"It's fun to reinvent the wheel, but when there is no wheel and you're building it, it's a little bit different."
Race Day Brats takes selections of brats to crowds at car shows, motorcycle races and farmer's markets across Kansas.
David Patterson, along with his wife, Becky, began making the brats in 2010 as a way to make extra money. Working as an assistant principal in Hutchinson, Patterson spent his free time drawing up business plans for the venture.
"I love doing the research part and seeing what other people are doing," Patterson said. "It's fun to reinvent the wheel, but when there is no wheel and you're building it, it's a little bit different."
Making the leap from planning to producing took a little push from a small business advisor Patterson consulted.
"He told me to quit writing business plans and just go do it," Patterson recalled.
What Patterson wanted to do was create a business that could be flexible enough to fit in with his work schedule and flavorful enough to attract customers at various events.
"From the very beginning, we've done something different," Patterson said. "We're not really a food truck, although we have one."
In 2013, Patterson decided to step back into classroom teaching to be able to dedicate more time to the business, spending several months converting a 1976 Shasta camper to serve as a Race Day Brats' concession trailer.
"We get a lot of comments about it," Patterson said. "It fits in with car shows."
Patterson wanted to create a quality product, with brats made from the whole hog processed by Krehbiels Specialty Meats.
"All of our meat is raised by Caleb Yoder — it's all antibiotic and hormone free," Patterson said. "That was one of our major foundations, to sell good quality meat. It has the same texture as a nice, high-quality sausage."
Patterson not only created the staple flavor for Race Day Brats, but also experiments with limited productions of specialty flavors. The Philly Freedom Brat evokes the taste of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, while the HabaMango Sweet Fire proved to be a favorite for customers who visited the Race Day Brats booth at the Kansas Grown Farmer's Market in Wichita.
"Everybody kept coming back week after week for it," Patterson said.
A spinach feta brat and beer-flavored brat are in the works for next year's product lineup.
Race Day Brats serves a breakfast menu of breakfast brats, sausage sliders, muffins and Race Day Select Coffee, a "bold and smooth" coffee blend created by Java Johns.
"At car shows, we have all sorts of people coming up for coffee," Patterson said. "It's just a really good blend."
The lunch and dinner menu includes brat patty sliders, gourmet hot dogs, brats, baked beans and brat bites.
"The brat bites were my wife's idea," Patterson noted. "We chop them up and then we cook them and serve them with nacho cheese."
Race Day Brats can also be sold as a fundraiser for church groups or civic clubs.
"It's something different," Patterson said. "Everybody's looking for fundraisers."
Patterson still plans to work full-time as a teacher next year, but hopes to take Race Day Brats to events happening on the same day throughout Kansas with the addition of interns to work with the business.
"We're trying to get to the next level. We enjoy being at the farmer's market and in the trailer, but our goal from the start was to manage multiple places," Patterson said. "Being in education, I'd like to develop that."
For more information on Race Day Brats, visit http://racedaybrats.com or call 620-345-7682.