After four months of collaboration with Carolina Food Co, three USC students have created a new breakfast option for members of the Carolina community.
Operating out of a cart in front of Colloquium Café on the humanities side of campus, Breakfast Jawn serves bowls, burritos, sandwiches and pancakes to students looking for some morning fuel.
Founders of Breakfast Jawn — second-year finance and management student Logan Fowler, second-year marketing student Jacob Matthew and third year computer science and business analytics student Ian Hamill — took a look at what markets were missing within campus dining options and noticed that breakfast choices were scarce.
“When you think breakfast food on campus, it’s liquid eggs, dining halls and Einstein,” Fowler said.
The word “jawn” is commonly used to replace nouns in eastern Pennsylvania that a person is unable to give a specific name to. The founders said they wanted to create a Philadelphia-style breakfast cart, so they settled on the name “Breakfast Jawn” to evoke this image.
Within its first weeks of operation, the restaurant has already turned a profit and met the need for increased breakfast options for some students who have classes earlier than when several of the other retail locations open, according to Fowler.
After many talks about starting a business, the founders decided that it was time to stop talking and start doing. They set out with this goal in November 2022 and after working with campus dining, obtaining necessary licenses and finalizing contracts, they began operations in the spring semester.
“There was a problem. The school didn’t have really any good breakfast food. We stepped in. We made it better,” Matthew said. "It was difficult, it took work, but it wasn’t that bad and now everyone on campus does have a much better breakfast option.”
The business venture proved to be one of novelty for the founders, as both Hamill and Fowler had worked in the food industry for several years but had never created a business of their own.
In making its idea come to life, the group said it learned valuable lessons in entrepreneurship such as conducting market research and getting proper licenses.
“People always say in their internships they always learn more than they did in class, and I feel the same way about this,” Fowler said.
According to the founders, their experiences have taught them about how much on-campus support is available from experts like William Knapp, a senior instructor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, who helped them get in touch with campus food suppliers.
"I was surprised," Knapp said. "They were much further ahead than most people who would ask me about that kind of thing."
After creating their own retail space, the group said students should take the necessary steps to bring their ideas to life.
“I think it's important that other students think about, ‘What can I do on campus to get involved — start a business?’ and know that staff will be there to support them,” Hamill said.
Taking what they have learned so far, the the founders hope to expand the business during their time at USC, having dreams of a Russell House location, longer hours and an expanded employee base.
The establishment currently only takes meal plan dollars, meal swipes, Carolina Cash and regular card payments and is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 to 11 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon.