World Fest is around the corner with a line-up of performers, but who is more excited for the line-up of food trucks, but who organizes the trucks?
Rod Grant, president of ICL Services, has been the man behind the vast list of food truck vendors at the annual Richmond World Festival for the last five years.
Grant started his special event career in the food division for the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) after graduating with a business management diploma from BCIT.
He successfully served 30,000 people at a football event which has since landed him in large events.
Grant helped jumpstart White Spot’s special events division after leaving the PNE, but with “some corporate shuffling, (White Spot) sold their catering division and” he took over ICL Services.
With White Spot’s blessing, he decided to go private with ICL and has been operating it ever since.
The locally-owned business has been doing special events for 20 years in the food service industry while providing new options for special event attendees.
“We go out every spring and see if (new food truck) menus fit the niches we are trying to fill, because we are getting a lot of requests for vegan, gluten-free and generally healthier options,” said Grant, adding that they try to keep the balance of old and new food trucks in their list to “satisfy the majority of (their) guests.”
In preparation for the festival, Grant started collecting documents from food truck operators in January which added up to more than 500 pages in documents.
According to Grant, the vast amount of documents needed is due to the significant amount of “red-tape” – a term for the amount of required documents that the government requires to do a project – to make sure the “food trucks are absolutely safe.”
Grant claims the real “fun starts” after all the tedious paperwork is done and he goes out onto the site to “get ready for all the power and water and the locations ready for the trucks.”
“We have contract orders who hook up the power and water for us so we work hand-in-hand with them and direct them on the plans, clients, how much space we have, what areas we want to have food in and where we don’t want food in.”
He explained that there are many challenges organizing the food vendors for a big event because health inspectors, electrical inspectors and the fire department all come to inspect the trucks.
“A myriad of inspections that we go over and over again and it (is) to ensure we have safe equipment operating for the customers.”
This year’s World Fest will feature the Somalia Association where they will serve traditional African food in conjunction with the African zone.
Festival attendees will also notice new food options including specialty food from Maruitius Island with Cruzin Tabazi, Filipino food with Shameless Buns, traditional barbeque ribs and chicken with Truckin’ BBQ and much more.