Rainer’s Bavarian Grill
Amid tough times, family finds business opportunity and stuck with it for now over six years.
When the economic downturn forced Stefan Schenkelberg to terminate his once successful sales consultant role for an ISO certifications company back in 2010, he didn’t stick his heads in the sand and give up.
Instead, the Schenkelberg couple got creative.
They pulled together the home baked German food specialities of pastry chef Regina Schenkelberg and authentic hot dogs supplied by wholesale, pocked it up in a concession stand and hit the road.
The Schenkelbergs now travel through London selling their award-winning German fare in their portable food vending trailer, christened Rainer’s Bavarian Grill. “It’s a tribute to my husband’s late brother Rainer,” said Regina Schenkelberg, matriarch of the family.
Stefan and Regina Schenkelberg have two children who grew up working in the
food business with their parents. The couple’s youngest, Trevor, 18, continues to fulfill the family’s food duties by working and touring with his parents …when he is not at college.
The three Schenkelbergs spend about half of the year living in their fifth wheel, currently parked just outside London close to the M25.
“We just love England,” Stefan Schenkelberg said.
The German delicacies served up by the Schenkelbergs at fairs, festivals and markets include bratwurst, a traditional sausage from northern Bavaria, and knackwurst, a smoke-flavoured speciality also known as “knacker”.
Their supplier for the Knacker is a specialist butcher in Oxfordshire, which according to Stefan makes sausages that even native Germans can’t distinguish from those manufactured in the federal republic.
Stefan said: “People love the Knacker. A woman from Berlin who tried them said they reminded her of her childhood. Sourcing meat locally does make sense.
“We also do beef sausages, chicken and turkey sausages, and even vegan sausages.”
Stefan prepares the award-winning German Curry Sauce with a ‘kick’ every morning prior to their taste buds spoiling missions.
‘It’s a bit more unusual than normal fair food and we contribute to health and wellbeing’ said Trevor Schenkelberg, one of the sons of the family, and he referred to the air frying technology installed in their kitchen.
The family is constantly working on and in the business. This entails several hours of administrative work per day to keep the concessions coming by researching, applying for and booking events. ‘It’s a lot more complicated than people think!,’ Schenkelberg said. ‘It takes a lot of planning.’ The cost associated with finding, applying for and being accepted as a vendor at some festivals can be quite high. Some require non-refundable deposits — large sums.
The Schenkelberg couple is not resting on their laurels, never did in their seven year’s touring experience with the ‘can’. Attending market events is a must do for them to retain a cash flow situation to attend events for their festival rocker.