Zane Caplansky flaunts his delicious meats on Dragon’s Den, walks away empty-handed
Toronto diners watching Dragon’s Den last night got to see a familiar face: Zane Caplansky, owner of the eponymous College Street deli renowned for its smoked meat sandwiches. Before divvying up some luscious-looking sammies, he pulled a tarp off Thundering Thelma, his big blue food truck, and made his pitch. Caplansky described his vision of an entire fleet of Thelmas, offering up 15 per cent of his company for $350,000.
Each dragon agreed that while the food was unbelievable, Caplansky’s business sense was way off the mark. At that point the truck was just a prop (the episode was filmed last spring), and Caplansky had not yet proven his concept on the streets. Kevin O’Leary called him “Insane Zane,” asking, “Bubby, are you out of your mind?” Jim Treliving said he could “think of five guys who would take your franchise in a heartbeat tomorrow morning.” But as for the food truck: “That scares the hell out of me.” Bruce Croxon initially made an (admittedly insulting) offer—$350,000 for a full half of the company—but pulled back on advisement from the other dragons. “I’ve done too many deals where I’ve fallen in love with a sandwich,” he admitted.
Caplanksy appeared on Metro Morning with Matt Galloway today, attempting to pass the ordeal off as a positive advertising experience and taking solace in how much they liked the food. “To have Kevin O’Leary say, ‘I’m from Montreal’—and I’ll tell you Matt, that sentence often does not end well for me—‘and this is the best smoked meat I’ve ever tasted,’ and to have them all say the same thing, that was my victory.” He went on to describe his efforts to change the harsh street food laws in the city. Touting his familial relations in politics, Caplansky ripped into David Miller’s big government “regime,” noting that an overhaul of street food would be easy PR for Rob Ford—“and he needs a great news story.”