GROW Nebraska Member Expands Waffle Business to University of Nebraska Lincoln
GROW Nebraska member, Chef Bob Haney, who you may know from his many trips around the world from his fifteen-year modeling career, maybe as the pan crêpe guy, or maybe even as a husband or a father. However, most know him now as the man who started Heavenly Waffles. Bob has been a GROW Nebraska member since 2020. His line has expanded not only in the last couple of years but also in the last decade.
Heavenly Waffles began in 1989 with an idea that Bob got from his mother and grandmother. With a little unknown luck, he made a homemade crepe with a yogurt base instead of sour cream because he was out of sour cream at the time. This started Pancrepes. Which he called this because they could be either a pancake or a crepe. Pancrepes went on to be a local hit, where he sold it at grocery stores and a couple of restaurants. He went to farmers markets for four years with this mix, before he decided to go to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Texas. This brought about the making of his Pancrepe dry mix. The dry mix took five years and four food scientists to master. Which also led to rebranding of the product and changing the name from Pancrepes to Heavenly Waffles.
Chef Bob Haney states, “You have to be able to deliver a product that customers want, and what they need, but also what they understand. Pancrepes people didn’t understand what it was. Is it a pancake is it a crepe? So, we rebranded to Heavenly Waffles and made it more understandable. Now we have to get people to understand how much healthier it is. How much more personal it is, and how much better for you it is.”
Chef Bob Haney has been doing just that. He has expanded from local grocery stores to all over the Midwest part of the nation through corporations such as Compass group, and to a few universities. This includes University of Nebraska Lincoln, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville training tables. Chef Bob goes on to state, “The hardest part is getting people to understand how different our product is because we are replacing 40% of the traditional flour with 40% dry yogurt. By removing so much of the flour you reduce the carbs, you reduce the sodium, you increase the protein. And by doing those things people don’t have the hypoglycemic reaction that they do when they eat a normal pancake.”
Discovering that the product was healthy came from talking to Chic-Fil-A about the product. They did a market test on these waffle verses other waffles he would be competing with. The health aspect came about through this test study. Chef Bob goes on to say, “When you eat a normal pancake or waffle you feel like you ate a bowling ball, and you need a nap. You don’t have that reaction with heavenly waffles. They’re filling without making you feel tired. Especially for college athletes you don’t want them to eat a normal waffle and go to class and want to fall asleep. Same thing holds true with corporate restaurants or corporate facilities you don’t want them going back to their office and falling asleep, because they energize you throughout the day. There really isn’t any other product around the world like them.”
His goal is to have heavenly waffles be a household name everyone knows about. They were offered a deal to sell it for twenty million dollars last December but turned down the deal. He states, “There’s a lot of situations about our company, just situations that have been like are you kidding me… how are we going to overcome this, but the people who fail are the people who quit. So we set goals.”
With the goal of becoming a household name he states, “Our goal is to accomplish that, so until we accomplish that we are going to continue doing what we do and strive to put a superior product on the plate, and we think we already do that so we think it will be fun once the rest of the world sees it.”
Even though creating this brand has not been without challenges. He has been able to overcome every situation that seemed hard at the time saying, “Every lesson learned even if it’s a hard lesson is a good lesson.”
Chef Bob was brought to us by their copacker Heartland Gourmet out of Lincoln Nebraska. They had told him about their own luck with selling at the store, so he decided to give us a try as well.
Chef Bob goes on to say the GROW Nebraska family has slowly but surely grown stating, “You guys do offer a lot of things I have not had time to take advantage of, and I think the GROW Nebraska family, the people who do shop online and use GROW Nebraska, we have grown over the years.”
GROW Nebraska is so happy to be partner with Heavenly Waffles. If you’d like to learn more about his waffle mix and story, check out his website, and ours below! Chef Bob recommends you blend the mix in a blender to give it an even crispier better texture!
By Katee Daly
The GROW Nebraska® Foundation was founded with the idea of expanding resources to businesses and entrepreneurs alike to make a sustainable living anywhere within the state of Nebraska. As a 501(c) 3 educational foundation, the GROW Nebraska® Foundation was founded in 1998 and now works to extend resources, training, a brick and mortar store, as well as an eCommerce site full of Nebraska products to help elevate Nebraska-based businesses and connect Nebraska entrepreneurs to the global marketplace. Support or join GROW Nebraska Foundation’s efforts by visiting www.grownebraska.org.