By David Larkins | Winnipeg Sun
A new smartphone technology is helping put Winnipeg food trucks on the map.
Winnipeg is the third city targeted by the Saskatchewan-based start-up Snack Map, a GPS-driven app that allows users to find where and when their favourite food trucks will be set up on any given day.
Currently nine Winnipeg operators have bought in to the idea, paying a refundable $250 deposit and $15 per month fee.
Users can log onto snackmap.com, or download the app to their smartphone, and a list of Winnipeg food trucks will appear showing their location, their hours of operation and what payment methods are offered.
Snack Map has found success in Saskatoon and Regina, where about 30 different operators combined have bought in to the service.
“(Winnipeg has) such a great food truck scene and food truck culture that we reached out to a lot of the owners to ask them what their thoughts were and drum up some interest,” Snack Map’s Kit Hillis said. “That was the start of our journey … and they couldn’t wait to be on board with Snack Map. It was such a positive response.”
Lead developer Evan Taylor said the idea sprung to mind in 2014 when finding food trucks in the upstart Saskatoon market proved challenging.
“We found it was hard to figure out how to find these food trucks when they were out, and the only way you could possibly do that is maybe through their Twitter account, maybe a Facebook post,” he said. “We saw a real need and we thought someone should just make an app where you can see where the food trucks are, and we figured why don’t we just do that? We launched into it as a side project and it’s really taken off.”
Derek Collins, who operates the Poutine King in Winnipeg, was one of the first to support the idea locally and has lobbied other owners on Snack Map’s behalf.
“It gets us closer to our customers … I think at the beginning we won’t see a big difference in our business, but the more that we grow and the more food trucks that have it and more people that see, you build a customer base and data base, then we’ll start seeing a difference. It’s like anything, you start at the bottom and keep building,” said Collins.
WHO’S ON BOARD
The Winnipeg food trucks to be found on Snack Map:
-The Poutine King
-The Red Ember
-The Churro Stop
-Little Bones Wings