Montreal is making changes to revitalize its food truck program
The city is making changes to its food truck program in an attempt to revitalize an industry that's been on the decline – but if you were hoping to get a $2 hotdog off the street, think again.
In the Ville-Marie borough, the focus will be on food truck gatherings organized by the Association of Quebec food Truck Vendors, rather than on isolated fixed sites.
“The idea is to have more variety and also propose a different kind of offer,” said Gaelle Cerf, president of the organization. “Having just one truck in one spot is not as interesting as having a mobile food court come to you.”
Cerf hopes it will lead to higher revenues and more trucks operating downtown.
Annie Clavette, who operates a schnitzel food truck with Le Gras Dur is in favour of the new plan.
“For us, it's going to be easier to make sure that we secure the revenue and go outside with our trucks and make sure we have people who come to the trucks,” she said.
For her, business hasn't been great at city designated sites. she believes the new plan is a good first step to encourage food trucks to come back to the city's streets.
“Last year we didn't go that much in the city because more of our trucks were at corporate events and also we didn't have that many people that were coming to the site,” she said.
She’s not alone.
Last summer, Montreal food trucks earned less than 30 per cent of their revenues from operating at city sites, having more success at festivals and private events.
What's more, the number of trucks has dropped from 35 in 2015 to just 21 permit holders last year.
The city still isn't budging on the type of food that trucks can sell, though.
Unlike Toronto, Montreal won't be seeing hot dog vendors or cheaper street food options any time soon.
“When the city invests in this kind of industry, we have to be sure to invest in a great quality of food,” said city councillor Robert Beaudry.
“The surveys we did amongst our clientele were people that were asking for more Asian food and healthy vegetarian/vegan trucks,” she said.
The survey, though, only questioned people who already use food trucks – as in, people already willing to pay top dollar for lunch from a food truck.