From July 11th to 17th, 2022, the Media Relations team brought to life the first-ever Destination Toronto food truck road trip, an extension of the Never Have I Ever TO summer campaign. The truck tour made stops in three key markets, Ottawa, Montreal and Kingston, to engage potential visitors with a complimentary Toronto-inspired menu and an earned media strategy to amplify the campaign.
Scarborough-native, Chef Craig Wong, from Patois created and executed a 5-item menu that had never been done before (his own Never Have I Ever!) inspired by different neighbourhoods in Toronto. From Midtown, to Downtown, and to the East and West side, each dish had a unique flavour that highlighted the city’s incredibly diverse and tasty culinary scene.
Chef Wong's Never Have I Ever menu and neighbourhood inspiration
The Midtown Sandwich
Jerk Pork Belly Cubano, shaved ham, cheese, scotch bonnet kimchi, toasted sweet roll
The Old Town Salad
Summer fruits & vegetables, aged smoked cheddar, Canadian Club & maple syrup vinaigrette
The West Side Bao
Shrimp Salad on a Crispy Baotobiko, kewpie mayo, radish, cucumber
The East Side Flaming Patty
Saganaki, Jamaican beef patty, rum
The City Centre French Toast
Pretzel, cotton candy, caramel popcorn, cookie butter, condensed milk & syrup
Before opening to the public each day, the team secured a number of media guests and social influencers in each city to attend a special VIP tasting. Guests included CTV Morning Live Ottawa, Ottawa Life, CBC Radio-Canada, 104.3 Fresh Radio, MontrealGazette.com and Downtown Kingston Online generating an estimated 4.5 million in impressions. They were offered a sneak peek of the menu and experience which helped spread the word to the public.
An intimate sneak peek was also provided to a small number of Business Event clients in Ottawa to strategically showcase the City’s culinary scene.
Locals in each city loved having a bit of Toronto brought right to them in such a fun and interactive way. We heard how much love there is for Toronto and its food scene, as well as strong intent on planning a trip or a few that have a trip planned in the coming months.
What did the food-truck guests have to say about the food?
“Salad really shouldn't be that good, but here we are” (referring to the Old Town Salad)
“I've been to Cuba recently, and I can taste the influence in this sandwich and that's crazy”
(referring to the Midtown Sandwich)
“This French Toast reminds us of taking our kids to the Ex when they were little” (referring to the City Centre French Toast)
And what did the guests say about the activation and Toronto?
“This is such a neat idea, will you open a permanent food truck here?”
“I love Toronto’s food scene”
“Toronto really does have the best patties”
“I’ll be there for the Caribbean Carnival in August, and coming next week for a Blue Jays game”
After months of planning, to physically be on the ground with the team was a fantastic experience. Seeing the reactions and feedback from locals and media in each city was beyond our expectations. I look forward to continuing to promote our incredible city to our key markets!