One of Australia’s largest food trucks is patiently waiting for the opportunity to hit Victorian events and corporate functions, once the state comes out of hibernation.
Much more than just a food truck though, its owner Robbie Herreich, has plans to use the Eurocargo ML 160 to travel the state providing philanthropic support to areas that have been affected by the likes of fires, floods, storms and other crisis.
Having spent some 18 years as a professional driver and another 14 years operating a successful charcoal chicken outlet in Cranbourne, south east Melbourne, Robbie was able to combine both chapters of his previous working life in establishing ‘Robbie’s Roadside Diner’.
Not content to do things by halves, in August last year he began the build of the Eurocargo in conjunction with specialist Brisbane-based bodybuilder, Van Demons Vans. To save potential transport costs from Melbourne, the cab chassis itself was purchased locally at Brisbane IVECO, and the resultant creation is as much visually-stunning as it is functional and fit-for-task.
The Eurocargo’s body sits at 9.2 metres in length and despite the 50s diner theme, was designed to produce a variety of cuisines, according to Robbie.
“We wanted the truck to be able to cater to a wide range of customers, from corporate clientele through to people attending events or festivals,” he said.
“The truck’s fitted with a range of ovens, a stove, grill, toasters, microwave, humidity cabinet, kebab machine, soft serve machine, coffee machine, prep and under-bench fridges and sinks – it allows us to serve café-style food, a range of pasta, baked breads, vegetables and roast meats, through to your more traditional food truck dishes like hamburgers and kebabs.”
Other features of the body include a slide-out, step-down bain marie serving area large enough for three staff members, an automated slide-out awning, flat screen televisions and sound system that can provide menu details or alternatively, promote corporate messaging, and a separate shower and toilet.
Along with its custom livery, the truck is equipped with an aluminium bull bar, chrome wheels, roof-mounted aero kit and under vehicle L.E.D. strip lighting. Finishing off the stunning package is fold-up ‘Robbie’s Roadside Diner’ signage that rises at the push of a button.
Robbie said that the last 14 years of working in the takeaway food industry had seen him interact heavily with the general public and allowed him to better connect and empathise with others.
“I’ve done well over the years and have been quite lucky in life, so I thought it was time to give back where I could,” he said.
“The truck is quite self-sufficient, we have generators on board, can carry 1,000 litres of water and we also tow a 5.8 metre freezer and cool room trailer – we could travel to a crisis site when required and be there for several days without needing to replenish.”
According to Robbie, the Eurocargo’s specification was ideal for the build.
“The wheelbase is just right for the body we were planning, I also wanted airbag suspension which allows us to lower the truck to make it easier to serve,” he said.
“The longest drive I’ve done in the truck was from Brisbane to Melbourne and it performed brilliantly. The engine produces 280 horsepower which is more than enough to get the 14.75 tonne truck down the road as well as the trailer.
“With the Allison 5-speed automatic, it makes a nice combination, it’s very relaxed, comfortable and quiet to run, it’s a beautiful truck to drive – I’m very happy with the Eurocargo.”
While it’s likely that the new food truck won’t be in operation for a few weeks longer due to current restrictions, Robbie is optimistic about the future.
“Small businesses need to adapt as many have shown that they can do during the current crisis. This situation won’t last forever,” he said.
“From a personal perspective I’ve already had a lot of interest in this venture, I’m really looking forward to getting the truck out working but also to be able to use it to help the broader community when needed.”