What’s the secret sauce to successful entrepreneurship in Japan? For Marc Luetten, 30, and Christopher Ax, 34, the founders of the 39-store German restaurant chain Schmatz, it began with selling sausages out of a truck.
They first met growing up on the same street in Hamburg and later met up again in New York while working in the venture capital industry in their 20s. Speaking to The Japan Times, Luetten recalls that they were both passionate about food and Japan, a country he had lived in for six months as a student, so they thought, “Why don’t we start a German sausage and beer food truck in Tokyo?”
Within two weeks — and with limited resources — they quit their jobs and relocated to Tokyo. Upon arrival, they bought some air mattresses at Don Quixote and were fortunate to be able to move into a friend’s Nakameguro warehouse, rent-free. They bought a used food truck off of the online classifieds site Craigslist, which they then sanded and painted themselves.