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Report: High costs and bureaucracy threaten local food trucks

$50-million sector delivers key economic, social and environmental benefits

July 28, 2015, Vancouver, BC – Although 44 per cent of Metro Vancouver and Victoria residents have eaten at a food truck in the last year, the local industry is struggling and has nearly reached an estimated 80-per-cent turnover of vendors, says a new report by Vancity credit union.

The report, Keep on Food Trucking: Supporting the mobile food service industry in Metro Vancouver and Victoria, found that while consumers enjoy the growing food truck phenomenon and most municipalities see the benefits of the industry, food trucks face many challenges with regulations, licensing and cost structure that hinder their profitability and success.

The report found:

  • There are an estimated 305 food trucks in Metro Vancouver and Victoria with annual revenue of roughly $50 million.
  • The three health regions in Metro Vancouver and Victoria have seen a 40-per-cent increase in health permits to all types of mobile food vendors during the last five years.
  • Food trucks are growing the overall market value of the food service industry—almost 40 per cent of food truck customers would have either eaten at home (28.7 per cent) or skipped the meal completely (10.7 per cent) had they not eaten at a food truck.
  • The average profit for B.C. mobile food service businesses is only $31,300 and 29 per cent are not profitable.

Along with providing recommendations for food truck entrepreneurs and customers, the report stresses the need for municipalities to take action. To foster a thriving food truck industry, municipalities need to reasonably address the competitive threat to local restaurants, extend mobile business licensing to mobile food vendors, be fair and reasonable about locations, and address the need for commissary kitchen space.

Vancity is committed to redefining wealth and building healthy communities for its members. To support growth in the local economy, Vancity actively invests in entrepreneurs to help them build successful small businesses. Vancity is the presenting sponsor of food cart festivals in Vancouver, Surrey and New Westminster.


If we want to enjoy the benefits of a thriving food truck industry, like more tourism, community vibrancy and support of local food producers, we need to make sure there's an enabling environment in place to support it. Catherine Ludgate, community investment manager at Vancity
There is an unfounded belief that food trucks are making money hand over fist, but in reality it is more hand to mouth for many operators. Successful trucks operate like a restaurant with a good concept, consistent operational hours and a management team with strong hospitality experience. Steve Ewing, Yolk's founder and StreetFood Vancouver Society president

Additional information:

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 509,000 member-owners and their communities through 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. As Canada’s largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $18.6 billion in assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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For more information:

Lorraine Wilson | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394


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