Food Trucks FAQs
This FAQ page is intended to answer a lot of the common questions we receive from readers of the site. We hope this helps you in your quest for food truck glory.
What exactly is MTL food trucks?
We’re all about the Montreal food truck scene. Our goal is to promote a vibrant and sustainable food truck culture in this city by listing all the local trucks, food truck locations and keeping everyone informed of the latest food truck news and events. In addition to this web site we also have an Android and iPhone app and are active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
How does a truck get listed on this site?
If you own a truck and aren’t already listed, please contact us and we’ll make arrangements to have you added as soon as possible.
I’m thinking of starting my own food truck. Are there restrictions on what type of food I can sell?
Yes, the Association des Restaurateurs de Rue du Québec (ARRQ) has a mandate to showcase culinary diversity and freshness and has final say on what types of foods can be sold by local food trucks. Pre-packaged and mass-produced food is not allowed, nor are already ubiquitous offerings such as hot dogs, popcorn, packaged ice cream and yogurt, bulk or packaged nuts, whole fruits or vegetables. Also, food cannot be sold in styrofoam containers.
Where can food trucks park?
Locations are subject to change. See this post for the current list.
Can food trucks operate in Montreal year-round?
Most trucks shut down for the winter but some trucks can get year-round, annual permits for a select number of locations including Concordia University, Quartier de la Santé, Cité du Multimedia, Dorchester Square and Square Victoria.
Can anyone start a food truck?
Not exactly. You need to first obtain a permit and become a member of the ARRQ which has an annual cost of $1,500 for the region of Montreal of $1,000 for other regions in Quebec. Also, each potential food truck will be evaluated by a jury put together by the ARRQ and will have an audition during which they present their truck concept and offerings. Food trucks are also judged by their external, aesthetic appeal.
What sort of licenses and permits do I need?
There’s quite a bit of paperwork you’ll need to do before you get your truck up and running in Montreal. Here’s a list of things to start with:
- A business license from the city.
- A proof business incorporation.
- A valid restaurant license from the MAPAQ.
- A restaurant license from the City of Montreal for the truck.
- A restaurant license from the City of Montreal for the production kitchen (if in Montreal).
- Proof of ownership or rental of the production kitchen.
- Registration for the vehicle emitted by the SAAQ.
What sort of insurance do I need?
You must get liability insurance with a $2 million minimum and that conforms to the location’s requirements.
What kind of generators should be used for food trucks?
As the generators will need to be used for extended periods of time, food truck vendors recommend Onan or Generac generators as they are silent (very important), high watt generators that are equipped to run continuously. Please note that there is a maximum allowed sound pressure of 80 dBA measured 1.5 m from the truck. The generator must be attached to the truck by an approved support system and must not be accessible to the public or installed inside the truck.
Approximately how much does retrofitting a food truck cost?
Trucks can be retrofitted for anywhere between $30,000-$50,000 before appliances which will be additional.
What other tips do you have for me?
- Don’t get into the industry looking for a cheap, used Purolator truck. Instead, look for something that’s between $15k-20k, or else you’ll be spending more time and money repairing it than operating on the streets.
- Anticipate paying 15%-20% of sales to event organizers in fees.
- Consider diesel trucks vs. gas trucks when purchasing. Diesel trucks are more expensive up front but will typically last longer and use less fuel.
- Food truck owners need to undergo a minimum training about how to handle food as stipulated by the MAPAQ (between $100 and $200)