|Founded||June 16, 1928|
|Headquarters||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
The restaurant was founded on June 16, 1928, by Nat Bailey. His first idea for a name for the eatery had been Granville Barbecue, but Nat instead took the advice of a friend who suggested he call it White Spot in honour of a restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California—in part because the name sounded spotless and clean. That White Spot restaurant in Los Angeles has long since closed.
Granville House and carhops
The original White Spot was located in the Marpole neighbourhood, at 67th and Granville Street, at what would become known as Granville House, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The restaurant was called White Spot Barbecue Sandwiches, evolving into a drive-in and dining room.
By 1955, the chain was serving 10,000 cars a day and 110,000 customers a week.
By the 1990s, some White Spot Drive-ins were phased out owing to an increase in the number of franchise restaurants and a gradual decrease in the popularity of drive-ins. Granville House was a popular dining spot until 1986 when a fire in the kitchen damaged the building. The restaurant closed permanently at that location shortly thereafter, despite some talk of rebuilding.
Franchising and growth
The chain was sold to General Foods in 1968 when Nat retired.
In 1982, White Spot returned to local ownership when the company was purchased by BC businessman Peter Toigo, becoming part of Shato Holdings Limited. After his death in 1993, his sons Peter and Ron Toigo took over ownership.
In 1986, the chain was sued in the court case Gee v. White Spot, which helped set Canadian case law. The plaintiffs, Mr. Gee and Mr. and Mrs. Pan, claimed damages for botulism poisoning related to a beef dip. The decision made it easier for diners to sue restaurants for breach of contract and implied warranty instead of the harder-to-prove negligence (Canadian tort law expressly disavows strict product liability).
In 1993, White Spot introduced franchising. Since 1999, their franchises have been installed on some ships in the BC Ferries fleet. By the 2000s, the chain was opening burger-focused takeouts at its Triple-O's locations.
In 2012, 64 White Spot restaurants and 62 Triple -O's served 17 million customers and generated $200 million in gross revenues.
"Triple-O's by White Spot" restaurants, named after the trademark "Triple-O" hamburger sauce (made of mayonnaise and hamburger relish), have been established in BC (as seen above, some are co-located with Chevron gas stations).
In the 1990s, White Spot experimented with opening outlets across the nearby U.S. border in Bellingham, Washington, without much success. Abroad, White Spot has in the past few years expanded its Triple-O's fast food chain into Hong Kong and, most recently, Bangkok and Singapore. In Hong Kong, four such stores can be found at the basement of Pacific Place, and in Exchange Square, on the Hong Kong Island; and at Cooked Deli in the Harbour City shopping mall in Kowloon and in Shatin. The three Hong Kong franchises each record more than twice as many sales as the average location in BC.
- Mia Stainsby (June 7, 2013). "Landmark restaurant chain White Spot celebrates 85th birthday". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
- White Spot won't stand still, Vancouver Sun, Jan. 17, 2008
- Hong Kong: Thriving as ever, By Joanne Lee-Young, Vancouver Sun, B3, June 29, 2007
- White Spot takes on Korea, Vancouver Sun, Aug. 27, 2008