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|Founded||June 16, 1928|
|Headquarters||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
White Spot is a Canadian restaurant chain based in Vancouver, British Columbia, best known for its hamburgers, Pirate Pack children's meal, triple-o sauce and milkshakes. Along with its related Triple-O's quick service brand, the chain operates over 100 locations in British Columbia, Alberta, and Asia.
In the 1920s, White Spot's founder, Nat Bailey, operated a travelling lunch counter in Vancouver, operating out of a 1918 Model T. He sold hotdogs for a dime and ice cream for a nickel. In 1928, Bailey founded the first White Spot restaurant. Initially, he had planned on naming the eatery the Granville Barbecue, but changed his mind instead taking 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.
The first restaurant 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 Bailey 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. The plaintiffs, Mr. Gee and Mr. and Mrs. Pan, claimed damages for botulism poisoning related to a beef dip sandwich. 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, and in 1997 it launched its Triple-O's quick service brand, which is named after White Spots' trademark hamburger sauce. Since 1999, the company's 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.
Chef Chuck Currie has been featured in marketing campaigns alongside guest celebrity chefs hailing from Vancouver, including John Bishop, Rob Feenie, Umberto Menghi, and Melissa Craig.[better source needed]
The company experimented with international locations across the nearby United States border in Bellingham, Washington, without much success. Abroad, White Spot has expanded its Triple-O's chain into Hong Kong in the early 2000s and, more recently, Bangkok and Singapore.[better source needed] 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.
- MacNaull, Steve (April 6, 2018). "Eatery trucking in food as airport expands". Kelowna Daily Courier. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Korstrom, Glen (March 22, 2020). "White Spot waives franchisees' royalties, lease payments". Business in Vancouver. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Mia Stainsby (June 7, 2013). "Landmark restaurant chain White Spot celebrates 85th birthday". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on November 24, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
- Brown, Janet (March 24, 2020). "White Spot restaurant chain lays off 3,000 workers due to coronavirus". Global News. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Gee v. White Spot Ltd., (1986) 7 BCLR (2d) 235, available on CanLII at http://canlii.ca/t/210nf
- "White Spot celebrates 20 years of Triple O's". BC Business. Sep 13, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- "White Spot won't stand still". Vancouver Sun. Jan 17, 2008. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
- "Photos: White Spot over the years". Vancouver Sun. Nov 19, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Woolley, Pieta (May 7, 2008). "White Spot tries to expand its comfort zone". Georgia Straight. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Lee-Young, Joanne (June 29, 2007). "Hong Kong: Thriving as ever". Vancouver Sun. p. B3.
- "White Spot takes on Korea". Vancouver Sun. August 27, 2008. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
- "Trend spotting in Dosan Park". Korea JoongAng Daily. August 27, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2020.