If there is a single defining characteristic of today's business environment, it's uncertainty, says Larry Walter, owner and COO of Chicagoland's Tasty Catering. For him, that means finding the middle ground between growth and increased profitability. He's got to keep his business nimble and flexible to pull that off, and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter helps him do that.

"There's a lot of uncertainty out there," he says. "Corporations have a lot of cash, but they're hanging on to it. At the last minute, they may decide to host a Christmas party or some other big event, and as a corporate caterer, I've got to be ready to spring into action. Our Sprinters are great for that."

Saving (and growing) over the long haul

Tasty Catering now has two 2011 and one 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, all Model 2500 High Roof Crew Vans with 144-inch wheelbase. The Sprinters have replaced other vehicles in the fleet over the past two years, resulting in a 73 percent improvement in fleet-wide fuel economy, thanks to their BlueTEC clean diesel engines. Additional customization (see "My Sprinter, My Way") makes Sprinter the perfect vehicle for the rapid response capability now central to Walter's business strategy.

"We've grown some in terms of full-time employees over the past couple of years, and we're holding steady at about $6 million in annual revenues," he relates. "But we've stopped chasing some of the less profitable stuff, so our bottom line keeps getting better. The Sprinters help in that regard, not just through the reduced operating costs and improved versatility they provide -- although those are important -- but also through the image of high quality and outstanding customer service the Mercedes-Benz brand projects for us."

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: My Sprinter, My Way

When a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter leaves the factory floor, it’s already one of the most versatile commercial vehicles available anywhere. But the Sprinter is designed with the success of its owners in mind, and that means making it easy to customize so it best fits your business needs.

"The three most significant things we've done that have contributed to the success of our business were adding a fold-up ramp inside the back door, welding in some E-channel to maximize our securing options, and installing Class V trailer hitches," says Larry Waters, owner and COO of Tasty Catering. The ramp makes delivering to loading docks a breeze, and coupled with the E-channel, it lets Tasty Catering take full advantage of Sprinter's vast cargo space and height. "One guy can roll a 500- or 600-pound stack of food carts into the van and easily secure it," he says. "Add in the hitch for towing the grill, and the Sprinter can do a picnic for 500 people that would have required a 15-foot box truck or even a tractor-trailer in the past."