Customized van helps Caspers Company tell its story and the story of its community

When Dustin Portillo, community relations supervisor for Caspers Company, explored the idea of employing a customized van to provide food at area community events, he knew he wanted a vehicle that would be both inspirational and practical. The van would need to tell the story of Caspers, a longtime, family-run McDonald’s franchisee with locations throughout the Tampa and Jacksonville areas, while being able to provide delicious, warm meals to hundreds of people at a time.

Caspers enlisted EQUIPT Graphics Solutions to design a visual story for the outside of the van and EQUIPT’s Florida-based partner Advanced Work Vans to provide a custom upfit for the inside. The result is a striking vehicle that features compelling images of local community members on its exterior, while its interior is sophisticatedly equipped to provide fresh food service to large events throughout the region. The van, Portillo said, will tell a story everywhere it goes.

“What we’re able to provide because of this van and the great work that EQUIPT and Advanced Work Vans did on it is priceless,” Portillo said. “We’re in the business not just of serving burgers and fries but also of storytelling, and we are telling a powerful visual story with that van. The van really helps us bring to life both our story and the story of our community.”

Caspers Company is a third-generation, family-owned business with deep roots in its communities. Fritz Casper, the founder, opened the very first McDonald’s in Tampa on South Dale Mabry in the spring of 1958. Today, the company is renowned in the region for its people-first culture and dedication to the community.

“We have been a staple of the Tampa Bay area for 63 years, since March 7, 1958, and the reason is our commitment to corporate social responsibility and giving back to our community,” Portillo said. “I firmly believe that that commitment is a big part of why people choose to eat in our restaurants and support us with their business.”

Integral to Caspers’ community engagement efforts is Casper Cares, the company’s dedicated community engagement brand that guides its support for a wide range of causes throughout the Tampa and Jacksonville areas.

“Whenever you see that Casper Cares logo, when you see that branding, you know that there’s good work going on,” Portillo said.

As part of its efforts, Caspers Cares provides food for a host of community events each year in partnership with organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, the City of Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. At those events, Caspers feeds anywhere from 300 to 600 people, meaning its van needs to be able to accommodate a large amount of food and beverages. 

“It was important that we had something that could transport the food from the restaurant environment to an event site while maintaining the quality of the food from point A to point B,” Portillo said.

Portillo said working with EQUIPT and Advanced Work Vans proved seamless and rewarding — a turnkey process that led to an ideal result.

“It was a joy to work with everyone,” Portillo said. “It was such a pleasant experience.”

A collaborative spirit was crucial. Portillo said Caspers brought their ideas to the table, and representatives from EQUIPT and Advanced Work Vans worked to incorporate them and build on them. They made suggestions and asked key strategic questions to help develop a design that would be memorable and productive, inside and out. 

“They were spot on with everything,” Portillo said. “It was a great relationship. The communication was really strong throughout, and they were always on top of everything.”

Portillo said Caspers aimed to represent the focus of their community engagement efforts with the people they elected to feature on the van, including a grinning, resilient young patient from the Children’s Cancer Center, a member of the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Department, and a group of health care workers. Those seeing the van will recognize themselves and the best of their community in it.

“The response has been incredible,” Portillo said. “It’s something different, it’s something unique to our brand, and it screams fun. We think people who see this van traveling down the road or parked at an event site are going to feel a bit happier every time. We wanted the Caspers Cares van to tell the story of who we are and what we do. It’s about showing that we care about our community and the people who live in it. And that’s what this van does.”

Portillo said he is excited to use the van at public events, believing that people “are going to get a big kick out of our roaming billboard.” He said the van will create an unforgettable backdrop at events — one that people will remember and appreciate.


“We’re telling that story whenever people see this van parked at a site for an event,” Portillo said. “They see it and know that there’s really good work happening — and that they’re going to get some delicious food.”