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The relationship between Coca Cola and Gourmet Express Mobile Catering’s Can

written by Gian Schenkelberg

“Well, there is no relationship and absolutely no financial incentive for us,” said Stefan Schenkelberg and he added “apart from the fact that Coca Cola Enterprises does not object to the background image of our ‘can’.” However, when asked to sponsor our enterprise Stefan has been told that they would not be able to look at investing into a private enterprise as they strictly follow their own policy in respect to their marketing procedures. Why did they choose the branding of Coca Cola rather then inventing or applying their own brand prominently displayed on the can?

as it all begun - assessment pic
as it all begun – assessment

The ‘can’ originally belonged to Coca Cola Enterprises. However, the seller of the trailer has removed the brand’s image by spraying it partly with red colour. When Gourmet Express Mobile Catering acquired the food trailer their main concern was to dress the ‘can’ in an attempt to make it most attractive to customers when they come to eat out at our food stall. The branded design of Coca Cola was ruined and they had two options:

  1. –   to completely re-dress the trailer with a different colour or image.
  2. –   to attempt to reinstate the original colors of the Coca Cola brand design.

It was ‚admittingly‘ for the business couple a tricky decision to be made. They started to think of Coca Cola and how a support by advertising this major brand could potentially affect the marketing of their own brand. One of the issues for them was also to assess whether the Coca Cola brand dressed ‘can’ would attract investors when the time has come to think about growth strategies for their business.

Preserving the iconic ‘can’ – The business couple came to the conclusion that it was in their best interest to attempt to refresh the original colours of the Coca Cola design and place their own brand prominently on top of the can in the form of a large banner. Upon completion of this rather painstaking procedure they saw a new ‘can’ emerging, something that could easily been associated as the property of Coca Cola Enterprises. The success story started for them from that point. Fred Weidler, who has become a household name in Germany in the field of public relations, showed his support by offering to fly into Heathrow to come for the shooting of an image film for Gourmet Express Mobile Catering. Fred, who manages the promotion of Germany’s pop stars such as Juergen Drews, stayed with the Schenkelberg family for a week and most generously helped with the image film/promotional video clip. Since the video has been uploaded on youtube it has attracted over 1000 views. The video can be watched on youtube, go here:

Hemel Hempstead Market tweet pic
Hemel Hempstead Market tweet

It was later when the business couple decided to define a new and innovative concept of providing fast food. The healty-cooked-German food concept from the Coca Cola Shaped food wagon was born. The first air fryer was purchased and installed before Gourmet Express Mobile Catering’s can opened it’s doors to the public. The significant reduction of fat as the key feature of the air frying technique was what people appreciated and they achieved what nobody believed would happen. As Stefan Schenkelberg put it “Constant growth was achieved every time we send the ‘can’ to the trade”; In another word, the couple reported an increase of customers day by day.

However, Stefan has always found it difficult as he experienced strong attacks by the competition. “The competition heard from us and the more they encountered us the more they tried to evacuate. We faced insults by rude people among the street food traders. They, at times fiercely tried to attack us by coming up to our food stall shouting “if I see you f..g coming again here I blow your f..g trailer up.” The Schenkelberg couple did not seek confrontation so moved on. Unfortunately for the upmarket niche food operation, the recession (often resulting in a constant change of trading locations) didn’t help the business to prosper and arrangements had to be made for them to continue their operation in London. They find themselves in a make-or-break decision stage but for them “giving up” is simply not an option. Stefan described the decision after they arrived in London as follows: “Coming to London, the competition here speaks in terms of a ‘dying business’ when they refer to our food stall. Their only agenda here is to prevent us from getting a foot into the door as the Americans say.”  The Schenkelberg’s attempt to get the foot into the door was never let down by anybody and this year, for the first time, they have already pre-booked 17 days of summer events (that is beer festivals and carnivals) before the month of March.

The Coca-Cola Can shaped German specialties food wagon – a dressing concept that will not simply collapse or be allowed to for that matter.

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Potters Bar Central – proved to be a no go area for the ‚can‘

A town centre location, as much as we would have liked it, didn’t work out in the end.

Gourmet Express Mobile Catering sent their Giant Coca Cola Can to Potters Bar smack bam into the centre to try to impress the locals with German food and innovative cooking solutions.

People seemed to love the idea and we had visits from the merchandise manager of Ronnie O’Sullivan, U.K.’s World Snooker Champion and others. It didn’t take long for Gian Schenkelberg, the Associate Executive, to make friends with the officials of the railway station. And we had a regular guy whom we helped out with refreshments whilst he was standing in front of the railway station in freezing temperatures. He was a sales rep for ‚The Big Issue‘ magazine.



Forget the past and move on was our motto when we opened up the stall in Potters Bar and we were all fully motivated and excited. We will never forget the friends and customers we had lost last year in Chesham/ Bucks due to discrimination that led to dismissal of our ‚can‘ whilst we were growing our business and we hoped to get it right this time in our new location in Potters Bar where we moved to just recently.

trade stats
trade stats

Well, the turnover figures doesn’t show major results but running a small street food business in a niche market is never easy and requires a lot of determination, persistence and hard work.

We will eventually be getting there.

Next stop, London Central… more to follow..

Perhaps you like to sneak in ..our newly updated e-store with our main menu items now listed. Here is the link: E-STORE

FREE DELIVERY for our customers in Potters Bar.