This month, I interviewed junior Will Varsano of Reboot BEC, a breakfast delivery business that he started with his friend Patrick Fearons in their sophomore year at Tulane. I am always interested in students who are able to find the time to organize an idea into a business and establish a manageable balance between school and the work that they do outside of it. I wanted to talk to Varsano particularly because of Reboot’s evolution in the last year and a half. Reboot started as an exciting and tasty part of Tulane’s campus life and the surrounding neighborhoods. It has now expanded into a successful small business that is meaningfully involved in the greater New Orleans community through several collaborations and partnerships, donations, and the large amount of support given to them by Tulane students.
Emily Ryan: How did you and Fearons first get the idea for Reboot?
Will Varsano: We got the idea for Reboot because cooking for others has always been a passion of ours and we found ourselves making breakfast for friends a lot freshman year. At the end of freshman year, we had the idea to come back to school with a breakfast delivery service for those on and around campus. Ever since we have taken Reboot day by day loving every moment of it and we are so excited for what lies ahead in this journey.
ER: How did you initially garner attention in Reboot?
WV: We are both just lucky to have so many great friends who supported the idea and who started ordering sandwiches and continued to each week.
ER: What does the process look like to order a sandwich and get it delivered?
WV: It’s pretty easy. You just go to our website, Rebootbec.com, or you can find the link in our Instagram bio as well. You’re prompted to order, fill out your address, and the time slot you want it delivered before you hit purchase. We do all our orders the week of delivery. We prefer orders in advance, between Monday and Saturday, so that we do not run out of food or waste any.
ER: What time do you wake up on Sunday mornings to start the process, and how many people are making sandwiches?
WV: We usually start around 6:30 a.m., and Patrick and I now have three Reboot interns who are also helping us out with cooking and delivering.
ER: About how many sandwiches are you making each Sunday?
WV: Last semester, our average was about 50 sandwiches every Sunday. This semester, we are up to about 90, with our most popular day being around 120 sandwiches when we partnered with Bruno’s Tavern on Maple Street.
ER: How did you start working with Bruno’s? What is that relationship like?
WV: We were looking for a commercial kitchen to start cooking out of, and I reached out to them hoping to be able to use their kitchen and pitch an idea for a partnership that enhanced their breakfast menu and gave our customers some sort of in-person Reboot experience. So, they sell their mimosas, and we sell our breakfast sandwiches and hang out with all of our friends. It’s a great partnership and we’ve done this pop-up twice now. We have a third one scheduled to happen in the next few weeks. The Reboot at Bruno’s events are on Saturdays to expand our hours of operation for our Reboot friends.
ER: What other sorts of partnerships is Reboot involved in?
WV: We have several other people and groups we have partnered with and who are planning with as well. When we set up a collaboration with a sorority, we donate 100% of the proceeds from the weekend to the charity that is associated with that sorority’s philanthropy. Most recently, we donated to the Make A Wish Foundation in their Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana branch. We are also currently talking to a chapter of Greek life and hoping to help them with donations to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). On the topic of donations, when we first started, all of our proceeds from the first few weeks went to the Barstool fund, which distributes money to small businesses that have struggled throughout the pandemic and maybe shut down or had to let employees go, and they give them money to help keep them afloat and bring employees back to work. Pat and I love Reboot and lucky for us it’s not how we make our livelihood – we do it because we love it – so the fact that we can run Reboot while helping out others is a win-win in our eyes. Now, when people check out online they have an option to add a donation to the Barstool fund. As of very recently, we are going to be adding smoothies to our menu. This happened through a chance meeting with our friend Lloyd, who started Blissful Waves, a smoothie delivery service. He started it during the pandemic and is looking to grow in the uptown area and hopes that the Tulane students will be a great vehicle to do so. So pretty soon, he will be in the kitchen with us and his delicious smoothies will be available to order on their own or with one of our sandwiches. Additionally, we have worked with a local artist and store in the design and production of our merchandise. We wanted to stay true to our support of local businesses, so after we found a local designer, Campus Connections (on the corner of Broadway and Maple) helped us print the logo onto crewnecks, hats, and chef coats. Finally, we’ve started working with the group Southern Solidarity by making breakfast sandwiches for those who may not know where their next meal is coming from, as we really want to help to combat food insecurity.
ER: What are your goals for Reboot in the future?
WV: The dream is to have our own brick-and-mortar place one day, where our Reboot friends could all come sit down together and hang out.
ER: Do you have a favorite sandwich?
WV: My go-to is a bacon, egg, and American cheese sandwich on delicious, freshly baked ciabatta with avocado mash, hash browns, and ketchup.
Varsano ended the conversation by saying:
The amount that Reboot has grown is all thanks to the friends and people that order and support it, and that is why Patrick and I wake up early Sunday mornings. We’re both very excited for the future and the potential growth that Reboot has, and we hope that Reboot is intertwined in Tulane’s culture for years to come.
Cover photo: Will Varsano