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SSC Laser

Food Carts

Legend has it that the language of the Basque region, in Spain, is so hard to learn that even the Devil couldn’t master it, and threw himself off a nearby bridge in frustration. Mark Harrison didn’t go that far but he did find local regulations to be frustrating when he was trying to build up a catering business.

“My wife is Spanish and we moved about seven years ago, to a place near Bilbao, in Northern Spain,” he said. He gave up his paramedic job in the UK in order to make the move. “I needed to find a job where I didn’t need to speak much Spanish, so I imported some hotdog carts.” All went very well initially; he approached the local basketball team at just the time when they were about to start playing in a new stadium and he got the deal to sell refreshments inside the building, along the walkway between the two tiers of the stands. It turned out that the walkway was classified as a public highway by the local council, which owned the stadium, and he was obliged to purchase increasingly expensive permits in order to operate. He decided to close everything down, sell the several hotdog carts he was running, and do something else. The carts sold very quickly and that gave him the idea of building and marketing his own range – and so the business was born. He rented some premises in Hindley, near Wigan, among a group of engineers and small businesses, whose advice turned out to be invaluable for someone starting his first manufacturing business – not least, to outsource components, rather than try to do everything himself.

“I started looking around for a good supplier and went to a show in Manchester, which is where I met the people from SSC Laser,” Mark explained.

Three Wheels on the Wagon

The Food Carts sits on a tricycle chassis. The small single wheel on the hot dog version is to the front, in the New York style. The ice cream version carries the ‘business end’ between the two wheels at the front. The catering unit itself is a large metal box, which contains the gas bottle for the burners inside with Bain Marie containers on the top that hold the frankfurters and other hot ingredients. SSC Laser supplies pretty much all the sheet, cut and folded metal for the cabinet, including the brushed stainless steel top, complete with holes cut, ready for the unit to be fastened together.

A typical Food Cart features three hot containers and more attached to the sides, away from the heat source, to hold toppings, rolls and other cold items. If more space is required then an upper storage unit can be attached. The concept is nothing if not flexible; the target market requires it. In autumn and winter, hotdog carts sell like hot cakes; in spring and summer, potential customers want something similar but for ice creams and cold drinks.

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