Doc Popcorn, the world’s largest popcorn franchise retailer, is now taking its fresh-popped specialty flavors of popcorn on the road in its first food truck, appropriately dubbed the PopTruck. Twin Cities POPrietor Bill Bentz, who owns and operates the Mall of America Doc Popcorn location with his wife and two daughters, is spearheading the brand’s first foray into the food truck industry.
The PopTruck, essentially a store on wheels, offers a variety of Doc Popcorn’s gourmet popcorn flavors and craft sodas. In addition, it will offer frozen lemonade in the summer, and locally roasted coffee and hot chocolate during cooler months. The new food truck model allows the Mall of America Doc Popcorn location to mobilize and be an active community business. The PopTruck is available for local reservations such as corporate/employee events, customer/student appreciation days, civic celebrations/events, sports tournaments, graduations, weddings and other celebrations.
“At our Mall of America location, I never tire of seeing kids’ excitement over popcorn,” says Bentz. “With my eldest daughter taking over the management of my Doc Popcorn store in the mall, I wanted to find a way to expand the business and stay connected to my customers. The PopTruck is an opportunity for me to spread happiness and smiles all over the Twin Cities community.”
With the launch of the PopTruck, Bentz’s career is coming full circle. Prior to Doc Popcorn, Bentz spent 30 years in the automotive and fleet industry in sales and management positions. He opened his Mall of America Doc Popcorn location in 2010 as one of the brand’s first franchise owners and continues to be one of the most successful. The idea for the PopTruck stemmed from Bentz as a creative way to expand the brand’s presence while keeping a keen eye on what could be a future semi-retirement opportunity.
The PopTruck brings Doc Popcorn into the fastest-growing segment in foodservice. The food truck industry has increased 12.4 percent over the past five years and is expected to reach $2.7 billion this year.
“Bill’s PopTruck is an exciting opportunity for our brand to test the food truck model,” says Rob Israel, founder of Doc Popcorn and ‘Big Pop.’ “Bill came to us with the idea and we co-created the concept. The PopTruck is the first of its kind for Doc Popcorn, so we’re excited to see how it’s received in the Twin Cities and determine if others in our franchise family may also benefit.”
As a better-for-you snacking option, Doc Popcorn creates its own proprietary flavor blends using high quality ingredients free of trans fat, MSG, artificial colors and preservatives. Gourmet popcorn flavors include Klassic Kettle, Sinfully Cinnamon, Triple White Cheddar, Sweet Butter, Cheesy Cheddar, Better Butter, Caramel Kettle, Hoppin’ Jalapeno, Salt-n-Pepper, and can be mixed and matched for a variety.
Based in Denver, Doc Popcorn has more than 100 mobile carts, kiosks and in-line stores around the world. In late 2014, after Dippin’ Dots, innovator and market leader of flash-frozen ice cream, acquired Doc Popcorn, the two companies announced they would begin opening co-branded locations around the country. There are currently 16 dual concept franchises with more opportunities in the pipeline. They expect to open 10 more this year.