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Winter…is no longer coming.

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There’s an new kind of energy in Vancouver’s air this week…Have you noticed it? Have you breathed it in? There’s a new kind of bounce in our step and a cheeriness in our spirit.

Perhaps it’s the hint of sakura blossoms tickling our noses?
Perhaps it’s the sunshine teasing us through the clouds?
One thing’s for sure: it ain’t the Canucks making the playoffs. Oop. Too soon?

Brace yourselves – I’ll tell you what’s in the air. It’s the beautiful scent of fresh grilled cheese sandwiches, popcorn chicken, and West Coast smoked salmon that’s got the city a-buzz.

FOOD TRUCK SEASON IS BACK!

That’s right folks, our award-winning World’s Best Food Truck tour is back on the streets, showcasing the best and brightest of Vancouver’s multicultural food scene! If you’re ready to cut the lines, hear the backstories, and food-truck-food-crawl, join our tour here! You’ll know it’s us by spotting the bright red t-shirts!

VFT's Foodie Monk - Andrew - Spreading some butter chicken joy!

VFT’s Foodie Monk – Andrew – Spreading some butter chicken joy!

It’s been a long (and oddly cold) season of indoor eating, so there’s no doubt that foodies all over town are eager for “sunny season” to commence. Turns out, we aren’t the only ones. The food trucks in Vancouver braved drastic weather and significant legal amendments during the winter season. Because Vancouver’s food truck scene is relatively new, it’s a fiercely competitive market that is quick to change. So which trucks have held their ground and how did they do it? We discovered a few survival tricks that have brought success to our favourite Vancouver food trucks:

To survive the harsh winter months…

1) Create a menu that’s desired when the weather turns cold
(See: Mom’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Soho Road’s Butter Chicken Naan Kebab) These are items people  crave on rainy days and they will even get a little wet to obtain it. No rain, no gain, right?!

2) Keep the menus simple
Perfecting a handful of items is an effective way to manage food truck logistics. Simplicity streamlines operations, ingredient sourcing, and maximizes efficient preparation with limited space. Customers have a greater sense of urgency when they’re shivering from the cold;  food trucks that commit 100% of their focus to what they do best deliver on taste and timing. (See: $2.85 Burger)

3) Attract the office crowd
Apparently, we’re the bread and butter of their business. (Awwww, shucks!) I recently came across the marketing segmentation term, “Easily Enchanted.” This term refers to consumers who intend to buy something specific but, almost always, buy more/shop longer than they meant to. Though I’m unashamed to say that I fall into this category, generally speaking, most office people do not – especially, when it comes to food. Finding a way to become “a staple” in an office crowds’ diet is a difficult, but lucrative task. (See: Kaboom Box’s Smoked Salmon Sandwich)
vft-011

4) Win catering gigs
Vancouver’s rainy climate and premium real estate make it almost impossible for Vancouver food trucks to survive on street business alone. Servicing corporate events have become a means for supplemental income, especially during the winter months. When your favourite street food gets delivered to your desk, you’ll realize it’s a serious win-win for all!

5) Location, location, location
It’s real estate, baby! Location is key and will make or break your business. (See: Soho Road, who, once upon a time, won “first pick” of Vancouver food truck locations and thrives on the corner of W Georgia and Granville Street.) In the last few months, a few savvy food carts have made friends with the local breweries, parking their trucks at the breweries’ entrances. Because Vancouver breweries are not permitted to sell food, another symbiotic relationship has blossomed in the foodie scene!

Winter…is no longer coming. The battle was long, tough, and dreary. But alas, there is hope, and it pays ridiculous parking rates, just like you and me. Here’s to another glorious season of sunshine, stories, and the world’s best street eats! Catch you at the trucks, foodies!
Joyce Chua

About Joyce Chua

I’m fascinated by food and its impact on culture, especially in an increasingly globalized world. I love how Vancouver’s multicultural food scene opens doors to history, culture, and understanding. Here’s to a life of eating and learning!

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