If you were in Austin on Saturday, July 31, Austin baker Christian Warren had a bone to pick with you.
"This video is to let everybody know in Austin, Texas that I'm beefing with y'all because I worked my ass off to make these banana pudding cinnamon rolls and not a single one of y'all bought these," Warren said on a TikTok post. "Y'all better come out and buy these tomorrow because I'm not playing with y'all."
Warren, who bakes and decorates sweet treats for Austin cafe Word Of Mouth Bakery, was, in fact, mostly playing. But a video that was made partially in jest turned out to be a genius marketing tactic as it racked up 1.8 million views and almost 325,000 likes.
@chr_warren I'm lowkey hurt, full video on how I made these coming soon ##fyp ##foryoupage ##FYP ##baker ##viral ##pastry ##bakerytiktok ##austintexas ##atx ##voiceover
♬ original sound - chr_warren
In just over an hour, Warren said the banana pudding sweet rolls had sold out. A week later, Warren made a video for his new strawberry sweet rolls with a similar message: this time, he directed his attention to every resident of Texas, urging them to come visit his shop.
@chr_warren Manifesting that this video does well🙏🏾🙏🏾 ##fyp ##FYP ##viral ##voiceover ##food ##foryoupage ##atx ##austintexas ##bakerytiktok ##bakery ##pastry
♬ original sound - chr_warren
Even though he upped supplies to 96 rolls that Sunday, Warren said it wasn't enough for his new insatiable fanbase.
"On Saturday they had to close early because they completely sold out," Warren said. "It's absolutely insane."
Word of Mouth's new customers took Warren seriously. Their two small locations were flooded with customers from Houston, Fort Worth, and even Colorado (Warren hopes they didn't follow through with their promise to visit). For the first time in a long time, supply was much higher than demand as they saw record sales each weekend.
The sales were a much-needed boost for Word of Mouth, who, like many other Austin businesses, struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. The company's two cafes, one of which opened mid-pandemic, were forced to survive as they relied on small promotional orders and their catering business to keep their heads above water.
With no means of reaching out to people in person, Warren said the team took to social media and "word of mouth" to promote their bakeries. Warren followed in the footsteps of many others, including Austin ranchers, artists and other small businesses, in making short, flashy videos to cater to a new audience.
It's clearly worked so far, and Warren said TikTok might be their best bet in the long run for getting their business back on its feet.
"I think it'll probably still continue to be a thing, especially because of COVID," Warren. "You can't market to somebody and go out as much as you want to, so I feel like social media is probably the best way for businesses. It's hard to be here right now, but I think that's really helped us."
Word of Mouth's new problems are good ones to have—the entire team met up on Thursday to figure out how to satisfy their new fanbase. For now, Warren said he's just going to keep doing what he's doing: TikTok, new sweet roll flavors and satisfying the cravings of the great state of Texas.
His newest flavor, pumpkin spice, will be at both locations on Wednesday and Sunday while supplies last.
@chr_warren Please spread the word if you can! ##fyp ##FYP ##viral ##voiceover ##food ##foryoupage ##atx ##austintexas ##bakerytiktok ##bakery ##pastry ##baker
♬ original sound - chr_warren
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East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.
In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.
"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"
The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.
"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."
Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.
And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.
Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.
"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."
After 12 months, the long-anticipated massive Tesla factory in Southeast Travis County is up and operating and everyone wants a look inside.
Phase 1 of Giga Texas appears to be tied up as production of the Model Y Tesla is underway, the electric car company revealed on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter earnings call. The factory, located on the former Harold Green-turned Tesla Road, sits on more than 2,000 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Here's a glimpse inside the factory.
Model Ys will be the first Teslas to come out of Giga Texas with an estimated delivery of August. The wait estimate comes after Tesla noted supply chain issues have affected their factories, which have been running below capacity for several quarters. A deep blue metallic like this goes for $1,000 more than a white or silver Model Y, totaling $61,990.
Model Ys began being produced at Giga Texas at the end of 2020. In general assembly at the factory, the Teslas get their major interior components to finish the vehicle.
Workers at Austin's Gigafactory are attaching seats to a structural battery pack. It's been described by some as the biggest difference between Texas-made Model Y's and the current version at the Fremont, California factory. It shouldn't have a major impact on the owner's experience, but Tesla has updated instructions for the jacking procedure, as the lift points are different.
With a sleek, open office setup, workers can take in a view of the factory from their seats. It's a component CEO Elon Musk wanted for what is now the headquarters of Tesla.
On the Austin, Texas public location Snapchat, a photo of inside Giga Texas has appeared. On the left you can see a sneak peek of a Model Y body.pic.twitter.com/N7zliZ5vkL— Sawyer Merritt (@Sawyer Merritt) 1643081462
With Snapchat's maps, anyone can look at everyday activity happening at the factory. To view these geographically-linked stories, click the bottom left "map" icon and search "Tesla Giga Texas." Once you've found it, you can view the Snapchat story of those in and around the facility. While most stories stay up for only 24 hours, Giga Texas is a designated place on Snapchat, allowing users to view a collection of photos and videos from the inside.
Following Model Ys, Texas-made Teslas will include the Cybertruck, Semi and Model 3. But it might be a while before those other models arrive. EV makers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, and it's thought that changing features are contributing to Cybertruck delays as Tesla works to compete in the electric pickup market.
Joe Rogan paid a visit to buddy Elon Musk this week. The two have been seen around town since both moving to Texas. Naturally, Rogan was impressed with the prototype.
If you're dying to get a closer look at this factory, you just might get to. In December, Musk said the factory would have tours available to the community early this year.
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