Teen’s Lemonade Business Grows into Food Truck

The Savanna Jane Lemonade truck offers refreshments—and lessons in business for its 17-year-old owner.

The KC Food Truck Mafia is like a family, members say. In 17-year-old Savanna Lee’s case, it’s literally a family—her father Jeff Lee cofounded the group, which includes his KC BBQ truck and local favorites such as El Tenedor, Beauty and the Bistro and Bochi as well as Savanna Jane Lemonade, Savanna’s truck.

Savanna was just 12 when her dad suggested she set up a lemonade stand.

“Every year since, it’s been growing—it’s just gotten bigger and it’s made more money, and it’s been an absolutely wonderful experience,” Savanna says.

The stand grew into a utility trailer and this year made its debut in a full truck that was booked up for summer by early spring.

The truck’s offerings are simple, but their appeal is universal: ice cream treats and lemonade, made from lemons squeezed in front of customers, just in case they have any doubts about the freshness of their beverages. The drinks go over so well that at the KC Auto Show earlier this year, Savanna Jane’s served up an estimated 3,000 cups.

“We tweaked it a couple of time just to kind of get that full taste from the sweet and the tang,” Savanna says of her recipe. “We also have a little bit of carbonation in there to make it almost like liquid air conditioning.”

Although Savanna didn’t always enjoy working on the truck, these days she’s embracing the opportunity to take charge of a small business and helps with scheduling and staffing.

“I know how to run it, what to do with it, and I absolutely love it,” Savanna says. “It’s going to push me one day to own my own business.”

Specifically, Savanna Jane’s has taught her the importance of networking and developing strong relationships.

“I want to run a makeup line,” she adds, “so having the business skills now is going to help me a lot in the future.”