The willy wonka of breakfast: Walt's Chocolate Waffle & Pancake mix

They say there’s always room to improve no matter how good you are. Well, Walt’s Waffles just proved that saying to be true. Walt’s Waffle is set to launch its new chocolate waffle and pancake mix. Yum! This amazing development shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Sticking to the principle of making things people want, Chi Yan, founder of Walt’s Waffle, has been using customer feedback to help him innovate and execute on his mission of “break your food routine.”

Walt’s Waffles is a DC-based pancakes and waffle manufacturing company that “strives to make food products that bring a little joy to your day.” Indeed they do. Founded in 2019, Walt’s Waffles are currently sold online, through Giant Delivers, a handful of independent accounts around the DC-Baltimore area, and in Union Kitchen stores. With innovation at the forefront of the company, you might look at products like the waffle bun and think it took some sort of architect to come up with it. As it turns out, that’s exactly the case.

The story of Walt’s Waffles begins with founder Chi Yan, graduating from the University of Maryland - College Park with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. After spending 15 years as a design professional, Chi began to fondly reminisce about the role food played during his childhood. Chi moved to the US with his family from Hong Kong at the age of five. Despite only speaking very little English, Chi’s father managed to open his own Chinese takeout spot in Baltimore, Maryland. To say food centered around Chi’s life growing up is an understatement. Chi was on the register by age five and making food at age seven. Now as an adult with his own family, Chi wanted a way to combine his love of architecture, design, and food. This ultimately led to the creation of the waffle bun.

“By combining a passion for design and problem solving with a love of food,” Chi said in an interview. “The idea for the waffle bun became my opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship.”

Thus, Walt’s Waffles was born. Keeping true to the entrepreneurial spirit of its founding, Walt’s Waffle is expanding with a chocolate waffle and pancake mix, his children’s favorite variation. It’s been a long road for Chi to get his company to where it is today, and it’s involved a lot of messy recipe testing, product development, packaging, marketing, and everything in between. 

Any good idea or innovation is never ready from the get-go. As Chi said, “Designing new packaging and getting through that process to get to the final product is always challenging. No matter how long you think it takes, it usually takes twice as long.” 

Undeterred by any setback, Chi continued to work on polishing his new waffle and pancake chocolate mix, as any good architect would. Spending countless hours in the Kitchen, Chi was constantly experimenting and listening to feedback from his customers and everyone in the Union Kitchen community. Chi would then use this feedback to help him come up with an even better recipe. Eventually, Chi was able to find the right balance and meet the tough standards of his own kids.

It just goes to show that success, whether it be building a bridge or coming up with a new chocolate pancake recipe, is possible with grit, determination, and a bit of luck. Those who want to try Walt’s Waffle’s new chocolate pancake mix can find them for sale online and at Union Kitchen locations. 

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