By STAFF | Inc.com
Food trucks are no uncommon sight on the streets of the Windy City, so when Amy Le decided to roll out her new mobile food concept in Chicago, she wanted to make sure it would stand out from the crowd. “With the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, I get the kind of attention I was looking for,” she reports. The whimsically decorated lime-green van is a real eye-catcher. “People say they see my truck everywhere, and it makes them smile. That’s great, but with the Sprinter, I got much more than a rolling billboard. The advantages it provides are making a real difference in my business.”
DucknRoll is a concept inspired by Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, with a contemporary take on flavors from China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. The DucknRoll Sprinter is a moving tribute to Le’s mother, a Vietnamese refugee who immigrated to the United States. “I was raised in the eateries she ran, and that’s where I learned to prepare many of the family recipes I now include on my menu,” she says. Le also got valuable experience apprenticing under noted Chicago restaurateur Bing Zhou, who is now a co-owner of DucknRoll.
Sprinter provides real competitive advantages
Le did a lot of research before buying her 2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Model 2500 High Roof Cargo Van with the longest wheelbase (170 inch EXT), and even flew out to the West Coast to meet with a company that builds conventional food trucks. “Nothing comes close to the Sprinter,” she says. “I’m a small person, but I feel completely comfortable driving the Sprinter. The fuel economy is fantastic, I can move easily through traffic-clogged streets, and I can park in spots where conventional food trucks could never fit.” One thing that really helped sell Le on the Sprinter was its reputation for reliability and durability, she adds. “So many food truck owners I know spend an inordinate amount of time having their trucks repaired. Not only is that expensive, all that down time also means lost revenue. My Sprinter has been in the shop exactly once—for a regular service checkup.”
The DucknRoll Sprinter is customized with stainless-steel, diamond-plate flooring, interior and exterior service lights, two pop-up windows for food service, electric hot boxes, refrigeration, running water, and an auxiliary generator. “It’s got everything I need, and it’s perfect for catering, which is turning out to be a bigger part of my business than I expected,” she says.