Food trucks are back in the news in Canada, as recent reports suggest that the City of Toronto is prepared to again consider the issue of permitting these vendors on public property. Food trucks are the latest rage in the fast-food industry. They offer customers a specialized menu, avoid the traditional cost of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and can help get a franchise’s brand out in public eye.

Distinctive food businesses for donkey years have created interest among the public, so it should come as no surprise that there are already line-ups of prospective franchisees ‘kicking the tires’ of these mobile-restaurant concepts.

A food truck is more or less equivalent to the ‘back of house’ of a restaurant, plus a service counter. Therefore, designing the interior of the vehicle for restaurant-like operational efficiency and complying with health department codes can be daunting. Howbeit, specialized companies have grown to the challenge of custom-designing and developing trucks for food service. They have figured out how to build efficient mobile restaurants.

Advantages of Buying a Food Truck Franchise in Canada

There are several reasons food trucks are gaining popularity across North America today. First, they are a short-term solution to the problem that arises in markets where restaurant customers outnumber seats in local restaurants. Secondly, they offer a way for QSR chains to expand when they run out of brick-and-mortar locations.

Also, a food truck can start the day in one location and visit several more before night time, reaching consumers in areas where no restaurants are even in sight. Customers do not seem to mind having to stand and eat, trading their table and chair for the convenience of eating on the run. In particular, curb side food appeals to the 18- to 25-year-old grab-and-go generation.

Another benefit of food trucks is their role in marketing. For a franchise system, they serve as mobile billboards as they drive from one location to another. Today’s truck wraps include durable graphics, which ensure the message does not soon look worn and faded.

Mobile food preparation is, indeed, not even a new concept. North America’s settlers were known to use chuck wagon to carry provisions and prepare meals. They could be considered the forerunners to food trucks. Decades ago, what tends to come to mind when you hear ‘food truck’ was a ratty old clunker serving fare not fit to eat. Fast-forwarding to today, it is all the more surprising to see the impressive range of gourmet food trucks on Canadian roads.

However, always remember that putting a successful food truck on the road still entails many challenges for the franchisor and franchisee, including the development of a menu. Whether it focuses on traditional fast foods or gourmet fare, the extensive menus typical in restaurants may need to be substantially simplified.

Starting and running a food truck may look simple, but there are lots of operational issues to consider, including where to store supplies, where and how to train new employees, and how best to handle food preparation. In addition, most cities in Canada highly regulate food trucks, requiring special licenses and permits. It is not legal to simply pull over to the side of the road and start serving food.

Given how these logistics can become challenging for the operator of a truck, the business lends itself well to franchising, where a support and training program can be put into place to prepare franchisees and manage issues as they arise. Here are the top food truck franchise opportunities in Canada.

What Food Truck Franchise Opportunities Exist in Canada?

  1. Carvel

Carvel is known to distribute its line of ice cream, cakes, pies, and other treats in stadiums, club stores, and supermarkets. In 1934 Tom Carvel opened his first ice cream shop in Hartsdale, New York. The company has operated retail stores selling ice cream and other frozen desserts and has granted franchises for these stores since 1947. As of 2018, Carvel operates more than 400 franchise and food service locations in more than 20 states and over 10 countries.

  1. Kona Ice

This is a mobile, Hawaiian-style shaved ice truck franchise based in Florence, Kentucky. The company was founded by Tony Lamb in 2007. Lamb is Kona Ice’s CEO. It was named one of the fastest growing franchises in the United States. As of March 2015, the company had more than 600 franchise locations in 3 countries.

Customers can customize their shaved ice with the Flavorwave, a patented flavor dispenser built into the side of the truck. Kona Ice shaved ice contains 60 percent less sugar than regular sugar water snow cones and can be made of 100 percent fruit juice in participating locations.

  1. Cafe2U

This is the global and leading mobile coffee franchise system, delivering fresh espresso coffee and great food to businesses, events, and functions. Cafe2U is a member of the British Franchise Association and has over 85 franchisees in the UK.

Cafe2U was launched in the UK by managing director Tom Acland in 2004. Tom first experienced Cafe2U when he was working in Australia between 2000 and 2004, and became a customer of one of the very first Cafe2U vans.

  1. Lazymeal

Lazymeal is an online food marketplace featuring high quality photos established in Vancouver BC, serving consumers, offices, and local restaurants. Lazymeal‘s goal is to provide an online food ordering experience that is second to none. Eating is a daily event for everyone. As the company’s business owner, you’ll build and foster relationships with local businesses.

The App and team at Lazymeal look after the day to day details. No need to worry about managing customer service, website maintenance, or technical support. The platform is a game changer, offering more delivery options and better efficiency for both merchants and users. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Today’s food trucks are simply the next step in this evolution of fast-food convenience, serving customers arriving at the pickup window by foot or by car. If they can produce sales and profits on par with fixed-location restaurants, then they can be expected to become a permanent part of Canada’s fast-food culture and, therefore, a strong franchising commodity for years to come.

Ajaero Tony Martins