He knows the best outdoor kitchen in Trutnov. He tasted not only Ukrainian soldiers

Have stocks been exhausted at the beginning of April for the whole season? It can also happen in today’s turbulent times. The Trutnov Adventure Menu company, which specializes in premium travel food, has sent tens of thousands of servings to Ukraine.

This event also corresponds to what the “chefs for adventurers” foresee: real growth. “It just came to our knowledge at that time. We were empty after a week”, the words of company boss Radek Slabý show how special the moment is. First, through the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague, twenty-five pallets traveled to Poland, which the country ordered for the army.

Then the residents of Trutnov started the collection: they offered people the opportunity to donate a two-meal package to Ukrainian soldiers at the front for 113 crowns.

“But something happened that we hadn’t really counted on,” smiles Slabý. The initial plan to choose three thousand servings came true in one day – also because the challenge was shared by personalities such as Anna Geislerová, Vojtěch Dyk or Matěj Ruppert.

“We knew that the company couldn’t afford it on a large scale, because we weren’t even covering the cost of production. But our partners helped us, so we ended up with 15,000 meals,” Slabý calculates. Once shipped, they had to start doing what they had been looking for in the highest quality for eleven years.

Adventure Menu is based on an unconventional concept. You can have their meals anywhere, from the Beskydy mountain ridge to wandering the Romanian mountains to the jungles of Borneo – hot water is enough, and if you use their self-heating capsules, you can pass.

The selection is varied, from Czech classics to specialties with Asian flavors. The ingredients used by the Adventure Menu are fresh, which corresponds to the price: it is usually around two cents and the most expensive dishes with the AM logo cost more than 250 crowns. However, the weak aptly says that if you have a busy day in the rain and mud and at the end a vision of homemade goulash in the middle of nature, the price is always relative.

Last year they recorded a turnover of 20 million crowns in Trutnov. “And important was the positive economic result of about three million crowns. Crucially compared to the past, we are making profits for the first time,” rejoices Slabého. The unexpected “Ukrainian action” has in turn led to an increase in kitchen occupancy from five to ten people.

“We know the season will be difficult, so I’m not afraid to burn it,” Slabý said. He is also aiming for almost twice as much turnover, the plan for 2022 is 35 million crowns – and even that should only be the start. Last year, the company underwent a fundamental transformation, when Ivo Pastorek entered it with the promise of investing tens of millions of crowns.

“We go from punk to professional,” says Slabý. “We’ve been working on the deal for two years now. For me personally, this is a whole new step for the business. Finally, we’re putting one hundred percent of the energy into the product and the business it -even, and we do not solve the inconveniences and existential problems. ”

They already have land in Trutnov, where they are to switch to their own production no later than the beginning of 2025 – the currently rented premises are not sufficient for the expected expansion. If further financial injections are needed, the investor is ready.

Food in the middle of the Omani mountains

“During the entire operation of the company, we overcame many crises – for some, I still do not understand how we really survived. Perhaps even the fact that we always came out of it stronger convinced the investor that it made sense to support the project. Thanks to that, we have an open relationship and I have a lot of freedom to lead the brand where I always wanted,” says Slabý.

He admits it was unusual at first. “It’s true that the first two months I didn’t know what to do with the time,” he smiles. “For ten years I used to do crisis management, suddenly there was money in the account, the turnover increased, everything worked – what am I going to do when there’s nothing to come out? Those fires were forming a blueprint for me, now I had to create it myself.”

However, thanks to the manager’s advice, it soon became clear. The company is professionalizing with a new marketing department and a German export manager, who, by the way, immediately organized an event with the Ukrainian embassy the next day in office despite his old contacts in the government.

“German-speaking countries are a priority for us and for him it’s the internal market. As soon as we start Germany, I’ll send him wherever he wants to go. To France, to Scandinavia,” says Slabý. is a tank. On a plan of 35 million this year, he told me that is very little, but you have to look at production and capacity. We do everything by hand, we can’t triple it overnight. »

You can see their meals on social media not only with company ambassadors, but also with travelers who have simply enjoyed them. In a tent, in a high-level camp, in the jungle – where you will appreciate in a sweaty T-shirt that you have not only dried meat or special foods that are high in calories and tasteless. Such a clientele is and will be the basis.

“We grew up in the outdoors and we will remain a brand for idols, at the same time we want to bring the product closer to ordinary people who like to go out in nature”, says Slabý. “Those who used to go to extremes, but now have kids and are now doing simple day trips.”

Which is, among other things, the legacy of the pandemic. As a new double father, he knows how the Czechs started out of town during the lockdown. The planned product line of children’s meals is related to this trend.

Adventure Menu Manager Radek Slabý

“There is nothing for children on the market and that is a real shame. From our customers you can feel how the food has made their holidays and their times of crisis more enjoyable. We want the children to wait for it impatiently, so that they don’t take it while eating at their mother’s or dad’s, so that they have their food in a backpack, in a nice package, with adapted tastes”, imagines Slabý.

Another novelty is linked to the global trend towards a more sustainable approach to food. “We want to play with experiences. The whole world is surfing on a wave of plant-based meat, it can be a journey, ”admits the head of Adventure Menu, but they are going to try something else: cricket flour from the pioneering company Czech SENS.

“We will have a common brand and replace the main source of protein with cricket meal, without it. Perfect food without compromise is the basis for us and they will show that cricket is not a bad word and that it don’t be afraid of it”, Slabý looks forward to it.

On a larger scale, there are plans for a new building. On the outskirts of Trutnov, a wooden building complete with rooftop solariums and deep boreholes for heat pumps is to be built between the meadows. At the same time, it is not only a reflection of the company’s philosophy, which respects nature – the Adventure Menu also responds to events in the economy.

“With the new building, we are preparing for a possible further rise in energy prices, and we have one of the most energy-efficient food dryers in the world”, describes Slabý. “We try to pre-stock things that will last and will be rare, especially cereal products. But by only taking fresh meat, we are still dependent on the market,” he admits.

In today’s turbulent times, development is difficult to estimate – such as when warehouses were completely emptied after the outbreak of war. In contrast, what they recorded with the onset of the pandemic has yet to be repeated.

“It was clear at the time that the pictures of sold-out supermarket shelves were freaking out and people were obviously buying everything. They didn’t care more or less about what, especially if it was something, it was impulse buying », recalls Slabý from the days of pre-supply.

“It just came to our knowledge at that time. Sometimes someone calls that they want a hundred thousand order for their own use, but these are exceptions, individual cases,” he concludes.

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