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Meet Samuel Caklo of GermanYumTruck in LA and Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samuel Caklo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am the owner of the GermanYumTruck. My food truck serves with German Bratwurst, Döner Kebab (Gyros/Shawarma) &  Falafel a German-Turkish-Mediterranean inspired menu in LA and OC since the summer of 2019. I quit my permanent job after 14 years in 2016 to leave everything in Germany and became a food truck owner in Louisville (Kentucky). After a very good start I had to transfer my business all the way to sunny California in 2018.
I’ve been setting up the GermanYumTruck in 2018 and got approved for Los Angeles and Orange County in 2019.

I was born in Germany by immigrants who came in the early 80’s to that wonderful country due to suppression of Christian minorities and a better future for their kids. I was raised Aramaic paired with German attitudes.

When I visited my brother in 2015 who was working in Louisville, KY for a German employer I cooked up the idea of serving the popular food we missed from Germany for American consumers. So I quit my job after 14 years to launch GERMANY’S #1 Food in 2016 in Louisville, KY.

My dream was always to offer Bratwurst in the United States. When I was in fifth grade in Germany, I dreamed of someday selling bratwurst in America. While my classmates and teachers poked fun at my idea, I turned my childhood dream into reality in 2016. This idea and the passion for food let me leave my homeland Germany. I started my own food truck to bring Germany’s #1 street food onto Louisville’s streets and festivals.

After 1.5 years business was running really good for me in Louisville. However after my brother started a new job in Ontario, California and moved to the west coast in the summer of 2017, I sold my first Food Truck to follow him. Three years later in April 2019 after a lot of hard work I launched the GermanYumTruck to serve and cater in the Los Angeles & Orange County Area. So here I am from Germany over Louisville, KY to Southern California.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The process of migrating into another country with a different culture is in general not smooth at all. I had to leave my comfort zone including family & friends and moved into a new envrionment.

The first challenge is to get a working permit in order to operate a business in the US. So I was working with an immigration lawyer to get my work visa approved.

I had to set up the initial business before I could apply for the visa, without knowing if it will get approved or denied. So I came to the US and had to invest my life savings. It took already 8 months to set up the food truck in Louisville before I had to fly to the US consulate in Frankfurt, Germany.

At this point there was still uncertainty if my work visa would get approved. Fortunately I got my work visa approved after the interview at the US consulate. I’m thankful that I have a great immigration lawyer with Bobby Chung from San Gabriel, CA who is still consulting me with my work visa extensions. As you can see we still have to deal with immigration laws on top of all the business paperworks.

Another big challenge was to transfer the business to sunny California. It took longer than expected due to codes, regulations and plan check guidelines for food trucks in Los Angeles and Orange County.

I was dealing with all these challenges besides of integrating into the culture and learning the language and I can say I love it!

Overall the biggest challenge of all is as I mentioned earlier: being out of my comfort zone and therefore away from family and friends. Family emergencies and special occasions are very difficult to deal with in my situation. This circumstance motivates meto work hard and make a living closer to my loved ones in the future. I couldn’t imagine this adventure without video calls. 🙂

The last challenge I encountered was another big investment and risk to come to SoCal, because I had to leave a popular food truck in good standing. However the LA and OC area have much more competition and a harder work environment than Louisville, KY. I’m aware of this and ready to face it since it comes with more opportunities. Overall I am glad to be in California but Louisville will always have a place in my heart.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about GermanYumTruck – what should we know?
Our food truck is with Döner Kebab & German Bratwurst one of the few places in the US that offers Germany’s two most famous and favored foods! In order to get an idea of our food I would highly recommend to follow @GermanYumTruck on Instagram or to just click on the link www.Instagram.com/GermanYumTruck. We post our location daily. In addition we have our schedule available on our website: www.GermanYumTruck.com/schedule
Our most popular items are the #1 Döner Classic and the #3 Döner Heaven.

We are available for any kind of events as well as caterings. Our new truck is allowing us to work much more efficient than in the past, so we are able to serve fresh food quick at any large event or catering occasion. We cook our food everyday fresh from scratch and use unique seasonings and recipes you won’t find anywhere else. They are authentic, unique and bring exactly the European taste to the US consumer who are missing the Döner Kebab or Currywurst from their German holiday, childhood or military experience…

What makes me most proud and is the most valuable asset of my company are my customers! I love their feedback because it tells me what I can do better and also confirms what I am doing right. Both trucks are 5 Stars rated on Yelp and that’s what I’m proud of. I still see 5 star ratings for my first truck which was taken over by a German family in Louisville.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
– Listen to your customers (negative and positive feedback)
– Being consistent, hard working and never give up!
– Being thankful and stay humble

Pricing:

Regular street food vending menu: www.GermanYumTruck.com/menu

Catering Package 1 group of min. 40: Döner Kebab + Side starts at $10* per Person
Catering Package 2 group of min. 40: Bratwurst + Side starts at $9* per Person
Catering Package 3 group of min. 40: Vegetarian Options + Side starts at $9* per Person
Catering Package 4 group of min. 40: Schnitzel+ Side starts at $13* per Person

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Pictures taken by Nijole Thompson and German Fusion LLC

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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