Around this time last year, if you have not gone to any festival during the month of May, you sure were planning to go to the next ones. That is how the Filipino community has anticipated the annual food festival Food Trip as they offer, not one but 3 food fests during the summer season.
Sadly this year, Food Trip is one of the festivals that posted cancellation.
While most organizers re-scheduled events and food businesses switched to delivery and pick up system, Food Trip organizer Lourdes Federis, saw an opportunity to continue supporting local small businesses and at the same time bring the Food Trip Festival to the community.
“I’ve heard a lot about the shared kitchen, the ghost kitchen concept since last year and it was very interesting for me and when COVID-19 hits, that’s when I thought, this is a perfect concept.”
Ghost or Cloud kitchens are licensed commercial facilities that are built to produce food specifically for delivery. Federis shared that this is not a new concept outside Winnipeg. This concept has been adapted in Toronto and Vancouver and all over India, Philippines and many other countries. It is definitely a growing, billion-dollar industry.
ADAPTING THE FOOD TRIP NAME
Located at 1045 St James St, Food Trip Kitchen occupies a formerly Filipino-owned restaurant. They opened last May 1st. The operation went on officially and so was their name and brand, Food Trip Kitchen.
“The business concept is like pretty much Food Trip Market. We are a host, like a partner with several vendors. We want to keep our mission in supporting small and local businesses, helping them to grow. Like we are their partners in their growth and we have the Food Trip brand so why not keep it and make it as an extension.” Lourdes explained.
Lourdes initially presented the concept and offered the opportunity to all their Food Trip Market vendors. Understandably, given the current situation, not everybody was open to the idea. Three vendors saw the potential of the business concept – Fishball King and Lovers in Pares both are regular Food Trip vendors and Kabalen Restaurant and Catering Services. They share the kitchen but each operates as an individual business.
“They operate as their own business. They hire their own people. I give them their own space. They can use the kitchen for as much as they can.”
Lourdes and her business partner, Laarni Resurreccion manage the rest of the operation outside the kitchen including the traffic of orders through phone call, pick -up, delivery and dine in which just started on June 2.
The three food vendors are offering their specialty menu which includes the all-time favourites during Food Trip Market.
With the strict preventive measures against coronavirus still in effect, Federis makes sure that they adhere to the government policies.
“I always check them every morning for symptoms, if they have, then they have to stay at home, wash hands. The kitchen manager– making sure that their staff and the other vendors are keeping their hygiene on check.”
With dine-ins, there are tables vacant in between; they only take 50% capacity; they have a self-serve system and they use disposable plates and cutleries.
HERE FOR THE LONG TERM
Though Federis and her team are still weighing things out, they hope that they will be around for long, staying positive with the new business concept despite the uncertain times.
“I will still be keeping the Food Trip Market and I want to bring that experience and the Food Trip brand every single day and this is really the place where I want to do it. We’re planning to market the shared kitchen concept to several who are interested cause I think this is the way to survive this industry.”
Being an ardent supporter of small business, Federis believes that in these unpredictable times, collaboration in business is the key to survive.
And for the consumers, Federis has a message: “I just want to encourage everyone to support everybody, all the businesses most especially the small businesses. Once you support a small business, you are supporting a child’s education and keeping that money in our province, in our local economy. I want to stress that all the time- that let’s support, not just our kababayan but everyone.” said Federis.
For menu and order, you can visit Food Trip Kitchen Facebook page and web: foodtripkitchen.ca
Photos by Ron Cantiveros