Roka Werk GmbH transforms small transporters into food trucks

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Dhe refrigerator is empty – how about a change with a food truck? There you often get food that is trendy. Food trucks are vans with a fully equipped kitchen. In this country there are estimated more than 1000 food trucks; that's what it says on the website Foodtrucks-Germany. A survey of German food truck operators from the year 2017 by the Internet platform Craftplaces showed that the majority owned only one truck and about 20 percent two to three. Even more vehicles had just under four percent.

Asked if the product range changed dramatically, three quarters said they had a continuous supply. For the turnover for 2016, a good 40 percent said that they had at most 50,000 euros. About four percent realized more than half a million euros. Also because of the high costs almost 40 percent of the respondents had not made a profit yet.

The Roka Werk GmbH from Merenberg in Hesse manufactures food trucks. The company Nelles Catering from Petersberg has also bought a truck from Roka. "As a catering company, we are always looking for new ideas," says Marie-Christine Nelles. "Our food truck is an original US step-van and was imported from America and completely expanded at Roka. It took about six months from order to delivery. "Apart from food trucks, Roka deals with trailers, airstreams, containers, promotional vehicles, drop down counters and stalls.

When will the E-Food Truck arrive?

Asked whether Roka is the market leader, managing director Armin Heun replies: "This is not so easy to answer because there are no exact approval statistics for food trucks. But Roka is probably the market leader in the premium segment. "Even Klaus Wünsch of Foodtrucks Germany knows no ranking; the biggest and best-known manufacturers are Roka, Seico, Gamo, Multitrailer, Esselmann, Eventmobile Frechen and Schoeler. Roka's market share in the German food truck market is about 20 percent, says Heun.

The main business of the 1966 founded family business, which employs 135 people, is the production of fully equipped food trucks. "What's special about our company is that we have such a long experience," says Heun. One comes from "the kitchen, the processing of stainless steel and the canteen kitchen". Since the environment now plays a major role, the vehicles have a green sticker for the environmental zones of large cities. One of the future main topics will be electromobility, says Heun. "The E-Food Truck is a topic we are currently working on."

In 2017, the turnover was 17 million euros, reports Heun. That was a doubling in ten years. According to the managing director, in 2018 he has dropped. "We produce around 150 vehicles a year." It's important that everything fits and fits in a truck, just like clothing. That's why Roka fits and arranges the devices. The food truck from Nelles Catering is equipped with several kitchen appliances, including a grill, a combi steamer, refrigerators, a wok, a receipt station, a gas burner and a fryer, as Marie-Christine Nelles reports.

Superstructures and advertising displays

Pizza ovens and smokers can also install Roka. On the floor serves a raised pedestal area as a cleaning edge; so nothing can slip under the internals. Roka takes care of the technology, water and electricity supply, a gas generator and balancing wedges for a safe stand on uneven spaces. In addition, a safer day-to-day work must be ensured by installing fire extinguishers and safety grease containers.

Anyone who wants to attract customers as a food truck owner must be noticed. Roka's food trucks feature special roof structures, advertising displays and LED menu boards. Since only a few people want to buy food outside in the cold season, weather protection elements are grown on the food trucks: Glass slices for sale, weather protection walls and radiant heaters with heat protection are manufactured. Even good entertainment makes a truck successful. That is why flat-screens and loudspeakers are installed in the vehicles, so as not to miss a football game at the food truck, for example.

"A solid food truck costs around 80,000 euros," says Heun. "It goes up to 160000 Euro." Customers are restaurateurs, caterers, founders and well-known companies. For Coca-Cola, they have produced all vehicles for the World Cup in Germany. "The most challenging job was a vehicle we built for champagne maker Veuve Clicquot. The handles should be colored, and the overall design had to match their previous designs, "says Heun. It also cooperates with the car brands Land Rover, Jeep and Volvo.

Jamie Oliver was a customer

Roka also offers used cars and rental vehicles. A rental car costs between 1600 and 4500 euros a week. A used car costs from 64989 euros (gross) to 109450 euros. Roka also gives old trucks a new lease of life: Older vehicles are being converted into food trucks. Also, the British chef Jamie Oliver started with such a vehicle in Germany. In order to advance his concept Jamie's Deli in this country, he opened a food truck from Roka at the Dusseldorf airport. The truck was a classic car restored by Roka.

Vehicles from Roka can be seen not only in major German cities such as Berlin and Munich. "We have already delivered to quite a few countries, in principle from Israel to Singapore, but also a lot to the neighboring countries of Germany," says Heun. The export rate is 20 percent.

The article is from the Student project "Youth and Business"that the F.A.Z. organized together with the Federal Association of German Banks.

. (tags) Tobias (n / a) Wunsch (t) Vehicle (s) Food on Wheels (t) Germany (t) Foodtruck Germany

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