A good burger is a hunger killer – quick and lasting. That is why Leandro Braga calls his bestseller the “Killer”. The 37-year-old runs the Carango Food Truck. He and his team are normally at the Praça Mauá or are booked for events throughout Rio de Janeiro. Today it is both: “Casuarina” is a very popular samba dance group in Brazil and is holding an open air concert in this square specially constructed for the Olympic Games last year. Braga has the privilege of selling his burgers in the VIP area. Everyone is still captivated by the samba rhythms and the crooning voice of the singer, João Cavalcanti. Everyone in the square is singing along, Braga too. But then it is time for the break and suddenly the hungry audience flocks to the Carango to order their “Killer” and perhaps the legendary Brazilian Calcidis beer.
Braga brought the idea of the food truck from the USA to Rio. His was one of the first food trucks in the city. 15 years ago, the enthusiastic snowboarder was working as a ski lift assistant in Mammoth Mountains in California. When he returned to Rio he initially opened a restaurant. “But that was extremely hard work for the money and the fixed costs were simply too high. I was feeling dissatisfied at the time and remembered the food trucks. So I tried to establish the concept here in the city.” Successfully: at peak times, the qualified hotel and tourism administrator now sells over 1000 burgers a day – at 25 real each, roughly 7 euros, that is very good business. Menu, beverages, staff and last but not least the choice of vehicle – Leandro Braga has established an extremely professional company and given everything careful consideration.
“I chose the Sprinter because it is simply the most reliable van out there. This makes a lot of sense given that the roads are sometimes in very poor condition and Rio is very hilly. In addition, having a Mercedes come to the party rather than a normal van is an attractive option for my event customers.” The food truck’s design is also strikingly appealing. The Brazilian yellow speaks to the (local) patriotism of the Cariocas – as the city’s inhabitants are referred to. The numbers “55 21” are a key part of the Carango logo, share a similar theme and are cool reference to the telephone prefixes for Brazil and Rio for the mobile Internet generation. The company name also has its own appeal: Carango is a cute slang expression for car. Although the food truck is a full-sized Sprinter, Leandro Braga always thinks of it as his favorite “little car”.
Photos: Carango Food Truck