Frankie the Fire Truck is an espresso bar food truck located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their innovation and sustainable ways of business are key factors in their implementation of several SDGs, being: Good Health and Well-Being, Affordable Clean Energy, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action, and Responsible Consumption and Production. This comes from businesses solutions that include being entirely plant-based, solar powered, and remotely located.
Y Nhi Nguyen
Frankie the Firetruck and their owners have established great standards for themselves as well as have implemented many innovative ideas that have made them stand out in their local industry. Firstly, Frankie’s is the first 100% plant-based and gluten-free café in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their incorporation of using zero dairy or any meat products is the first of its kind in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Secondly, they do their best to conserve as much energy as possible and continue to work towards the use of clean energy by using solar panels for power. In the near future, Frankie’s has a few innovative ideas that are going to further establish them as a completely sustainable business. They are implementing a new idea to their business model in which they sell reusable jars to their customers which will in turn in giving customers discounts on future purchases. They are also currently working on integrating a zero-waste program within the food truck that will allow them to become a fully sustainable business.
The owners of Frankie’s, Jill Mulvaney and Adam Otmar, both studied at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. They studied Environmental Science and Business respectably. While studying, the two of them decided to start eating a plant-based diet and never turned back. Moreover, after moving back to Halifax after University, they had the idea to start their own plant-based food truck. After some deliberation and planning, they got to work. They ended up finding an old fire truck at an auction which is where the whole idea behind “Frankie” was born. Two years later, Frankie, Jill, and Adam are thriving in the café business as they have established great relationships with their customers through great products and service.
Pictured here is the milk options Frankie's offers, no dairy milk in site!
As stated above, we know that Jill had studied Environmental Science at Queens University. While studying, she felt as if even though she was learning more about sustainability, she felt like she could be contributing more. At this point, she decided to go vegan by eating a completely plant-based diet. Combining going vegan and studying environmental sciences opened up her eyes to all of the advantages a plant-based diet has to offer. Post-graduation, Jill and Adam had thought of the idea of opening their own food truck. The idea was still in the early stages of development, and they weren’t quite sure what exactly they wanted to do with it. Adam had asked Jill if she wanted dairy products to be sold and her response was “No, let's do our part in being sustainable”. From then on the idea was born and Jill and Adam ran with it.
In the short run, Frankie benefits people and the local community as it satisfies the needs of a unique group of customers by offering plant-based and non-dairy products. Secondly, it is beneficial to the environment as the coffee bar utilizes clean energy power to operate. Thirdly, it benefits the overall well-being of animals because no animal-related materials were used. Fourthly, it is building up its reputation.
In the long run, Frankie's Espresso Bar will have a higher degree of positive influence on the overall well-being. Firstly, Frankie's Espresso Bar is developing in a sustainable way benefiting the overall well-being of everyone. Secondly, its protection of the environment will benefit our homeland, which is the earth. It will keep preserving the environment and change our world into a better place. Thirdly, it values the protection of animals because they only use plant-based materials.
Fourthly, Frankie will enhance the equality between people and animals. Sixthly, it will influence other coffee shops to operate in an environmental-friendly and sustainable way, which can create a better world. Seventhly, Frankie will become popular being profitable, which enables it to expand its market share and attract new customers.
There were a few significant actions that Frankie’s took to make an impact on their business. Starting they chose to only have non-dairy products in their café. They are the only café in the entire Halifax area that does not have any dairy products available. What this has resulted in is a niche group of regular customers. Within Halifax, consumers who are dairy-free by choice or health needs may have a concern with cross-contamination with dairy products at any other café. Therefore, Frankie’s gets a specialized group of regular customers who know they can count on Frankie’s every day to get the coffee and baked goods that they require in their diet.
Also, while choosing to have a remote business being in a truck, Frankie’s is continuing to grow while cutting costs on electrical and other utilities while growing their appeal to a wider range of consumers. They have solar panels to power their ovens and coffee makers which allows for saving on electricity costs. This is impactful on the business as they get to spend funds on other projects to continue growing as their expenses stay low.
The fact that Frankie’s is a food truck is also an impactful innovation to their business. Instead of being stationary in a permanent location, they get the opportunity to move locations to grow their market. This is beneficial as they can analyze the markets around them and see which ones they will succeed in before arriving there. But even if the location is not as successful as anticipated, they can pick up and leave somewhere else, a luxury many cafés do not have.
Since Frankie’s provides this unique combination of ingredients that none of their competitors offer, they have quite a group of regular customers. This group of regulars fosters a sense of community for their business. This group is also steadily growing as word-of-mouth spreads around between their loyal customers as more people in the city get to know the Frankie’s experience. This has led to a community of customers who feel “more like friends than customers” to owners Jill and Adam. This is a unique opportunity as it enhances the experience for society instead of being an ordinary coffee shop. The benefit of it being on wheels is that they get to move around and spread the Frankie’s community across the city if they wanted instead of always being stationary on one street. This leads to a growth of customers and a bigger impact on more of the city of Halifax.
Products that come from dairy animals take significantly more water to produce than vegan kinds of milk. Therefore, since Frankie’s chooses to only offer oat, soy, or almond milk instead of dairy milk, the water they are taking up is drastically less. As well dairy products use way more land for agriculture. This leads to more trees being cut down, which leads to higher CO2 levels being emitted into the atmosphere. This comes from cow feces too. Thus, actively choosing to omit using the products that contribute to the warming of the earth and climate change, Frankie’s is following the Sustainable Development Goal of Climate Action. Since the truck is powered by solar panels, Frankie’s uses a limited amount of electricity, which again is another thing they do to help preserve the environment. The final action Frankie's takes that is significant to the environment is introducing a reusable cup program. They have a goal that by the end of the year to be completely waste-free. This is a massive step in protecting the environment working away from harmful single-use cups.
Jill Mulvaney, Founder
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Halifax, Ontario, CA
Business Website: https://www.frankieshfx.com/
Year Founded: 2019
Number of Employees: 2 to 10