Surprise! Not All Street Food Lotto Winners Ready To Operate


When City Hall trumpeted their list of the lucky 17 who’d won a flawed lottery for spots to sell street food from mobile carts last week, we were concerned as to how many would be ready for prime time and how many had just put their names in the bingo basket for a lark. According to a story in today’s Vancouver Courier (hat tip to reader NW), it turns out that we weren’t alone in our worries.

Claudia Kurzac, acting manager for health protection, doesn’t expect all 17 new food vendors to be operational by July 31, as per the city’s goal. “It sounds like some went into the lottery without even a business plan and don’t even have an actual trailer or cart and would have to manufacture that first, never mind even find a base of operation,” Kurzac said.

Add to that the coastal health inspections and the massive fees the City is charging for parking spaces and licenses, and it looks like the City nabobs may have a problem on their hands. If they aren’t ready, the spots go to alternates (also chosen by lot). If they aren’t ready, well…the City didn’t think that far ahead.

As we’ve argued before, they could have hand selected prospective operators for their long overdue street food pilot project based on business plans and track records, but they insisted on doing it randomly in the absurd name of “fairness” (and meritocracy be damned). While I do have faith that some tasty good will come of this lottery (I’m looking at you, southern BBQ), what I’m really hoping for is that Grant Woff, acting manager of No Fun City street administration (and the fellow who backed the lotto), takes a few private moments at his desk with his palm on his forehead…

  • WCVR

    No surprise. Give back the licenses for those that can’t make the July 31st deadline (or haven’t even started the licensing process) and hold an open tasting event judged by our local @foodists.

    Or, we can just all enjoy the gourmet, authentic, cold, street vendor lemonade.

  • McTee

    It never ceases to amaze how they can take something with so much potential and turn it into a disaster..

  • Jonathan Ross

    > they could have hand selected prospective operators for their long overdue
    > street food pilot project based on business plans and track records

    and how many Vision Vancouver supporters would have gotten the inside track on hand selection?

    The reason they did a lottery is because anything would have been accused ot tampering or favouritism.

    The lottery idea was sound, but there should have been requirements to *enter* the lottery.

    I’d, personally, hope for a double face palm. Gregor & Grant.

  • WCVR

    >The reason they did a lottery is because anything would have been accused ot tampering or favouritism.

    How hard would it have been to do a tasting with non-government recognized critics/tasters? We have more than an ample supply of those in Vancouver. The lottery was just laziness, in my opinion.

  • Neil Wyles

    The lottery was out of sheer laziness.

    If they had posted something about this, there would have been a line-up of food tasters.

    ” you had me at FREE”

  • http://@reupbbq Michael Kaisaris

    The Re-Up (aforementioned Southern BBQ) is happy to have been given the chance to sell our package on Hornby at Georgia, but as business people among the readers (Neil) among you can imagine, you don’t get a small business loan on: ” I applied for a lotto,” before the draw. We are scrambling as you might imagine, but we’ll make it.

    A lottery is not a great way to select interesting food, especially given that licenses will extend to perpetuity if renewed yearly (the licensing department informs me), but it has been done, and more will be released in a few months, and in that lotto, let the stars among us apply. In fact, lets help them apply.

    Scout readers should hold a private event, where those desiring licenses can showcase their wares to the community, and the community can make a commitment to applying for licenses on behalf of the victors.

    If everyone in attendance at the event applied ($150 for three spots) and then contracted their favorite vendor at the event to operate their locations when they win, we could ensure a better mix of vendors in the next round.

    The selections were not made for the foodies among us. They were made because in a raffle there can be no accusations of unfairness (Jonathan Ross).

    We will be permitted by the 30th as required. We have sourced a cart, and commissary, and commercial smoker. But for the next round of draws (April from what I hear), lets stack the deck. The Re-Up can deal with competition.


    no wonder I couldn’t find any of this locations with the foods… wooow… and I hope the southern BBQ will do well and best of luck to you guys, now the question is… what will happen to the ppl who doesn’t have any idea of what they will do with the spot they won… will they try to sell them to the someone else for the spot they won withe the luck so they can sit on a FREE MONEY WITH SOMEONEELSE’s BUSINESS? or will CITY TAKE IT BACK? hmmm

  • Alex

    >The lottery idea was sound

    You should be a comedian.

  • Neil Wyles


    Congrats on the spot and being able to meet the deadline.

    I think the whole situation is somewhat unrealistic given the timeline, lottery, hoops to jump through etc. The very fact that you will be ready is admirable. I am not down on street food but I think that this is a situation that has been set up to lose.

    I do not think everyone is going to be so lucky as you. They will not be ready to go for one reason or another. Given the short timeline, financing is not available unless you have something big to put up as a deposit. Getting a food cart custom made will be difficult as there are only a few people able to make them. Some of the concepts might not fly or have not been thought out as much as they should have. Some of the people are uncertain about all of the rules etc.

    Having done a large street tent during the Olympics, I can appreciate the difficulties, and I was 30 feet from my restaurant door. I cannot imagine having you back-up product on the other side of the city etc.

    Does this whole thing reek of being slapped together by a City staffer without any real thought into how the final picture looked? Yup.

    BTW, I do not think the licences will roll over each year without some sort of review process. This early in the game, these will not be “forever” licences. This might be part of the rush of 800 to get one, thinking it was a commodity, to be bought and sold. They will be one year renewable terms, based on good behavior and being a good neighbour and foodsafe establishment.

    Anyhoo, good luck and I am looking forward to some good BBQ,



  • David Duprey

    i posted on an earlier thread about this. im one of the winners who will have his cart up and running in the next 2 weeks.

    It is looking like most of the vendors will not be up in time. i think due to the hype of this lottery there were a lot of applicants who entered just for the hell of it. the city was expecting only 100 applications and they got 800. I agree now that the city should have done a bit of vetting to insure that applicants had the ability to pull this off. applicants having to submit a business plan or show an exsisting cart/restaurant would have made all the difference. its a shame but look at it this way, we now have food on the street other then hot dogs. this mess will work its self out it will just take a year or two. welcome to vancouver!

    ON the upside roaming dragon pan asian is up and operating at kits beach. every one should go and check them out!

  • CouCou

    Could you please explain to me how the first cart to be ready to go (and the only one…), namely Roaming Dragon, is one that hasn’t been chosen at the lottery !?!?

    (as a refresher:

    Now the whole thing is just a big joke !!
    How many other “lucky” winners will sale their spot to others that are qualified to run one ?!
    Is this what you call fairness ?!