How to Start a Food Truck Business in Canada

Are you a foodie extraordinaire who has always wanted to start a food truck business in Canada but has no idea where to begin? Applying for a business visa for Canadian immigration through the Start-up Visa Program will not only allow you to bring your dreams to life but will also give you and your family Canadian permanent residence.    

Canada’s food truck and street vendor industry is thriving, and according to Ibis World, Canada’s street vendor industry is currently worth $325 million, with approximately 2,093 businesses creating 2,483 jobs in the sector. This includes:  

  • Traditional street vendors;
  • Mobile food preparation vehicles(food trucks);
  • Industrial catering vehicles;
  • As well as others, such as mobile snack and refreshment stands, coffee carts, ice-cream truck vendors, and nonalcoholic beverage stands, to name a few.

Despite a decline in the expected growth of the food truck industry since the pandemic, the market forecast trends have projected that there will be a 0.2% increase in 2020, which is expected to climb over the next 5 years as the domestic economy recovers from the effects of current pandemic. With new procedures that need to be put in place in the food-service industry, running a food truck business could be a smarter business investment as you won't be affected in the same ways that a restaurant may be due to social distancing requirements, not to mention lower overheads. 

Based on the Government financial performance reports of the mobile food-service sector in 2018, food truck businesses can expect an average revenue of over $155,000 per annum with a start-up cost of around $40,000 and $200,00. This means that with a good business plan and the right product and location, you could be pulling in a clear profit as early as your second year. 

Canada immigration aims to invite over 1 million immigrants by 2022, with 700 to 1,500 spots reserved for business immigration to Canada every year, you could be serving up delectable cuisine from your food truck business in Canada this time next!

To set you on the right immigration pathway, we’ve compiled some top tips on how to start a food truck business in Canada in just 8 simple steps. 

8 Key Ingredients to Starting a Successful Food Truck Business in Canada

burger on food truck counter | business immigration to Canada

Starting a business in Canada is no easy feat, but with these top tips, you’ll be hitting the streets with your food truck in no time. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's look at the key to any successful business, which is to be prepared and have a solid plan of action before you start the process of applying for a business visa for Canada immigration. 

Business Plan of Action
1. Do Your Research
2. Marketing
3. Business Plan
4. Licenses and Registrations
5. Finance
6. Source Suppliers
7. Insurance
8. Outfit your Truck

1. Do Your Research

As with any successful business venture, it is important to do your market research as poor planning could mean the difference between running a successful or unsuccessful food truck business in Canada. There are many things to consider, which may affect your business, including: 

  • Location. Location. Location. - Customers should be able to locate you easily in a regular place.
  • Affordable and reliable product suppliers;
  • Local laws and regulations;
  • Hidden costs such as your license, liability insurance, fuel, event-related costs;
  • Networking - Your competition is also one of your best resources. One of the best ways to learn anything is through experience, whether it's yours or someone else's.

2. Marketing

online-marketing-on-cellphone-brown-framed-eyeglasses-coffee-cup-plant-and-keyboard-on-desk | business immigration to Canada

Marketing is an essential part of a successful business. Your food truck is not only a venue to serve your customers but also to draw in new ones. When used effectively, your food truck can also essentially be a mobile advertisement so it’s important to consider all aspects of your marketing strategy. Social media has also become a very powerful form of modern marketing strategies, as you’ll have a greater reach and is also much more affordable than traditional forms of marketing. The following factors are important concepts when choosing marketing strategies for your food truck business:

  • Name and concept - this needs to communicate what your product is as well as your brand vision.
  • Logo Design - this is something that you really shouldn’t do on the cheap. Although there are free apps available it has its limitations. Do yourself a favour and hire a professional designer.
  • Design Your Menu Board - try not to overcomplicate your menu board. It should be easy to read, catch the eye and convey the most important information: what you are serving and how much it costs. 
  • Social Media - To start out with, use digital resources. Facebook and Instagram will be one of your most powerful forms of social media marketing communication. In order to establish a more established business

3. Business Plan

business-plan-with-pen-i-pad-and-coffee-cup | business immigration to Canada

Having a business plan is not only extremely important when it comes to starting a successful business in Canada but is also a requirement of the Start-up Visa Program. It is also a prerequisite when applying for funding from prospective investors, which is another part of the process of applying for a business visa for Canadian immigration. 

Your business plan should contain the following:

  • Business description;
  • Market analysis;
  • Organization and management;
  • Product line;
  • Marketing plan;
  • Funding request and proposal; and
  • Financial projections.

4. Licenses and Registrations

business licenses folders | business immigration to Canada

Canada has various regulations and policies when it comes to starting a business and having a license is just one of them. You will also need a food service permit as well as additional permits depending on which province or territory you choose to immigrate to in Canada. Be sure to research this prior to your visa application. Examples of some of the additional licenses and permits that you may also require includes:  

  • Parking permit;
  • GST/HST account;
  • Taxes - this includes both federal and provincial/territorial taxes;
  • Reporting gratuities;
  • Food safety - the same health and safety regulations that apply to a restaurant business will apply to your food truck business. Your employees will need food safety training and you will also need to abide by the heightened hygiene and safety measures due to COVID-19 regulations.

5. Finance

business-professionals-analysing-business-data-in-meeting | business immigration to Canada

The start-up costs of your new food truck business in Canada can range anywhere between $40,000 to $200,000 depending on where you decide to set-up-shop and if you plan to buy or lease your food truck. Also remember that you will need to account for one-off expenses and recurring expenses, such as the cost of outfitting your food truck. 

Funding options to consider for first-time business owners include:

  • Equipment loans;
  • Business credit cards;
  • Personal loans;
  • Microloans;
  • Investors;
  • Crowdfunding; or
  • Leasing a truck.

Please note that when you apply for a business visa for Canada immigration through the Start-up Visa Program you will need a net worth of at least $300,000 to be considered eligible.  

6. Source Suppliers

local farmer selling fresh produce | business immigration to Canada

Most food businesses are focusing on farm-to-table menus and sourcing local produce. This not only allows you to support local businesses in Canada but also to create a seasonal menu based on what is available to you reduces the risk of running out of supplies and potentially missing out on sales or disappointing your customers.    

7. Insurance

are you covered torn paper insurance concept | business immigration to Canada

The average price of purchasing a food truck ranges between $3,250 to $200,000 (including retrofitting and wrapping) This is a huge chunk of your startup capital and it, therefore, makes sense to secure your investment with a good insurance plan that covers not only damage, injury or loss but the loss of wages and income too. 

8. Outfit your Truck

contactless payment with phone and card machine | business immigration to Canada

Besides kitting out your truck with the best appliances you will also need a point-of-sale (POS) system to ensure that you can accommodate credit card sales as well as contactless payments options. It may be a good idea to select a POS that is able to run offline so that you are not affected by your WIFI connectivity. Other items include a generator as well as safety items such as fire extinguishers.

What is the Start-up Visa?

beautiful female chef in food truck serving hotdogs | business immigration to Canada

The Start-Up Visa allows foreign immigrants to start a business anywhere in Canada. Before you start to apply for a business visa for Canada immigration, you need to make sure that you are able to meet the minimum requirements. Below are some of the requirements for business immigration to Canada through the Start-up Visa Program:

Start-up Visa Requirements
Have a qualifying business
  • Each applicant must hold 10% or more of the voting rights attached to shares of a corporation (maximum of 5 co-owners can apply); and
  • owners and the designated organization must jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to shares of a corporation
  • When you receive permanent residence you must
  • actively be managing your business in Canada
  • part of the essential operation must occur in Canada; and
  • your business must be incorporated in Canada.
Letter of support from a designated organization
Meet language requirements -a minimum of CLB5 in English or French
Have sufficient settlement funds - $12,960 to $34,299 CAD (depending on the size of your family) + $3,492 per additional family member if more than 7 people

Processing Times

Although a business visa can take anywhere from 12 to 16 months to process, you can apply for a temporary work permit while you wait for your permanent residence application to be finalized. This means that you will be able to get your business off the ground while you wait for your application to be processed.  

Ready to start your business immigration to Canada? Let us help you by starting with an eligibility assessment.

How We Can Help With Your Canada Visa Application

fish and chips food truck | business immigration to Canada

With all these Canadian immigration options and information at your fingertips, it is understandable that you may feel overwhelmed by the visa application process. But with, our experienced Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) know exactly what it takes to get your visa approved and are ready to assist you on your journey. We take you through the process step by step and will not only verify all documentation but will submit them for you.   

Join the thousands of successful immigrant business owners who have already set up shop and can now call Canada home. Simply contact us today for your assessment and take the first step in making your dreams of starting your new business venture in Canada a reality.