As many great ideas go, this one started over a beer with a buddy.
In 1998, Steve Moynes and a friend with a great pizza recipe, hatched a plan: ‘let’s build a mobile pizza truck.’
And with that, Expressway Pizza, a restaurant and delivery service all in one, was born. Eleven franchisee trucks later and Moynes, who built the trucks himself, was definitely on to something.
Word got around that Moynes had quite a talent for building food trucks. After that, “people kept calling,” says the 59-year-old.
Today, Moynes and his family-owned company Pizza Trucks of Canada in Dugald, Manitoba, have built an estimated 100 food trucks and have orders to fill for a year and counting.
Two years ago, the food truck boom hit with Food Network shows likeEat Street and The Great Food Truck Race, says Sandy, Moynes’ wife and co-owner along with their three sons Trevor, Kevin and Steve Jr.
“Now we don’t even have to sell them anymore we just have to be competitive,” she says. The cost for a new, empty food truck starts at $50,000 and custom details go up from there.
Their restaurants on wheels are on streets across the U.S., Canada and Australia. He recently landed an order to build a pizza truck to send to Kenya. The company, Naked Pizza, is co-owned by Shark Tank shark and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Moynes also recently salvaged a circa 1937 blue school bus in Tok, Alaska. The bus will be transformed into a New York Fries food truck for Toronto streets.
Closer to home, Moynes and his family recently finished Habanero Sombrero and Vilai’s Spice Box, which both hit Winnipeg streets this spring.
Moynes–along with his sons–builds every interior inch of the trucks including electrical, plumbing and insulating. And the team works on two or three trucks or trailers at a time in their Dugald shop.
The key to making a great food truck is a great floor plan that uses every inch, gives workers their own space and creates ideal work flow, Moynes says.
“You have to lay out the floor properly or it just won’t work.”
That can be tricky when you’re limited to 130-square-feet, the foot print of the average 18-by-7-foot food truck.
But every truck has its own charms and challenges, Moynes says. “I love designing these things. Every one is different.”
My story first appeared on cbc.ca/manitoba/scene. Here’s the link.
For a guide to Winnipeg’s food trucks click here.
For all the insider news on Winnipeg’s food, restaurant and chef scene follow me on Twitter @RSummerfield and @PegCityGrub.