Yogurty’s food truck is hard to miss. Like a party on wheels, the hot pink truck is decked out with flashy lights, a sound system and side panels that pop up to reveal the company’s self-serve yogurt dispensers and countless bins full of toppings. The colourful dessert truck hit Toronto streets this summer – kicking off business at the CNE Food Truck Frenzy the same day it arrived in Canada from US manufacturers.
Most folks know Yogurty’s from the jazzy bricks and mortar stores that are popping up everywhere in the GTA. So why the food truck?
“It really is about connecting with our local community,” says Karen Sterling, Yogurty’s VP chief marketing officer. “Our stores are places where families hang out and people go on dates. We open our stores in highly engaged, great communities. And the Yogurty’s food truck can take that same experience into new communities,”
It’s also a natural extension to the company brand, according to Rueben Barkin, Yogurty’s General Manager. Yogurty’s sister-company Yogen-Fruz is more of a food court concept, but Yogurty’s is, according to Barkin, “much more on the street.”
Sterling says the truck has proven to be wildly popular. “It’s that fun factor. It’s the smell of waffles. Being able to operate the machines. The lights and the music. It’s an experience.”
So, was it hard to make the “fro yo to go” truck? In a word: yes. “We design stores all day long,” says Barkin. “But the hard part was taking that traditional store and setting it inside a 24 foot truck. It was complicated: sizing the generator and the cooling system; making sure we had adequate freezer space. We wanted to make sure a minimal staff could operate the vehicle. And, it had to be fun. We wanted to make sure it would have sound and music and lights – the pizazz to attract attention.”
Can we expect to see Yogurty’s working the daily lunch crowds like Toronto’s stalwart food truckers? Sort of. Barkin says they’d like to have more visibility on the street, but, like all Toronto food trucks, they say it’s tricky operating downtown while the city sorts out food truck bylaws. This winter (not exactly the peak season for frozen yogurt), Yogurty’s truck will do some special events, but otherwise won’t have a big presence on the street. In good weather, Barkin says Yogurty’s will be visible around the GTA, at food truck and other community events.
And people outside Toronto should keep their eyes peeled, too. Barkin says response has been so positive that the company is considering opening trucks in Calgary and Quebec and is even open to the idea of having Yogurty’s food trucks operate as franchises in smaller communities.
“We’re absolutely open to it,” says Reuben. “This truck will be the first of many to come.”