Catering, Equipment, Event Planning, Food Trucks, Fun Story

Electric Vans, Our Future Transport

27 July 2023
Electric Vans, The Future Of Transport

Having just ordered a couple of new vans (not electric vans, the old fashioned kind), I got to thinking about the approaching date of 2030, when the government ban on ICE vehicles comes into effect. What would this mean for our business and fleet of vehicles.

My own personal car is pretty much a plaything. I occasionally take it for a blast around the local countryside. Go to an occasional meeting, and perhaps to social functions. Some years it does a couple thousand mile, so this could easily be replaced with an electric alternative.

Vans, The Mainstay Of Our Business

But what about the part of our fleet that actually works for a living. We use a fleet of mid range vans, mainly from the PSA group (Citroen, Fiat, Vauxhall etc). So I took a look at how suitable these would be. The truth is, not very. They have a maximum towing capacity of 1000kg. Whilst our lightest catering unit is 1600kg. So they are off the list.

The only van we could find that would tow our units, is the Ford E Transit which is rated for 2000kg.

Range Calculator

Ford very conveniently provide a range calculator. So I duly types in a typical scenario. Winter temperature, all season tyres, 75% load.

What I got back was the screen below;

Electric Van Range Calculator

Turns out that the maximum range at this set up is 82 miles. Not a lot of use on our regular trips to Edinburgh which is around 240 miles. So basically 2-3 charges needed en route.

BUT WAIT. A bit if investigation and it turns out that the advertised range, doesn’t actually work in the real world. Seems that around 80% of the claimed figure is more realistic. So that cuts us to 65.6 miles. (I will be generous and round it up to 66 miles). So that’s 3-4 charges needed en route.

BUT WAIT AGAIN. This calculator doesn’t allow you to factor in the fact that you are towing. A bit more digging and most sources claim that towing cuts the range in half. So we are now down to 33 miles. That puts us on 7-8 charges needed. Or would be if you could run the van down to empty before recharging, which isn’t really practical. So most chargers quote their charging time as being from 15%. So that lets me use 85% of the capacity. Or gives me 28 miles of travel before needing a recharge, which would push us towards the 8 charges needed.

Charging Time

Hmm, how long is a charge going to take. Well, best I can find is that it takes as little as 34 minutes to charge it to 80% capacity. So that means 34 minutes gives us 80% of 28 mile range which is 22.4 miles.

Now we are up to needing 10 recharges en route to Edinburgh.

But then we are only running the charge down to 15% before recharging, so basically 65% of the 28 miles or 18.2 miles. Or 13 charges.

At 34 minutes per charge that’s 442 minutes, or a little over seven hours of charging time needed, presuming the chargers are available without a wait at each location we need them.

We have just added 14 hours to our days work. Three members of staff on overtime at £20 per hour adds £840 to the days wage bill. Which means the job isn’t financially viable, which means those members of staff are out of a job.

But there is more. The Edinburgh job which we used to allow 5 hours driving each way and 4 hours to do the job, 14 in total. Is now 28 hours. So the van, equipment and staff wouldn’t be back in time fo the next days work. So now we need double the number of vans, catering units and equipment to do the same level of work.

Wind Speed

Oh and in all of the above calculations, I have assumed that the air is perfectly still. Add in a 22 mile per hour headwind and those figure will look generous. It is estimated that a headwind of this speed cuts 20% from the range of a Tesla. So cut 20% from our range and we end up with 14.5 miles, or 16 charges or a bit over 9 hours charging time each way! That is basing the calculation on a Tesla, which aerodynamically speaking is super slippy compared to a house brick shaped Transit van, oh, and if you are unlucky enough to travel on a day with freezing temperatures, then your range drops another 10%.

At this rate, we will be lucky if the van manages to reach the end of our drive before needing a recharge.

In short, the Westminster based geniuses have no idea of how things work in the real world. The fact that a housewife doing 50 miles a week for her shopping can happily live with electric cars, does not translate to keeping the country running on a business basis.

A Cunning Plan

So, what can we do. Well the initial plan is to order double our normal fleet for delivery in 2029. This will get us a few years before we are forced into electric. The other option we are looking at is following the lead of an enterprising American guy, who added a generator to his Tesla, that bypassed the interlock to allow him to charge the car whilst he was driving it. A decent sized diesel generator in the back of each van might just give us a usable range, a bit like the electric diesel hybrid system Dr Porsche proposed for the German Tiger tank in WW2.

Catering, Equipment, Event Planning

Spartan Fire Trucks

23 July 2023

When the Diamond Reo truck manufacturer went into liquidation. Four young engineers left and set up a business of their own. Mortgaging their houses and borrowing what they could they formed Spartan Chassis to manufacture specialist vehicles such as fire pump trucks and military vehicles.

Early Spartan Fire Truck

Within thirty years the fledgling company had become a leading builder of custom chassis.

Custom Fire Apparatus

On the fire truck front they tend to build incomplete chassis for other manufacturers to add the body and equipment. Companies such as Kovatch Mobile Equipment take the Spartan chassis, cab and driveline, and add all the extra parts to produce the finished product.

An incomplete chassis.

They ted to leave the Spartan works looking like the truc above.

Finished KME Pump Truck

And come out of the second works looking more like the above.

One thing about the American fire trucks is that they look sexy. Acres of diamond plate decoration, big air horns, air raid type sirens and V6 or V8 engines, whats not to like?

New Food Truck

Why, you might ask are we waffling on about American fire trucks sexy or otherwise? Simples, we have just acquired a 1982 Spartan Monarch pumper to turn into a fire engine food truck. Watch this space for more details of John W. Sanders II. (That’s the name of the truck, named after a sadly deceased young firefighter.)

Here is a little look at the new truck. A full post will be up shortly.

John W. Sanders II Our New Fire Truck
John W. Sanders II Our New Fire Truck
Catering, Equipment, Food Trucks

What Are Smash Burgers

19 July 2023

We are continually tinkering with services and ingredients. That’s the reason that where we once offered doughnuts in sugar, we now do a full range of toppings such as Biscoff, Orea, melted chocolate etc.

Since lockdown, burgers have become a big part of our workload. We tried a number of different options before settling on a range of pre made patties. These have had great reviews everywhere we have been, and for some of the larger jobs where we have served upto 4000 guests they have been the only option realistically.

Enter The Smash

We have however always hankered at adding smash burgers to our lineup. For smaller events such as weddings or private parties these would be fine. Instead of pre formed patties we would be using loosely packed minced beef. To take it to the ultimate we could use a mincing machine and use joints of beef, can’t get much fresher than that.

But what, I hear you ask is a smash burger. Well, it is quite simple to make. You take a loose ball of minced beef. Not packed too tight or it doesn’t work the same. You plop it down on a super hot heating surface. Then smash it flat with a weighted iron. Oh, and you need beef with a pretty high fat content, around 20%.

Maillard Reaction

Puck Of Mince
Puck Of Mince

What happens is that the heat and the pressure combine causing the amino acids and sugars in proteins to react. This forms a deep, caramelised, rich crust, which takes the taste to new heights. The higher fat content melts in the burger stopping in from drying out and adding to the taste.

Smash Burger
The Holy Grail, Deep, Caramalised, And Tasty

you can generally tell a smash burger from the uneven shape and height of the burger. Pre processed patties tend to be a uniform size and shape.

Food Trucks, Fun Story

Happy French Fries Day

14 July 2023
National French Fries Day

The second Friday (or Frie Day) in July is national French Fries Day. Where? you might ask, good old America, where no doubt they think they invented them despite the name.

French Fries Cart Hire
French Fries Cart Hire

Introduced into Ireland in 1589 by Sir Walter Raleigh, the humble potato spread to become a staple crop in many lands. Hopefully in the great cosmic distribution of Karma, this may alleviate the deaths caused by his other introduction ‘tobacco’. Perhaps we might have been better smoking potatoes and eating tobacco!

French Fries Aren’t Just Potatoes

Fries can also be made with ;

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Jicama Fries
  • Parsnips sliver fries
  • Baked carrot fries
  • Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus fries

so even without Sir Walter we would still have had fries of some sort.

The good ole Americans consume 4.5 Billion pounds of fries, that works out at about 30 lb each. That’s a helluva lot of fries per person.

Whichever way you like your French fries, add some condiments and there is something for everyone.

Happy Fries Day!

Catering, Equipment, Event Planning

Burger Joints Of The World, Kenny Rogers Roasters

10 July 2023

A bit of a misnomer this one, as Kenny Rogers Roasters actually sold wood fired rotisserie chickens, rather than burgers. But hey, I am a Kenny Rogers fan so what can i say.

The famous country musician teamed up with John Y. Brown Jr., a former KFC C.E.O. Having been the governor of Kentucky, Brown decided to return to the restaurant business, and got together with Rogers in 1991 to open the first location in Coral Springs, Florida,. Their selling point was that rotisserie chicken was a healthier option to regular fried chicken with a tagline of “less fat…less salt…less calories” .

Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers

They gradually expanded the menu to include Turkey, ribs and numerous side dishes. Growing to around 350 locations in the US, Canada, Asia and the Middle East by 1995. In 91 ‘Cluckers’ a minor chain of chicken restaurants sued them for allegedly copying its menus and recipes. They dealt with this by buying a majority stake in the chain.

The original team of Brown and Rogers expanded the chain to some 425 stores, before selling out to Malaysia-based Berjaya Group in 1996. They announced plans to open in the UK, even going so far as to purchase land, but in the end nothing came of it.

Decline And Change Of Ownership

by 1996 they had reached an annual turnover of $300 million. By 1998 they were in chapter 11 bankruptcy. As not only other chains had added similar products, but many supermarkets and other stores offered rotisserie chicken. Nathan’s Famous Inc, bought the chain out of bankruptcy for $1.25 million, and within a short space of time they had been reduced to some 90 outlets, 40 in the USA.

In 2008 ownership changed again when they were sold to Roasters Asia Pacific (Cayman) Limited, the Asian franchise owner. This proved a good move, as the chain continued to flourish in the Asian market and grew to over 140 stores by 2011.

By Larsdominic – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Catering, Event Planning, Food Trucks

Burger Joints Of The World, Bastard Burgers

9 July 2023

A Scandinavian feel to this weeks Burger joint. Oh, and a pretty unique name. Bastard Burgers. I wonder how long before a parents organisation are picketing it to stop the kids being corrupted.

Throwing its hat into the ring in Luleå in Sweden in 2016, this is a relative baby in the burger world. The chain has seen rapid growth and now numbers some 70 outlets across Scandinavia, and one in New York City.

The recipe is similar to other high end burger joints. In NY they use meat from Pat LaFrieda a celebrated high end Butcher. In Sweden the meat comes from farms in Norrbotten, and is freshly ground each day. The dips are all made in house and the bread baked fresh daily. They are also proponents of the ‘smash’ technique. Taking a ball of meat and smashing it flat on the hot griddle. This causes something called the Milliard reaction, which locks the flavour into the meat and adds a lovely caramelized browning to the meat..

A Bastard Burger


They are also big on vegan, with the chain promoting two signature burgers each month, one Vegan and the other meat. A collaboration with Gustav Johansson a celebrity food blogger, and vegetarian chef, has seen him create the vegan offerings for the past twelve months.

The Stores

The outlets are a sort of mix of graffiti culture, street foedy, pop theme fusion. Hip Hop music and great burgers, what’s not to like.

One Of Their Stores
One Of Their Stores

Bronx Brewery

The New York store has a tie up with a local brewery, the Bronx Brewers. Offering their range of beers in house, whilst Bronx offer Bastard Burgers on their menu. The two businesses look a pretty good match culture wise, and this chain is going to be one to watch.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, Bastard is not a swear word in Sweden!

Catering, Equipment, Event Planning

Brand Activation Using food Trucks

4 July 2023
Birmingham Bears Front

Over the past 12 months we have added a number of food trucks for brand activation to our portfolio. We also have some exciting new additions that are coming soon. These are great for corporate use such as brand activations, sales promotions etc. They take a service and add a touch of style to it, so the guests not only get free food or drink, the actual truck becomes a promotional item in its own right.

Birmingham Bears Branded
Birmingham Bears Branded

Our classic Citroen HY van was used by Birmingham Bears on a tour to promote their new strip. Which was made from Recycled coffee beans. It was partially wrapped by our friends at HG Graphics, and custom printed coffee clutches provided. We opened it at a number of locations around Birmingham and Coventry. Resulting in long queues of people waiting for their free tea and coffees.

We offer a range of different quirky trucks to choose from all of which can be branded and tailored to your specific requirements. For longer term events we can acquire and build a custom set up just for you. This could be another example of something like our HY van. Or it could be something totally quirky such as building a coffee cart on a WW2 tank. Or an ice cream dispensary on a Helicoptor fuselage!

Contact Us for details on how we can work with you.

Catering, Event Planning, Food Trucks

8 Heart Attack Burgers

29 June 2023

Everyone loves a burger. Well almost, there are some people who replace the beef with patties made from green stuff. Whether that is still a ‘burger’ is open to debate.

Looking around the internet we across this monstrosity below;

World's Biggest Burger
World’s Biggest Burger

Containing almost 1800lb of beef (Thats over 700 quarter pounders) this was built to get into the Guinness book of records. It needed a custom built over creating out of a shipping container to fit it in, and comes with 300 pounds of cheese, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and lettuce, sandwiched in a 250lb bun.

It is actually on the menu at Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Detroit, and costs nearly $8000.

Realistically this was a one off burger. Created for a specific purpose.

But what else is out there, on regular menu’s and considered a normal burger, but comes with enough calories to shorten your lifespan for you pretty smartly. The Heart Attack Grill company make a number of burgers, with names such as triple bypass that contain upto 16000 calories. But this is a gimmicky burger joint, where the whole premise is you are eating unhealthy burgers. What about the regular chains. we are taking a look at what they place on the table;

Wendy’s Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburger Triple 1330 Calories

Wendy's Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburger Triple
Wendy’s Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburger Triple

Made with 3 of their famous square patties, it comes with jalapenos, crispy fried onions, cheese and bacon (though being American cheese and bacon we use those terms in the loosest possible sense) and cheese sauce, lots of it.

Weighing in at 1330 calories, it also packs a ridiculous two grams of salt, and 4.5 grams of that lovely, heart strangling trans-fat.

Carl’s Jr. Triple Western Bacon Cheeseburger 1380 Calories

Carl's Jr. Triple Western Bacon Cheeseburger
Carl’s Jr. Triple Western Bacon Cheeseburger

Clocking in at an extra 50 calories is Carl’s Jr. offering. Famous for their adverts featuring skimpily clad models. Carl’s als have a stake in the feed your customers to death stakes. This has almost three grams of fat, though is does cut the trans-fat score down a little, yay!

Three charbroiled patties, two strips of bacon, ‘American’ cheese and crispy fries onion rings add to the experience.

Hardee’s Monster Double Thickburger 1400 Calories

Hardee's Monster Double Thickburger
Hardee’s Monster Double Thickburger

Tipping the scales at 1400 calories, this again has nearly three grams of sodium, but it has upped the Trans-fat score to level with Wendy’s at 4.5 grams.

2/3 of a pound of beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of American cheese, and mayonnaise. To put it into perspective its recommended that you consume no more than 2300mg of sodium in a day, this has 2750mg.

Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger 1520 Calories

Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger
Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Pub Triple Cheeseburger

The iconic Wendy’s square pattie makes a second entry in our list. Three patties, bacon, honey mustard, beer cheese sauce, fried onions, pickles and muenster cheese wrapped in a soft pretzel bun.

This manages to break the 1500 calorie barrier at 1520 calories, though surprisingly, the sodium comes down a little to under two grams.

Steak ‘n Shake 7×7 Steakburger 1660 Calories

Steak 'n Shake 7×7 Steakburger
Steak ‘n Shake 7×7 Steakburger

We are jumping up the ladder rapidly now, with a 1660 calorie offering from Steak’n Shake. Seven beef burgers, along with seven strips of orange/yellow plastic stuff, sorry American cheese. Added to the calories are 3,800 mg sodium and a whopping six grams of trans fat.

This one just looks a mess

Whataburger Triple Meat Whataburger 1885 Calories

Whataburger Triple Meat Whataburger
Whataburger Triple Meat Whataburger

Climbing ever closer to the magic 2000 calorie barrier, this one looks positively clinical at the side of our last burger. Three patties, layered with the ubiquitous American cheese, topped with a bit of salad. This nudges the 1885 calorie mark, but is surprisingly low in sodium at 2080 gm and only 3 grams of trans fat. (By low we are speaking relatively. It’s low in the burger world).

As they say ‘Whataburger’!

Burger King Bacon King 2020 Calories

Burger King Bacon King
Burger King Bacon King

The first of our contenders to break the 2000 calorie barrier. Though the UK version of this is only about two thirds the size.

two ¼-pound beef patties, a hearty portion of thick-cut bacon, American cheese, ketchup, and mayonnaise on a sesame seed bun,

A full half pound of beef, thick-cut bacon, American cheese (again), ketchup, and mayo on a sesame seed bun,

Over four grams of sodium and seven of trans fat. This is a whopper indeed.

Heart Attack Grill Quadruple Bypass Burger 16000 Calories

Quadruple Bypass Burger
Quadruple Bypass Burger

You only have to look at it. Nearly 16000 calories. God alone knows how much sodium, trans fat etc they have. It shortens your life just looking at it.

All in all there are some real nasty heart attack burgers out there.

Funfair Rides

Weird And Wonderful Rides

23 June 2023

Rides around the world have been steadily getting bigger, faster, more daring, pulling more G’s and so on. Most countries have similar rides at carnivals and fairs, but there are some Weird and wonderful contraptions around the world. A few are listed below, we can’t see them appearing at your local fair anytime soon.

Nothin But Net
Nothin But Net

Nothin But Net

The concept behind this one is simple, take riders a 100 feet into the air, them drop them into the net below. A special harness is meant to ensure they land on their backs, but as 1 expert put it, ‘Nothing is foolproof.’



This one is probably good for the environment. Basically it is a pedal powered roller coaster. So the riders actually have to do some work to use it.

Human Trebuchet
Human Trebuchet

Human Trebuchet

Transforming a medieval weapon into an amusement ride, is something only a truly twisted genius could find a good idea. About £60 a go, you are basically shot out of the sling towards a net. Sadly in 2002 a rider managed to miss the net and was killed.

Devils Disc
Devils Disc

Devils Disc

This one actually was a ride over here many years ago. We can remember riding this at Redcar amusement park. Its a disc that everyone sits on. The disc starts to spin and gradually picks up speed, until it reaches the point where everyone is flung off.

In conclusion some of the weird and wonderful rides range from amusing to downright deranged. Would you really allow yourself to be shot out of a trebuchet and hope the net catches you?

Fun Story

World Cups, Boxing Matches and Fairgrounds

19 June 2023

Any England fan (football) will tell you of the years of hurt, failed dreams and fantasies of world cups that have come to naught. We seem to get so close, then lose on penalties. To be honest if I was the England manager, I would have my team training consisting of nothing but taking penalties for eight hours a day.

We had one, brief, beautiful bright spot in 1966. Hosting the tournament at home, we started a bit slow, but then hit our stride and as any fan will tell you, beat Germany in the final, which made it all the more satisfying.

What many fans won’t know is the part the fairground played in our victory.

The Charlton Boys

The linchpins of the England team were a couple of Northern lads called Charlton. Bobby and Jackie to be precise. Hailing from the mining town of Ashington, they hailed from a family with deep connection to footballing fame. Their mother Cissie, was from the Milburn family. A number of her cousins played professionally, including the legendary wor Jackie. Jackie Milburn a legend of Newcastle United and England fame.

What has any of this got to do with the fairground industry you might ask?

Well, in 1934 a certain young man named Bob Charlton wanted to marry his sweetheart. Unfortunately with times being hard in the North East he didn’t have the money for a ring. Fortunately for him he wasn’t much of a footballer, but he was a handy boxer. At that time the travelling funfairs had boxing booths, where members of the public could enter, and if they lasted three rounds would win a cash prize.

Bob managed the three rounds, won the money to buy a wedding ring, and proposed to Cissie Milburn. Bob and Cissie went on to have four boys, including Jack and Bobby, who ended up in the England team in 66, and, well the rest is world cup history.

Cisse with Jackie and Bobby
Cisse with Jackie and Bobby