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Trailblazer BBQ Q&A

Founder of Trailblazer BBQ trailers, towable bbq manufacutrer

Street food & mobile catering Q&A with Trailblazer BBQ Trailer Founder Lester Manley!

NCASS met with Trailblazer BBQ owner, Lester Manley to hear the story behind Trailblazers towable BBQ range and his thoughts on the mobile catering and street food industry. We thought we would fill you in with how the conversation went….

1.) Hi guys, can you tell us first and foremost when Trailblazer BBQ was established and what was the motivation for starting the business?

Trailblazer BBQ was born in 2014 and to be quite honest, it happened purely by accident!
While helping out at a church summer youth camp where they were catering for over 200 people on a beach, I (Lester) noticed the whole thing was a disaster.

The light was dropping as the tide was rushing in, barbecues weren’t lighting and those that did gave huge flare ups resulting in burnt burgers. Running out of time lead to people packing up in the dark, attempting to move barbecues that were still loaded with scorching coals… From start to finish the whole thing was just mayhem.

As I have spent my life serving clients all over the world, helping them build strong assets in their brand and bring innovation to the heart of their organisations, I took it upon myself to challenge this problem. As a result, the next summer, for the fun of the challenge and no intention of going beyond the youth camp…. A BBQ trailer was introduced to the Summer Camp BBQ!

After great success, people then started asking whose it was and where could they get their hands on one. Word quickly got about and a year later, whilst soaking up the sun on holiday it hit me… the market needs this product! Wasting no more time I jumped straight into product development & that’s how Trailblazer BBQ was born!

Towable BBQ Trailer, street food grill

2.) What sets Trailblazer apart from their competitors/what’s your USP?

We don’t really have any direct competitors as we believe there to be nothing else like Trailblazer in the market. Immense output capabilities, theatrical live fire cooking, mobility, self-sufficiency and ease of use are just some of the key USPs that drive us away from any other BBQ trailer / food truck.

As charcoal is by far the best grilling fuel, we strive to make it the most covinent option and first choice for any serious outdoor caterer. Therefore we focus on overcoming any limitations often associated with charcoal grilling….

bbq trailer

Trailblazer BBQ offers infinite temperature control through the adjustable grill. This gives instant control over the heat source. You can go from searing hot heat to low and slow cooking in a matter of seconds, simply raise and lower the grill throughout the cooking process as and when you please.

The return of investment is another huge USP. The 600s Grillmaster for example, a compact unit measuring just 3m in length however offers a whooping output of 600BPH!(burgers per hour) Many of our customers are charging between £5-£6 per burger. When you do the maths, that’s one hefty income capability per hour. It’s so pleasing to regularly hear that our customers are noticing this. So much so that we have actually changed our slogans to…

 

Make More Money

– “If everything paid me as well as my Trailblazer BBQ, I would be a billionaire!” – The Kitchen

Work Less Hours

– “It’s been nearly a year with the Trailblazer and we have seen an increase in turnover of between 30-40% since using the Trailblazer. The increase in turnover has allowed us to trade more efficiently through the week. This has given us the time off at weekends to spend with our family which was not possible before the Trailblazer BBQ.” – Feast

Have More Fun

“Being able to go out and work for myself in a job that I have a passion for is just brilliant. Not to mention that it has brought the family together as my two daughters (8 & 12) are out giving me a helping hand on site when they aren’t at school.” – Appy Days Catering

Mess, time and hassle of cleaning is another hindrance associated with charcoal grilling, Not with Trailblazer! The Trailblazer range has an innovative ash scraper & collection feature. To remove the charcoal residue after use you simply pull the scrapper bar. This will gather and pull all the ash into a removable box that can then be lifted out and emptied. Each Trailblazer is built with a full galvanized then powder coated exterior with a stainless-steel interior, meaning you can simply power hose down after use and won’t ever have to worry about any rust formulating.

Another major advantage we hear repeatably from our customers is the ability to just pack up and leave straight after an event. No more hanging around until the charcoal has completely cooled down or having to fight and try to extinguish the coals. There is nothing worse than having to wait about after you have finished catering, after all… time is money!

3.) What are the advantages of a BBQ trailer set-up as opposed to a static set-up?

The ability to take your business on the road is much more appealing to us than being stuck in a brick and mortar business.

Firstly, it offers new starts a low-cost entry into the catering industry and no fixed fees such as rent, electricity, heating. With Trailblazer Finance you can have your own catering business for as little £150 per month. This is very appealing to new starts who maybe don’t have the financial backing to open a restaurant. It really is better than a franchise!

With a Trailblazer BBQ trailer you’re able to take your business ‘on tour’ and follow the footfall to ensure your catering business is in prime positions at all times.

Being in the towable BBQ business also gives huge flexibility and diversity in the services you offer. Whether this be corporate event catering, street food trading, market stalls, wedding catering etc. The list goes on whereas with a static business you’re more than likely restricted to the confinements of your premises.

We actually have several customers who introduced Trailblazer to their static business in order to diversify & increase brand awareness however have actually ended up selling their static premises and taking their whole business on the road, now owning a fleet of Trailblazer BBQs.

“Mobile catering isn’t like a restaurant where I have staff costs whether people come through the door or not. Working mobile on our Trailbalzer BBQ makes it so much easier to manage the financial side of things.” – Foodie Folk

4.) Do you think the street food revolution is here to stay?

Yes, it’s much more than a trendy phase, it’s now a way of life. Not to mention the fact it’s great for the local area and economy. Many street food markets and stalls are revamping old derelict areas that previously lay as an eye sore.

It has completely transformed the way people eat and socialize. Street food is now being served in high end ‘specialist’ restaurants and I can see the street food revolution taking another giant leap forward with organisers focusing on combining street food with other offerings and events within the music, retail and the fitness & wellbeing industries.

5.) What’s a great starter Trailblazer product for someone who’s just adding BBQ to an existing set-up?

We class the 350 Club as the entry level machine for our commercial BBQ/Grill range. It’s perfect as a business add on and has been found popular within restaurants, beer gardens, butchers and market traders. In fact, the Lake District purchased a 350 Club just 6 weeks ago and they phone us last week to say they have already made £25,000 worth of sales on it! The 350 BBQ trailer is available in both towable & mobile forms.

bbq trailer, bbq catering

The 600s Grillmaster however would be our flagship machine and is perfect for street food trading. This compact beast comes with a 600BPH (burger per hour) output and has everything needed to run a successful mobile catering business. Among its abundance of features and accessories, we are in the middle of launching a brand-new smoker configuration for it so keep an eye out!

6.) What would be your advice to someone who’s looking to set up a mobile BBQ catering unit? Where should they start and what should they be looking for in terms of equipment?

Good question! We find the majority of people overestimate the amount of equipment needed to get them up and running. And I can assure you, it isn’t because they have money to burn. They simple just don’t know or panic buy!

We always tell our customers to start with the necessities needed to get them on the road & trading. Once they have secured some cash, they can then focus on sprucing up their set up.

A great start up package that we can offer is a Trailblazer 600s Grillmaster, Half pallet of charcoal, Handyman Xtra Handwash, Fire extinguisher, first aid kit & a cool box. This is more than enough to get you out on the road trading. Our exclusive discount to NCASS members makes it a no brainer!

7.) What are the Trailblazer values?

We believe in delivering a high performing range of commercial bbq trailer with added value, integrity, courtesy and enthusiasm. We strive to the best of our ability to run the business with the timeless wisdom of Christian values; Bless Others, Have Fun & Make Money.

8.) People are often drawn to mobile catering rather than fixed site because of its low entry costs. Do you have anything in place for new caterers who might not have money to invest in quality equipment?

Yes, we offer Finance across the entire Trailblazer range. Trailblazer Finance has been very popular for new starts. It allows them to have their Trailblazer out on the road from the first monthly instalment, meaning they can save their cash for a rainy day and let the Trailblazer pay the way for itself!

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Trailblazer, The Grill Of Choice Again For This Years All Ireland BBQ Championship

UK BBQ Championships

We are delighted to be teaming up with Butchery Excellence International for this years All Ireland BBQ Championships!

Trailblazer BBQ will be the grill of choice once again throughout this years competition after impressing the judges throughout both the 2017 & 2018 championships.

After the 2017 competition, our Trailblazer 600s Grillmaster was labelled as “Simply the best piece of kit that I have used in a professional judging arena.” by Sean Owens, as he also believed, “the amazing high standard and creative products that we experienced throughout this important competition lend themselves to Trailblazer BBQ!”

 

This years competition will take place at Aughnacloy throughout the 13th & 14th of June 2019. The competition is open to all butchers across Ireland, bringing them head to head as they battle it out across 11 meaty classes, giving them the perfect platform to showcase the talent and craftsmanship that goes into their line of work.

Each entry will be judged in their raw form for consistent size, appearance, and presentation as well as cooked when each class will be marked for appearance, shrinking, texture & flavour on Butcher Excellence Internationals very own Trailblazer BBQ!

Registration can be made HERE

Competition Class Categories are : –

Class 1 – BBQ Premium Sirloin Steak

Class 2 – BBQ Premium Rump Steak

Class 3 – BBQ Premium Fillet Steak

Class 4 – BBQ Premium T Bone Steak

Class 4 – BBQ Rack of Ribs / Spare Ribs

Class 6 – BBQ Beef Brisket

Class 7 – BBQ Pulled Pork

Class 8 – BBQ Kebab

Class 9 – BBQ Chicken

Class 10 – BBQ Chicken Wings

Class 11 – BBQ Product Of Choice

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Street Food Trading Opportunities In London and Beyond!

street dots street food trading

Further opportunities in the pipeline for street food traders across London and surrounding UK areas as StreetDots announce huge growth plans to help further boosts the UK street food & outdoor entertainment scene!

StreetDots was created back in 2014 at the same time street food was trading was starting to see a steady incline. The platform was developed to allow independent street food traders book spaces to trade within London and surrounding areas. By working closely with land owners, StreetDots were able to benefit mobile caterers with trading locations and private land owners as they were able to utilise unused space that was lying redundant.

As the UK street food industry as a whole has seen a rapid increase in popularity, StreetDots have invested in this positive growth as there are now 2000+ mobile caterers using the tech app across 250 trading locations that offer morning, afternoon & evening trading slots across London & surrounding areas.

street food BBQ
A Trailblazer street food caterer in London

5 years later & a lot of hard graft going on behind the scenes, StreetDots have announced they’re bringing even more opportunities to Street Food Traders throughout London and will also now be targeting different locations & introducing opportunities to different sectors.

They have created numerous new offerings for traders and land-owners to enhance the placemaking offering – giving more independent brands and artists across new sectors like wellbeing, retail, experiential and music a new stage.

Landowners can now start to think about placemaking and wellbeing in a very creative way – by bringing more than just food and beverages to the party.

Seasonal

Street Traders and Independent Brands can now work with StreetDots to offer seasonal offerings. There are a huge number of opportunities now for vendors looking to cater to these seasons and holidays.

Private Bookings

StreetDots now features a private bookings form for corporate events, weddings, intimate events, charity events and more on their application. This is a great way for mobile caterers to showcase their brands in an intimate and special way as well as diversifying their target sector.

event catering, commercial BBQ
A Trailblazer BBQ catering at a corporate party. No pitch fees, no electric costs.

Vehicle options

StreetDots is trying to make it cheap and easy for people to create small businesses. Restaurateurs across the globe as reinventing themselves by purchasing and kitting out fleets of branded food trucks. We want everyone – big or small to be able to use our platform to either launch and establish themselves, or to reinvent an existing brand. Traders with one vehicle can now use other modes of transport ie. a bicycle to sell additional products in alternative locations.

 

The Trailblazer 600s commercial street food BBQ

It is great to see that Street Dots strive to provide the best opportunities to help encourage caterers hit the roads and blaze their own trail! Is it time that you strongly considered taking a leap towards street food trading or swapping your brick and mortar for something more mobile?

600s Grillmaster features

Give Trailblazer BBQ a call and we can chat you through our range, pricing, features & much more!

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Trailblazer Teams with NCASS

NCASS and Trailblazer BBQ team together

We are delighted to announce our recent partnership with the UK’s only trade association for mobile caterers and street food traders, NCASS!

The National Caterers Association, ‘NCASS’ provide caterers with the expert advice and systems to help them trade legally, safely & more profitably throughout the UK & Ireland.

These are three factors Trailblazer BBQ also regard very important, ensuring we are providing the market with safe, highly profitable BBQ/Grill trailers that fully comply with legislation.

Trailblazer 600s Grillmaster with Overhead Removable Sign & Lighting System

We caught up with Amy from NCASS for a bit of background info & how NCASS can help mobile caterers….

What are some of the benefits NCASS could bring to Trailblazer BBQ caterers across the UK?

“We want you to save time on paperwork and documents so that you can spend more time doing what you love.

Joining NCASS means you can speak to your Account Manager for answers to any questions you have about running your business, no matter what stage you’re at. Even if you just need a chat about how things are going, just give us a call and we’ll be there to listen.

We also want to encourage caterers to become part of the NCASS family so you’ll have the support of a huge community of traders across the country and we can use our numbers to make sure that industry bodies hear the voices of every one of our members.”

Have you any exciting future plans for NCASS?

“We’re always keen to improve and increase the deals and discounts that we offer to our members, as saving our members money is just as important as helping them to make a profit.

As our membership numbers have increased, it has become easier for us to secure exclusive deals with suppliers across the industry, so the bigger our membership base, the better for everyone! We also have a brand new digital due diligence system in the works, which will make food safety, health & safety, financing and staff management more streamlined for owners of every kind of business that join the NCASS Family.”

What would you say to someone thinking of joining the mobile catering industry? Also from your experience, what would you find to be the biggest barrier an outside/mobile caterer has to overcome?

“The advice we give to new starters is to speak to as many people in the industry as you can.

Of course, we’re the best place to start, but reach out to other traders and business owners too, as you’ll really get to know if this is the job for you. Offering to work for an established caterer for a shift or two can also be a great way to figure out if you are suited for the work before you jump in headfirst.

The biggest barrier to becoming a mobile caterer at the moment is finding opportunities to work. The market is very saturated, and there is a great deal of competition for pitches. The best way to combat this is through marketing. We can support business owners with their marketing materials as part of membership and shouting about your business to the right people in the right way can make a great difference to the opportunities available to you, so don’t underestimate a strong brand and website.”

event catering, commercial BBQ
Foodie Folk making great use of garden space with a Trailblazer BBQ and blow up bar at a corporate party.

We are excited to see what our partnership with NCASS brings for the future and consider it being a great step forward to help ensure we are able to provide continual improvement & support for our Trailblazer BBQ traders!

 

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Down ‘The Hatch’ as another Trailblazer owner celebrates huge success! 

Street food BBQ The hatch

We would like to wish the best  of luck to proud Trailblazer BBQ owners and accomplished, award winning artisan street food guys, The Hatch!

These guys have had one heck of a year. From being crowned The Best Burger in Ulster, Highly commended winners of Street Food of the Year and finalists in the Food & Wedding Awards.

Ulster Best Burger, Street Food BBQ award

After conquering Ulster’s Best Burger, they are now on the hot pursuit for even bigger things. Next on the award radar is ‘The Best Burger in Ireland’ as they will be ‘burgering’ it out this year with some of the top players in hopes for that gold-plated trophy!

The Hatch and their talented chefs focus on cooking locally sourced produce on their Trailblazer BBQ and from what we hear, love smoking their own meat. They have even smoked from the Trailblazer 600s!

The Hatch Commercial BBQ, BBQ smokers UK commercial bbq smoker, branded BBQ trailer

Why not pay them a visit and see what the fuss is about! Their famous burger is a local Mourne Shorthorn Beef. If you would like to give them a vote for The Best Burger in Ireland 2019, jump across to their Facebook page and follow the directions. It takes no longer that 2 mins!

best burger in Ulster

Ps, feel free to send a few burgers to the Trailblazer factory for us to sample! ☺

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Lights, Camera, Cook!

Shine the light and watch your mobile catering business grow this year with Trailblazers brand new, fully autonomous lighting system!…..

No leads, No electric resource required and No fixing restrictions.

Trailblazer innovative bbq lighting kit

Introducing the all new Trailblazer BBQ lighting system. Each lighting kit includes: –

  • 5 rechargeable battery powered LED lights, each of which boasting a 3 hour run time
  • Multiple mounting fixings for ultimate positioning flexibility
  • 5 charger leads and an in car USB charging adapter

The Trailblazer BBQ lighting kit is available for purchase here

lighting kit, bbq accessorie

Each 5W wireless light giving 3 hours battery life, offering the perfect solution for evening trading. No more trading in the dark or early pack up times due to seasonality!

Pick and choose where you wish to place the BBQ lighting, whether it be shinning on the grill, front and rear tables, overhead banner display, rear storage compartment or across all areas of your Trailblazer BBQ and stall set up.

bbq lighting kit, wireless lighting accessories

bbq accessoriesbbq accessories

Now You Can!

Call Trailblazer BBQ today for BBQ lighting system pricing and ordering information. Available for delivery.

Tel: 028 90 57 9000 

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4 reasons why you need a Trailblazer BBQ in 2019!

Trailblazer corporate BBQ/Grill

Trailblazer has proven to be a huge hit throughout many different industries and sectors. Trailblazer BBQ will prove to become a huge asset to your catering business, allowing you to enjoy many benefits, both financially and quality of life.

Here are just four key reasons as to why your business needs a Trailblazer BBQ in 2019!

Profitability

“If everything I bought paid me as well as my Trailblazer BBQ/Grill I would be a millionaire! There’s not a day when we don’t get a customer compliment from the machine.”

Pat Brady – The Kitchen Letterkenny

Extend your outdoor catering season to all year round, stand out from competition and reach cooking capabilities of up to 1,200BPH! (burgers per hour)

Food trailer BBQ
Trailblazer food trailer system

Quality of Life

Earn more and work less with Trailblazer! Run a more profitable business whilst freeing some time to spend on the important things in life.

“It’s been nearly a year with the Trailblazer & we have seen an increase in turnover of between 30-40% since using the TB.

This has allowed us to trade more efficiently through the week and crucially given us time off at weekends to spend with our family, which was not possible before the Trailblazer. We have also seen a bigger increase in turnover during the winter months with our TB acting as a big crowd drawer when the weather was cold. So a huge thank you to you and your team, were looking forward to a productive spring/summer with the TB and some quality time with our families.”

Leigh White – Feast

Business Growth

Enter markets that weren’t possible before, diversify product or service offerings to broaden your audience and let Trailblazer become your own free, mobile marketing billboard!

Branded BBQ Grill

Butcher BBQ/Grill

bbq trailer, trailblazer bbq

“Last years success with Trailblazer BBQ has persuaded me to invest in the 1200 Festival to help manage double bookings.”

Mark Stone – Foodie Folk

“Over the summer of 2018 the demand for our mobile catering services grew rapidly. Starting to target larger party sizes we started to think about upsizing our Trailblazer 120 Mini. We had the pleasure of hiring a Trailblazer 600s Grillmaster for an event we were catering at. It cut our time onsite in half and the output capabilities were next to none.

After this experience and the positive feedback that we received from the guests, we made the decision to purchase our own 600s Grillmaster.” 

Jack Delaney – The Flaming Cook

 

Wedding BBQ/Grill

Fun & Ease of Use

Enjoy what you do!

Trailblazer’s unique features such as, ash scraper blade and collection box, gull wing doors and adjustable cooking heights/instant heat control have made charcoal grilling to perfection more achievable and enjoyable than ever before. Utilize Trailblazers flexible cooking capabilities and get adventurous with your menu offerings at any place, any time!

Read Trailblazer’s customer success stories here

Unique key features include

  • Adjustable grill giving instant heat control
  • Huge cooking area
  • Ability to cook from both sides allowing for multiple chefs
  • Fully self-sufficient
  • Ash scraper blade and ash box for hassle free removal
  • Gull wing doors offering shelter from weather conditions
  • Stainless steel interior with galvanised and powder coated exterior giving years of hassle free heavy commercial use.
  • Full European Whole Vehicle Type Approval

Charcoal BBQ, Charcoal Grill

Trailblazer 1200 Festival Commercial BBQ/Grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a Trailblazer to suit every need from the home BBQ/Grill enthusiast, butcher right up to festival caterer. Contact us today to learn how Trailblazer could significantly grow your business throughout 2018!

Tel: 028 90 57 900

Email: [email protected]

View the unrivalled Trailblazer BBQ/Grill range. 

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Bringing A Colourful 2019 – Trailblazer BBQ

Trailblazer towable bbq

Mix it up this year with our BRAND NEW, 600S Grillmaster 2019 Colour Range!

Starting the year off bright, we are introducing two brand new colour offerings to our flagship machine, the 600s Grillmaster.

Now available in three striking colours…

…standard Black, Anthracite & Jet Red.

 

Giving even more choice to choose a colour that best suits your brand, audience or personal preferences!

Pre-order yours now to avoid disappointment or backlog waiting times.

What Country will be first to see the new colour range on the road?

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Taking Your Trailblazer To New Heights!

Trailblazer BBQ overhead sign

Stand above the competition at your next event with Trailblazers latest eye-catching innovation….

The All New – Trailblazer Overhead, Removable Sign

overhead branding sign
Trailblazers latest innovative accessory – The Removable, Overhead Sign. (Available for 600 & 1200 models)

This detachable, retrofit accessory is now available for ALL 600s and 1200 models.

Standing a whopping 3m off the ground, this striking accessory will ensure you draw attention from the crowds!

mobile catering signage

overhead sign
Simply remove the sign, fold the frame and re-attach to the fixings for safe and easy transportation.

This accessory has been designed in a way to allow easy retrofit installation to your existing machine or factory fitted with any new orders.

Whether you opt for your own branded sign or Trailblazers generic one, turn your iconic Trailblazer BBQ into a freestanding advertising site at your next outing!

The stainless steel frame is innovatively designed allowing it to be detached, collapsed and fixed for transporting in a matter of minutes.

 

Order now!

Tel  – 028 90 57 9000 
Email [email protected]

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Raise Your ‘Steaks’… Now With Chips!

Introducing the impressive 1200 Festival Compact Food Truck System!..

Boasting Trailblazers impressive 600BPH (Burgers Per Hour) grilling power, along with 100 litres of fully insulated ‘hold hot’ storage and a tailorable appliance recess area, this 1200 system is configured to be the ultimate, highly compact and profitable food truck trailer!

Commercial bbq, Towable grill

“From a price point of view there’s nothing better than being able to serve chips. You just bring your bags of chips and throw them in the fryer as you need them. It’s as easy as that. Simply cook what you need, as you need it, leaving absolutely no wastage.” Pat Brady 

Read Pats Success Story with Trailblazer BBQ here

Tailored appliance area 

This 1200 system comes as one part grill and one part appliance recess area that can be tailored specifically to suit your business requirements. The appliance recess area as pictured has been fitted with a portable, high performance double tank gas fryer and stainless steel work area.

chip tailer, fryer units

Hot holding cupboard

Two built in hot plates have been fitted, offering a whooping 100lt capacity of fully insulated ‘hot holding’ that can easily accommodate 4 full size gastronorm trays, giving the ability to offer more variety than ever…..

Let customers wave goodbye to frustrating queues by keeping food ready and waiting at precisely the correct temperature throughout a busy event!

commercial BBQ, chip van

No need for hot storage? Alike the appliance recess area we can tailer this feature to suit your requirements. Why not opt for refrigeration instead!

While your here , Check out our other systems…

Prep & Store conversion Kit

commercial BBQ, BBQ trailer

Effortlessly convert your 1200 Festival from a dual grill to a 600BPH grill and a full 4 station food preparation and cold storage work area in a matter of minutes.

This accessory takes no longer than 15 minutes to instal and can be converted back to a dual grill at any time. Chop & change from event to event!

* Compatible with both the 1200 Festival & 600s Grillmaster *

Coffeemaster Combo

Stepping away from our core speciality of charcoal grilling, we can now build your next coffee unit. Just the way you need it!

Coffee Trailer - Mobile coffee shop

Ranging from a simple conversion kit to the fully loaded, high performing and highly profitable Coffeemaster 400 – The Worlds most compact, fully autonomous mobile coffee trailer!