Dan Goddard was following protocol — go to college, get a job and move up the corporate ladder. But after two weeks in a suit and tie, he had enough.
“It just did not feel right,” he said. “I was so unhappy.
“I figured this is not the way it’s supposed to be and I’m going to surf until I can figure stuff out.”
“I got a full-time job in sales for a computer company and I lasted two weeks,” Goddard said. “I had a full meltdown. I freaked out and moved to Hawaii and started surfing and working in restaurants.”
Acaí bowls were the talk of the town, he said. They were made from acaí berries, an energy-boosting Brazilian berry that is rich in antioxidants.
“It is perfect for someone doing active things like surfing,” he explained. “It fills you up but doesn’t weight you down, and you feel great.”
After Heth met Goddard in O’ahu, they started to bounce ideas around and Backyard Bowls was born.
“We said, why don’t we actually start a business around acaí bowls and have a whole menu of different blends while incorporating other things we’re passionate about — eating healthy and living an active healthy lifestyle?” Goddard recalled.
Prior to Backyard Bowls, coffee shops and smoothie bars only had acaí side dishes. Backyard Bowls was the first restaurant to concentrate its entire menu around the berry, Goddard said. Three years later, the co-founders opened their third location, this one in La Cumbre Plaza, on Friday, joining existing stores at 331 Motor Way in downtown Santa Barbara and 5668 Calle Real in Goleta.
But the pair wouldn’t have gotten to a third store without a little luck, he said. Neither man had much business experience when they opened their first store off Gutierrez Street in July 2008.
“If we had opened three months later we wouldn’t have been able to get a loan,” said Goddard, who was able to keep costs low because the location used to be a juice bar.
People were hesitant at first, he said.
“We were two kids serving a product that no one ever heard of,” Goddard said. “People thought we were nuts.”
But one of the most important keys to their success, was their grassroots marketing campaign and constant presence in the restaurant, Heth said.
“This community really gets behind local business,” he said. “Dan and I were here everyday for a year and people recognized we are passionate about what we were doing.”
The Island Bowl features an acaí pureé with pineapple juice and coconut milk, topped with banana, mango, fresh berries, coconut shavings, granola and honey.
“It’s something new and fresh that Santa Barbara hasn’t seen before,” said employee Richie DeRobles, who couldn’t event pronounce acaí before he worked there. “It’s perfect for the Santa Barbara lifestyle.”
The company has grown from two to 34 employees and is looking to hire a couple more. So much for the suit and tie, Goddard said.
“In our first month of business in our downtown store we were lucky to do $300 a day,” he said. “So to go from that to now seeing a line out of the door at lunch is unbelievable.”
Wing Shots with Dan Goddard
» Who are your influences? “My father. He instilled the kind of business savvy in me and the courage to do what I want to do.”
» What’s something no one knows about you? “My vehicles are a ‘99 Ford panel van and a moped. One of them gets 13 miles to the gallon and the other gets 120. I’m the guy riding around with the orange helmet.”
» Long board or short? “All of the above … whatever the waves call for.”
» Favorite surf spot? “I’ve been to Central America, Peru, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, which was my favorite.”
» What’s it like getting barreled? “That’s an unanswerable question.”
» Favorite surfer? “Kelly Slater.”
» Favorite bowl? “The Brazil Bowl right now because it’s the most authentic acaí flavor you can find anywhere this side of Brazil.”