Brian Murphy and Quentin Cantu are the founders of the Austin food truck Ranch Hand. Brian is a marketer and former wide receiver at Amherst, and Quentin is a communications strategist who worked with Jeb Bush before leaving D.C. and politics and moving to Austin.
The two met while pursuing MBAs at UT. One night while complaining about the food on campus, the pair discussed starting a food business to serve students better. “People need to eat healthier. Students are kind of underserved. Why don’t we do this concurrent to our MBA program?” Quentin says. The following week, Brian bought the chip reader for their new business idea, on which they have now done over $425,000 in sales.
Brian and Quentin are no strangers to poor food choices on campus. Brian worked at a dining hall at Amherst College for four years, where he first started to advocate for better food options for students. He says, “I remember the food just being a joke…there was a big cereal bar that people would eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Ranch Hand’s tag line “Stop eating shit for lunch.” is certainly a nod to Brian and Frank’s passion against typical, often unhealthy fast food options. The provocative slogan has turned some customers away but also attracted many others, including the ACLU, which contracted Ranch Hand to cater a $15,000 single-day order: “They’re like ‘we only chose you guys because we love your tag line,’” Brian says. Numerous companies hosting SXSW parties also contracted with Ranch Hand, earning the company the honor of the Best Burger of SXSW.
Running a business has been no easy task for Brian and Quentin. “It’s super important to provide a consistent experience,” says Brian. The pair spends a lot of time dealing with details: “We talk every day about how important every single detail is. When it comes to growth…nothing [is] much more important in something like a restaurant than making sure every single detail is one part of a system,” Quentin says.
Despite the challenges of running a business, Brian and Quentin recommend entrepreneurship to others. Quentin says, “I’d recommend starting any kind of business…it doesn’t matter what idea you have…even if it’s a popsicle stand. The amount of value you can glean from starting a business…the lessons that you learn from that process of actually having to be something more than an idea in a business class, you’ll carry those with you for the rest of your life.”
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