Where’s The Beef? In Hamilton NOT In Montreal

I love my city, Montreal. It has everything a person can ask for in a city except for one thing: food trucks. Yes, Montreal has culture, history, a great nightlife and an array of great restaurants to dine; however, where can you go to pick up a great italian sausage between business meetings or to satisfied that 3 am craving after “ last call”.  A bylaw in Montreal makes it impossible for the city’s famous smoke meat impossible to buy from street vendors especially at popular outdoor summer tourist spots (i.e. Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs Festival, Osheaga, Les Francofolies) and in front of Central Station. I have my issues with Toronto, however, I have to hand it to the city in terms of making street food accessible. From the moment that you step out from Union Station, you have your selection of food carts to choose from.

Can an economic development case be made for having food trucks in a city?

Is Montreal missing out on a great economic development opportunity based on two outdated arguments? 1) the need to protect restaurants from potential competition and 2) hygiene concerns. Both arguments has its merits; however, it has not prevented many big cities and small towns from letting food trucks park and operate on their respective streets.

One can argue that food trucks are a component of a city’s food industry cluster and can contribute to creating wealth in a city via promoting small business growth. (Please read “Food Trucks: Another Weapon In The Food Cluster Arsenal”). Cities such as Seattle and Boston has recognized the economic benefits of having food trucks on their streets by having a webpage for potential truck owners to obtain more information regarding operating logistics.

Let’s Hear It For Hamilton

A Canadian city that should be highlighted for its support for it food truck sub sector is  the city of Hamilton.   In conjunction with Hamilton Economic Development, The Ottawa Street BIA and Ottawa Street Farmers Market, the city will host the largest Canadian food truck rally, SewHungry on May 4th, 2012. It will be an occasion for Ontario’s best food trucks and six of Ottawa Street’s top restaurants to demonstrate what they do best – cook really GOOD food.

(For truck food junkies, you can participate in SewHungry by simply following the #SewHungry hashtag on Instagram and sharing your food truck pictures at lunch regardless of where you are located around the globe.)

My colleague, Isabelle Poirier will be having a field day at #SewHungry where she will be combining her two ultimate passions: 1) good food and 2) social media. Be sure to follow her field trip on Twitter (@intelegia) and Instagram (search: isabellepoirierintelegia).

Montreal left in the freezer?

It is very hard to imagine that Montreal, the gastronomy capital of North America, not having an avenue (pun intend) for great restaurants, aspiring restaurateurs or great home cooks to offer food to the public via the street. These opportunities are far too good to miss out on to reinforce Montreal’s brand identity of being THE place to go for the best smoked meat in the world.

About The Author:

Ian is a content strategist and the competitive intelligence researcher at Intelegia. With his knowledge of social media tools and an understanding of branding on the web, Ian formulates content marketing strategies for clients’ needs. As co-author of the Canadian Cities Online Marketing Index© and chief blogger at Intelegia, Ian documents and assesses global best practices of organizations’ approaches to social media marketing in terms of integrating their branding and communications strategies to obtain their marketing objectives. Follow Ian on Twitter @citweetz. __________________________________________________________________

About Intelegia

Intelegia is a boutique consulting firm in Montreal, Canada that understands the need to be innovative and strategic in a business landscape that’s evolving at an incredible pace. The firm delivers social media strategies to efficiently engage with stakeholders in economic development, business to business and business to consumer segments. It assists clients by defining and executing sustainable social web strategies that will allow their brand message to stand out in a competitive environment where target audience engagement is a must.

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