One for the road

With his Soho Road food enterprise, Sarb Mund gives new meaning to the idea of fare value.

It’s hard to miss Sarb Mund, 35, and his is food truck, Soho Road Naan Kebab, when you’re in downtown Vancouver. Located in the heart of the city at Granville and Georgia, Soho Road has become a Vancouver staple, regularly attracting attention from local newscasts and national TV programs such as Food Network’s Eat St.

The food cart came to mind when Mund was working on his accounting designation. "I had the food truck idea, even the look of what we were going to do with [it], way before food trucks were allowed in Vancouver," Mund says.

Luckily enough, the city eventually authorized a food cart program. To start, the city asked for applications and relied on the luck of the draw to select successful candidates. Mund, however, was busy with accounting and didn’t submit an application. Soon enough there was another round of applications and this time his accounting background would give him the upper hand.

"The second year it was based on a business plan and I was so [ready] for that because I had just finished the CMA program," Mund says. "It [was] pretty easy for me to come up with. I wound up getting two licences that year and the next year I got another licence."

One of those licences led to the establishment of Soho Road. Mund plans to use the other two to launch the Soho Road Tiffin Truck, which would sell Indian food in reusable tins, and Chawalla, an Indian tea cart, before next summer.

Seeing firsthand the realities that small food-based startups often face led Mund to create Commissary Connect, a secondary business that provides communal kitchen space and business support for food startups.

"If I wasn’t part of the CMA program," Mund says, "I wouldn’t have seen that gap in the market to do a comprehensive SWOT [strength, weakness, opportunity and threat] analysis on these commissary kitchens that needed to be put into place."

Additionally, Mund is a founding member and the treasurer of Streetfood Vancouver Society, an association of street-food vendors. He has also been approached by the Vancouver Economic Commission to expand his commissary kitchen program, and University of British Columbia students are doing case studies on the importance of his kitchen to Vancouver’s food scene.

Mund says, "If I hadn’t done the [accounting] program, none of that would’ve happened."