Edmonton – What’s it like to run a food tour company in the city of festivals?
Someone asked me recently, what is Alberta Food Tours’ competition in Edmonton? A light bulb went off over my head. I realized our competition in Edmonton isn’t other food tour companies. Edmonton has lots of room for others to join our celebration of the local food scene. Nope, that’s not it.
Our biggest competition is simply how MANY OPTIONS Edmontonians have for fun things to do. It’s a challenge for us to not get lost in the barrel of monkeys.
City of Festivals
With over 100 festival each year, Edmontonians are used to lots of free or almost free entertainment – year round. You can find a thorough, but incomplete, list here. You can find the favourite picks of noted local lifestyle blogger Amy Butterfield here. Thank you Amy for including our tours! I’m sure you now understand why Edmonton is known as the city of festivals.
Thankfully, I am a patient and persistent entrepreneur.
When it comes to running a food tour company in Edmonton, I’ll stick to my tried and true formula. I believe a company’s reputation is built slowly but surely and with investment in genuine relationships, by showing up and doing what we promise to do in the most professional way possible and by always putting our guests and partners first.
Alberta Food Tours is in our fourth year of offering Edmonton Food Tours and though our emphasis for public tour offerings is June through September, we are happily fulfilling requests for private and corporate tours year round. We are making inroads in brand recognition and are ranked #1 of 15 Food and Drink activities on TripAdvisor. We’re also an approved member of Edmonton Tourism. With Edmonton Tourism we love to promote the city to the world at trade conferences and when tourism buyers visit on business development trips.
Another factor that gives me great confidence in the trajectory of our company’s future in Edmonton is our talented team of local guides. That group includes Liane Faulder, a seasoned food writer and journalist for the Edmonton Journal, Cindy Lazarenko, a noted chef and caterer, Howard Kowalchuk, a teacher, actor and avid traveller, Deborah Anzinger, a professional home economist and cookbook author, Simone Demers-Collins, another home economist who formerly worked with Alberta Canola, Suzanne Dennis, minimalist founder of Boomerang (zero waste) Bags and former organizer of the What the Truck festival and our latest team member Elyse Chatterton, a butcher, chef and culinary instructor. We have incredible human potential.
Another stronghold for us in Edmonton is our incredible partners including The Marc Restaurant, Wishbone, Kitchen by Brad, Tzin, Jacek Chocolate Couture, Baijiu, Bistro Praha, The Fairmont MacDonald, MEAT, Sugared and Spiced, El Cortez, Strathcona Spirits, Situation Brewing, Ohana Donuterie, and Fan Fan Patisserie. They give us great stories to tell and great food to eat. And, we are pretty excited about a couple of new partners this year too!
New partners for 2019
We are thrilled to add two new partners to our 2019 roster. Both Remedy Cafe on Whyte and Made by Marcus are joining our Strathcona Brunch and Bakeries tour.
Made by Marcus was founded by Marcus Purtzki. He’s an absolute flavour and ice cream texture genius. He should be. He majored in dairy for his Food Sciences undergrad degree and then took a Masters in Nutrition. Lineup are legendary at his two Calgary locations. He’ll have Edmonton specific flavours that we can hardly wait to try. I scream, you scream, we all will be screaming on Whyte Avenue very soon.
Our other new partner is a staple on Edmonton’s food scene. The Remedy Cafe brand is an Edmonton Original founded by Sohail (Zee) Zaudi almost 20 years ago. As of 2019, they will have 11 outlets in Edmonton and we are thrilled to be ending our tour of Strathcona by sharing this great entrepreneur’s story plus, of course, sitting to share his secret recipe chai that takes six days to steep and a nice light snack.
We are not a typical food tour company.
Our guests enjoy sit down, knife and fork tastings at most of our tour stops. They also enjoy beverage pairings and while they are sipping and supping our guides share stories and involve them in activities. Our group sizes are small and personable. We might cost a little more upfront but our experiences our seamless as tabs, tips and taxes are taken care of as we float with ease from place to place with standing reservations and house accounts.
And you know what? After all that, I’ve also decided to put that old adage, if you can’t beat’em, join’em, into practice. Coming in 2020, you’ll see us become part of some of the city’s best festivals.
We look forward to a great summer of fun in Edmonton. Strathcona Brunch and Bakeries kicks off June 23 and runs every Sunday. Downtown Delights runs Thursdays and Fridays, July 4 to the end of August. Come eat, engage and explore Edmonton with us.