New & Notable: Geoffrey Meeker
Owner, French Truck Coffee
Since its founding in 2012, French Truck Coffee has become not only a local favorite, but has gained national attention. Earlier this year, the company founded by Geoffrey Meeker was named for the second time to Fortune Magazine’s top 10 fastest-growing inner city businesses in America. Meeker now has six locations in New Orleans plus outposts in Baton Rouge and Memphis, French Truck
A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute whose background includes work with the James Beard Foundation and Bon Appetit, Meeker found his passion for coffee after escaping to the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Katrina. After returning to New Orleans, he began brewing out of his Uptown home’s laundry room.
“I knew that my background in the culinary world would serve me well and I believed I had the skill set to succeed,” he said. “In the beginning, I had a lot of coffee industry veterans doubt me because I had not come up through the ranks, so to speak. There is something to be said for looking in from the outside.”
Far from hindering the success of French Truck, Meeker said his unconventional background has proved invaluable.
“The successes, and more so the failures, in those arenas [of culinary and hospitality] have given me a good eye for the whole package — quality, hospitality, branding, staffing, marketing, and the overall image of the company,” he said. “The fact that we serve great coffee is really just the icing on the cake if we are doing everything else well.”
For Meeker, leading by example and with clear expectations is all part of keeping his company running smoothly and successfully.
“‘Beware of the slippery slope’; It is something my team hears from me all the time,” he said. “Every decision you make for your business sets a precedent. If you set an expectation and then let it slide, no other expectation you set will be considered solid or important. This applies to your team and your customers.”