Gourmet Express Mobile Catering – developed to become your one-stop-shop
In the Summer of 2011 they started off the season with a bang. Our Lady of Ransom’s Catholic Primary school was the host of a spectacular Back-To-The-Future themed Summer school fayre.
The Parents Association Summer Fayre was attended by hundreds of pupils, ex pupils, their families and members of the community. The sun shone and what a roaring success this event proved to be! The ‚can‘ proved to be versatile as always; Gourmet Express delivered hot snacks and another stall run by parents of the parent’s association spoiled the many visitors with home-baked cakes and pastries.
This Year’s fayre will take place on Saturday 4 July 2015 and the food wagon owners hope to be able to repeat the success when they spoiled hundreds of children and their parents. Details to follow…
Tributes to a man who always cared about business & fun for the common good
– the outgoing chairman of Basildon & Pitsea Carnival, Mr. George Coleman-Wood
Some three years ago, George invited our business to attend one of Essex’s largest carnival events, even though, operating from rural Essex, we had little monies and weren’t able to guarantee that we can pay the pitch fees. It was, I think, George’s carnival number 51, back in 2012. Thank you for the friendship great man!
It is said, „A friendship is one of the nicest gifts you can give yourself.“ So today, we thank our good friend, the outgoing Chairman of the Basildon Carnival Association, George Coleman-Wood and his many volunteers on the showground. It is well-known saying: „Behind every great man is a strong team.“ In this case, we express gratitude to George for his steadfast commitment to our food stall. Moving on, there is a famous saying: „It may be hard for the new person to fill the shoes of the predecessor.“ His achievements were simply astonishing.
We enjoyed being in Basildon on an annual basis to spoil the fun loving community and it will be the fourth year this season for our can to be sent to this wonderful carnival event.
I am sure George will still be involved with the carnival and we wish him GoodHealth and Luck for many more years to come.
Gourmet Express Mobile Catering
At noon on a sunny Sunday in ‚windy‘ Blackbushe..next to a large airfield, customers roam past brightly painted food outlets before they scroll through the offers of Sunday’s largest outdoor market in Blackbushe Surrey.
They perusing menus for vegan barbeque, Southern food, Korean-Mexican fusion, and freshly squeezed juice and of course our German food offerings.
The smell of fried food and the tent-covered seating bring to mind a carnival, but we take a healthy approach to street food. The stall with the many flying American flags (we have not been authorised to advertise their services), for instance, serves sandwiches and wraps made with organic farm-fresh eggs, balsamic caramelized onions, and arugula. Their food wagons are compostable, and next to the order window is a list of local farms where they source their ingredients.
“We don’t mix our offerings with British food we stick to German food, sourced from Germany via our supply chain in London, because we know that we have everything to offer to spoil the Brits. And that’s the way we want it,” says Gian Schenkelberg, who runs Gourmet Express Mobile Catering with his father, Stefan Schenkelberg and his mother and pastry head chef, Regina Schenkelberg.
Gourmet Express Mobile Catering’s ‚Giant Can shaped kitchen‘ usually sells out, says Stefan Schenkelberg as he hands a customer the last Bockwurst in the roll, one meaty one made with delicious cheese and lots of spices.
The Schenkelberg’s dreamed of opening a restaurant for years. They had food service experience, saved money, and spent their free time developing menu items. “Then 2010 happened,” says Stefan Schenkelberg. Difficulty getting business loans after the recession convinced them to downsize their dream to a custom-designed food stall.
Chelmsford’s (Essex) permissive land-use regulations allow vendors to open on layby “pods”—like the one that hosted Gourmet Express Mobile Catering’s Giant Can between 2011 and the 2013.
Despite their initial success, the Schenkelberg’s then consisting of the couple, Regina and Stefan Schenkelberg have found that running a mobile food trailer isn’t easy money. They both worked 70 hours a week, most of it prepping menu and soucing authentic German ingredients. But they’re grateful for the experience and they have already moved on to relocate next to the heart of the City of London. They planned on expanding to get into festivals with their crowd pulling trailer, and, if successful, they plan to open a restaurant like a growing number of he city’s most popular vendors.
Many of those vendors, especially the ones you find on the London Camden Lock Market, are first-generation immigrants who’ve found a way to make a living by sharing food traditions.
Expert Advice is currently being investigated and a suitable adviser has just been located. Mr. Schenkelberg conducts demographic researches to understand the markets but this has so far not helped to develop our sales pitch strategies in the areas of interest. „We seek out areas of high footfall and have therefore found that Central London is the company’s preferred location. As the business develops the company’s online store will ultimately develop at the same pace or better.“
Mr. Schenkelberg is seeking from the advisor recommended solutions to help overcome pitch strategy implementation difficulties over a two year period and delivered in a digital report format.“
Gourmet Express Mobile Catering’s food trailer has added a self-designed Bavarian themed marquee and is now ready to grow, and they are considering applications for medium and large events for the 2015 saison. “There’s a feeling of opportunity in and around London, and I think the rise of mobile food vendors is representative of that,” says Stefan Schenkelberg.
The Schenkelberg’s have made the most of that opportunity with their food stall, Gourmet Express Mobile Catering’s Giant Can, famous for their signature sauce (German curry) and their alternative cooking methods (healthy cooking without using oil!). Stefan Schenkelberg describes theirs as the best kind of fast food: “Fast service but not fast cooked and using quality ingredients. It’s meaty. We serve happiness.”
The Schenkelberg’s arrived from Koblenz, Germany, in 1994 with 500 Deutsch Mark. They did casual work in the United States and Stefan worked on his project to write an autobiographical account of happenings in their old homeland of Germany before returning to Europe back in 1996. Mr Schenkelberg waitressed at two different restaurants, working every day and night of the week, before running an online translation service business and investing, with generous help of family and friends, in their own customized food stall in 2010.
Now they have the Giant Can in addition to a customized Bavarian themed marquee.
Mr Schenkelberg likes the sense of community in the food stall pods, “even though competition is fierce,” but especially the cultural exchange with customers, many of whom they know by name.
With the right support the business is about to get Gourmet Express Mobile Catering’s innovative concept will succeed. The business will be able to strive and remain a healthy alternative and a serious contender for high quality foods among the street food vendors for many years to come.
Gourmet Express Mobile Catering, the popular Giant Can (for many known as ‚German food wagon with the Bavarian style marquee‘) spot in Aylesbury, is temporarily closed for “restructuring and retooling” and will reopen in a few days time.
“We are re-engineering the menu, and looking at the whole structure of the business,” said owner Stefan Schenkelberg in a phone interview on Tuesday. Schenkelberg disputed rumors — heard around town and posted on a local message board — that the food stall was shutting its doors for good.
Schenkelberg said he decided to take advantage of the Winter lull in street food markets to make some changes, and the ‚restaurant‘ will reopen in a few days time.
He said there will be some “new management and procedures” in place; the ‚can crew‘ will remain the same for now.
When asked if any renovations were taking place, Schenkelberg said “nothing major. I don’t want people expecting a makeover.”
Schenkelberg said this time of year was slow for the ‚restaurant,‘ as it is for many of our fellow street restaurant and food cart owners. Also, when there are adverse weather conditions such as freezing temperatures and snow, the ‚can‘ sees a dip in business. “If there’s no brick and mortal restaurant, it’s out of sight, out of mind,” he said.
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