BUILT TO SUCCEED: THE SPRINTER CHRONICLES
Seizing last-minute opportunities
In an economy characterized by rapid and unexpected twists
and turns, a business opportunity missed is often lost forever.
That’s a reality Larry Walter, owner and COO of Chicagoland’s
Tasty Catering, faces on a daily basis. But thanks to his
growing fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, he doesn’t miss any.
Tasty Catering has adopted an open-book management
system that assigns individual responsibility for every single
line item on a continuous basis. “We don’t wait 15 days for a
P&L; we know instantly what’s going on in every aspect of our
business and can make adjustments on the fly,” Walter says.
“The Sprinters help immensely. They are our top-of-the-line
vehicles. Our logistics director routes the Sprinters out first, and
everyone loves to drive them.”
Customers slow to spend
The economy’s been improving of late, but not in a straight
line. Many companies have cash on hand but often wait to
pull the trigger on expenditures until the last possible moment.
For Tasty Catering, that means being able to gear up
instantly or risk losing an engagement—and possibly a repeat
customer. The company’s three Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Model 2500 High Roof Crew Vans with 144-inch wheelbases
are among its most valuable tools in meeting that challenge.
A case in point is the call Tasty Catering got from a good
customer at 9: 30 one morning last spring. “She said she
needed a picnic for 150 guests,” Walter recalls. “They’d just
won a safety award, and headquarters wanted to treat them
to an impromptu celebration—at 3: 30 that afternoon.” With
just six hours to execute, the logistics director quickly located
staff; confirmed all needed equipment, food, and supplies
were on hand; then checked the fleet. All its large box trucks
were out, and no last-minute rentals were available.
$3K in sales, and a customer saved
“The solution was simple,” Walter says. “Van 18—our 2011
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter outfitted with a Class V hitch
and an internal ramp—was slated for a box lunch order
that afternoon. The logistics director quickly switched that
order and driver to a standard van, freeing up Van 18 for
the picnic.” The customized Tasty Catering Sprinter easily
accommodated all the equipment, supplies, and personnel,
including a large, towable grill. Everything was loaded up
about noon, the crew compartment was filled shortly after
that, and Van 18 arrived at the site with plenty of time to set
up for the event.
Tasty Catering’s Sprinters provide the raw muscle and cargo
capacity of a box truck in a smaller-footprint vehicle that is
more versatile, flexible, and fuel-efficient. “Had we not had the
Sprinters in our fleet, we would not have been able to service
our customer, and we would have lost $3,000 in sales that
day,” Walter says. “This is a vehicle that works not just as hard
as we do, but as creatively as well.”