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And pigs (and profits) will fly

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  • | 10:59 a.m. July 24, 2015
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Canada sends a lot to Florida, starting with thousands of winter tourists and snowbirds.

But here's something new the neighbor to the north aims to import to the Sunshine State: A franchised-based catering business that serves pig and meat roasts at corporate events and weddings.

The St. Catherine's, Ontario-based business is called Pig Out Catering, and it recently completed the complicated requirements to award franchises in the United States.

Co-founder Anne Dickson says the company analyzed dozens of regions for demographics and potential franchisees and customers, and two of the top targets are Sarasota and Orlando. Several cities in Texas are also on the company's target list.

“Florida should be great for us,” Dickson tells Coffee Talk. “And Sarasota is a big area for Canadians. As a franchise, you want to have a nexus and build out from there.”

A franchisee will get a proprietary Pig Out roaster, used to prepare a line of signature dishes that include pig roast, “Baron of Beef” and roast lamb. A franchisee, for an initial investment that ranges from $96,850 to $144,700, also gets a fully equipped custom van and/or trailer.

Dickson and her husband and co-founder, Alan Dickson, started the business in 2007, at a farmers market. Pig Out franchises in Canada have since worked weddings, company events, graduation parties and other shindigs. Corporate clients, according to its website, include Google, Bass Pro Shops and Harley-Davidson.

Anne Dickson has met with chamber and economic development officials in Sarasota, and has visited the area three times in the past few months to meet with possible franchisees.
She says a good franchisee is someone with restaurant and hospitality skills who seeks a gig where he or she can be at the front line of the customer experience in event catering. “It's a hands-on business,” Dickson says. “We don't do a scruffy product. We make it elegant.”


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