business since it started, while Joseph O’Connell has stepped in to help remotely.
Vickers, a senior business marketing major at UT, says that this business was not really a goal of his until Nkwembe came home with a waffle maker and he and all his friends were getting pretty accustomed to regularly eating waffles.
“And then one day, Don decided to put a little twist on it and make a strawberry waffle. I thought it was stupid, I was like why would you do that you're gonna mess my breakfast up but whatever,” Vickers said. “So he did it, it came out great, so I was like okay, we might be onto something.”
After letting people try the waffles and receiving positive feedback, Neverfull Waffles was born. The business took a brief hiatus from Oct. 2019 to Jan. 2021 while looking for a commercial kitchen to work from, but they now use Real Good Kitchen in Knoxville to create the waffles and deliver them to customers.
“It's a fun journey because this just happened out of nowhere,” Vickers said.
As a senior in college, Vickers has to balance both running a fully incorporated business and keeping up with 15-18 hours of classes each semester. Complicating it further, he and the rest of the team have essentially had to teach themselves everything they know about running the business.
“It’s a lot but you figure it out as you go, and that's what we’re best at,” Vickers said. “Just tackling and figuring things out as we go.”
The Neverfull Waffles’ passion for entrepreneurship and gift for filling students’ desires is prevalent in their business and advertising. Hollie Sikes, a junior architecture major and supporter of the business, admires how much the founders love and pursue Neverfull Waffles.
“I think it’s a testament to the power of young people to find voids in public interest and fill them,” Sikes said. “There’s serious evidence of commitment to the idea, and you can tell they really love it and are proud of their business. The fact that, that shines through is motivation enough to buy from them.”
Not only do the people running Neverfull Waffles get hands-on experience in learning how a business works, they also are exposed to new people and experiences all the time.
“You get to meet a ton of people, see a lot of different faces, get a lot of different perspectives from all the people you meet not just around campus, but around Knoxville as well,” Vickers said. “It’s really eye opening and you get not only to connect with people, but it really helps me expand my thinking”
Vickers plans on graduating this year, but by no means does that mean he wants to graduate from Neverfull Waffles. He hopes to continue learning about how to manage and grow a business to its fullest potential.
“Ever since the beginning, ever since day one, the goal has been to get to the top, to be global,” Vickers said.