Jarmal Smith of Taste Bud Bullies is creating good food and good vibes
Running a business

Jarmal Smith of Taste Bud Bullies is creating good food and good vibes

Name: Jarmal “Chef Redd” Smith

Location: Denver, CO 

Pronouns: He/Him

Business: Taste Bud Bullies, LLC catering and food truck

Describe yourself in three words: Ambitious, passionate, courageous.

Jarmal Smith

Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get started? 

I started my own business because I truly feel food should be fun. I wanted people to experience the food I was raised on and feel the love in every bite. I knew that food brought families together and signified camaraderie, and I wanted that. I started as a small catering company doing private events. That turned into a business idea to make my food public and affordable for those who want quality food at an affordable price. 

What is the biggest lesson you learned in the first year? 

COVID sucks! Also that I didn’t know everything. I went in with my background in culinary and business thinking it would hold me up…it didn’t. I failed a lot. I still do, but I never give up. I learned that restless nights are a thing. Time is so precious and it’s important to make every minute count. 

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a business owner? 

The most surprising thing was that I was able to accomplish having a business and finding endless support. Being an African American male in this climate had it’s odds against me. Denver and its surrounding areas have so many new and exciting ideas when it comes to food. To know my childhood foods, my ideas, and my passion for what I do was accepted by the community around me was surprising and humbly appreciated. 

How does running your own business make you feel? 

Running a business makes me feel many things. Some days there’s defeat, some days there’s triumph, and some days there’s even uncertainty. What makes me keep going is knowing that I don’t just feed individuals, I feed families. With that, I feel fortunate.

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome? 

Some challenges we’re working to overcome are location, location, location! We have customers from all over, and being a mobile business, we want to ensure everyone can have access to our food without being too inconvenienced. There’s also staffing shortages and inflation. With the cost of the world changing and being raised all over, it’s becoming tough to be a business owner. 

What challenges do you feel are unique to Black small business owners? 

I feel there are some challenges when it comes to licensing and permits. Being a Black business owner, it’s tough to create relationships and partnerships. I feel respect should be given no matter your melanin drip. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to move into a certain neighborhood to be discriminated against for just trying to provide for their families. Being treated with the same regard as someone not of my color would cost nothing, but give much. 

quote image
When a community shows up for one another, it breaks boundaries.

What are your proudest moments? 

I made it through my first year. When I got my license, they literally give you a handout that outlines the businesses that fail within their first year doing a mobile business and not renewing their license. I was proud that I—that we—made it. Me and my team. Another proud moment was seeing the reactions to my food. I proudly boast that I’m a native to Chicago by way of Louisiana and that’s what I put in my food. I was tested by a lot of people who didn’t think I knew what I was doing. The moment they came back, and said, “Yeah, that was good. You took me back home.” That was everything. What brought it all together was my team. I work with my wife and my mom. My proudest day was seeing all of us work together with a board full of orders, old school R&B blasting in the background and, as I like to call it, the “three man weave” happening. Seeing us work together made the dream work. 

What are the next big plans you have for your business? 

Working towards a brick and mortar. Nothing too fancy, but something like a to-go spot. I bring a vibe on my food truck, so to provide something on a little bigger scale would be great. Good food, good vibes, great people. Can’t beat that. 

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going? 

This may be corny, but I’d have to say my wife. She constantly reminds me that each day only gets better with time. Safe to say, she’s right. Over time, she’s allowed me to never give up on myself. She pushes me to not only do what I love daily, but take sacrifices to assure that WE accomplish the goals set forth. Her willingness to see me succeed motivates me everyday. If I'm being completely honest, it's her drive for me that allows the ideas to flow, to want more, and to achieve more. 

quote image
Respect should be given no matter your melanin drip.

How can Black business owners support each other and their community? 

I would have to say the biggest way to support Black communities is by sharing knowledge. Continuing to teach, compare notes, and just listen to each other. We’re often all going through the same thing. Of course, there's always patronage and promotion. We Instagram and TikTok the hell out of Gucci and other famous designers. When a community shows up for one another, it breaks boundaries. 

What advice would you give to other Black business owners just starting out? 

My advice would be to not get discouraged. Things don’t always go according to plan and it’s not always someone’s fault. Sometimes, things just happen. I would also say to be innovative. The world as we know it can change without warning. Staying grounded in what you do and sticking to what you believe in will go far. 

What’s your “power song” and why? 

I mean, it takes a good two hours to get my truck up and running. There’s definitely a turnt up playlist happening. What I would say gets me pumped is “What More Can I Say” by Jay-Z.

Recommended for you

Mail icon
Get the latest to your inbox
No Thanks

Get the latest to your inbox

Relevant resources to help start, run, and grow your business.

By clicking “Submit,” you agree to permit Intuit to contact you regarding QuickBooks and have read and acknowledge our Privacy Statement.

Thanks for subscribing.

Fresh business resources are headed your way!

Looking for something else?


From big jobs to small tasks, we've got your business covered.

Firm of the Future

Topical articles and news from top pros and Intuit product experts.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.