“Our clients are people who work in banks and offices, travelling salesmen and local residents,” Bascuñán said. “It’s a mixture of everyone in the town.”
During the recent Copa América some customers stayed indoors to watch games and ordered take-outs from the truck’s delivery service, he added.
On crusty white bread, the “Diego Armando” ingredients are barbecued beef, avocado, tomato and mayonnaise. “King Arturo” Vidal features a different cut of meat. The “Phenomenon Ronaldo” -- named after the former Brazil striker – is among the other big sellers. It is made of beef, cheese, mushrooms and comes with a side dish of fried potatoes.
Other players on the menu include hard-tackling defensive midfielder Gary “Pitbull” Medel and playmaker Luis Antonio “the Wizard” Jimenez.
When he drew up the menu, Bascuñan tried to align the sandwiches with the players. The no-nonsense Medel sandwich is made of just beef and cheese. The Jimenez one made from Italian pulled beef because he played in Italy’s Serie A for several seasons.
“I am really pleased with how it’s going, and I think it’s a good example to other players”— de Hugo Bascuñán
Bascuñán first began thinking about life after football four years ago when he attended a personal development course organized by Chilean player union SIFUP.
“It opened my mind to do other things outside football,” he said.
After he spoke to a former teammate who had his own food truck he was inspired to do the same. When in the last off-season he was between clubs, he decided to go for it and buy the food truck.
Now, at the age of 36, Bascuñán is still a professional footballer for San Antonio and is studying to become a coach. However, while he can’t be managing the food truck all the time, he takes care to keep an eye on business. It helps that it is parked on the street where he lives.
After training in the morning, he chats to customers, supervises the shift changeover in the middle of the afternoon and plans for the days ahead. He is looking at adding a seating terrace on the 8-metre-long roof of the truck.
“I am really pleased with how it’s going, and I think it’s a good example to other players,” Bascuñán said. “It has inspired my teammates to do something different themselves. They have been talking to me about their own business ideas.”