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Indigenous Business Success - Mr. Bannock Case Study

Starting a food truck business can be a challenging but rewarding venture for entrepreneurial chefs who are passionate about sharing their talent and delicious dishes with others. Today, we are featuring the story of an Indigenous chef who turned his love of food and culture into a thriving business.

Meet Paul Natrall, Mr. Bannock

Paul Natrall, a former business student of mine from the Squamish Nation had a dream of starting his own business in 2017. He was committed, showed up for each course, soaked up all the knowledge about starting and growing a business that he could and launched his company. Paul's passion for sharing his culture through food turned into a business where he is now introducing the world to traditional west coast Indigenous cuisine. Let's take a closer look at some of the growth-related activities Paul used to get his business from start-up to full-blown success.

Paul has developed impressive marketing skills and become quite an expert in building a memorable brand. What is his secret sauce? He won an award, built relationships with the news media, works on his social media presence daily to drive buzz around his products and services, and gives back to help others.

Building News Media Relationships

Paul actively contributes to news stories regionally and nationally and has even appeared on the Rachel Ray Show! In addition to articles published by the Vancouver Sun, the Washington Post, and many other media outlets, he is very good at generating 3rd party credibility through media relations. This marketing activity creates awareness for the brand and builds trust in the marketplace as more people become familiar with the company.

Leveraging Social Media

Mr. Bannock’s Instagram profile has over 3,400 posts as of the time this blog was written. Since the launch of the business in 2017, he's done approximately 5 years of daily posting on the popular social media app. That's around 56 posts per month. or nearly two posts every day, for 5 years straight. And this is for one single platform! That is a huge time investment, but an investment which seems to have paid off.

Paul is diligent in keeping his social media presence active to simultaneously promote his brand increasing the effectiveness of both marketing strategies. You can see many of Paul’s public appearances and industry contributions on his Facebook and LinkedIn Pages as well.

Winning An Award

In 2019, I had known Paul for a couple of years and nominated him for the BC Indigenous Business Award in the Young Entrepreneurial Of The Year category, which he won. I was very excited for him, his business and his family as I knew their lives were about to change. Winning an award at the provincial level brings fantastic recognition to the company and gives the entrepreneur a larger stage. Paul graciously accepted the award and has had many public appearances and media stories that resulted from this event.

Giving Back To Community

Another thing Paul does is donate his time to causes he believes in. Whether it’s at The Squamish First Nation (his home community) or the larger community, sitting on boards and inspiring the Youth has also lifted his public image. Doing good always pays off, maybe not in monetary value but in other positive ways.

Launching New Products

Building off of the rising Mr.Bannock brand, Paul added to his company offerings moving into the apparel business selling branded clothes. Having a recognizable name not only boosted his food truck business but allowed him to branch out to sell new products, which he can now leverage using the Mr.Bannock brand.

Social media presence alone often can fall short. If you don’t have a large online following yet, people might not see everything happening on your social media accounts. It takes time to build an online presence but by focusing on it daily and showcasing your unique value, you will find your audience.

An Integrated Marketing Approach

Using a combined strategy of online marketing, building relationships with the media (public relations), doing public appearances, winning an award and giving back to the community all contribute to building a strong brand.

When combined, these activities develop your brand and build off of each other to the point where one day you won’t have to work as hard to have your brand recognized.

Prepare for a time commitment as being in the public eye requires constant activity and giving of yourself. People can and will forget about your brand if you stop the marketing machine. There are so many companies competing for the same eyeballs, so entrepreneurs have to stay on their toes and keep their stories fresh.

Today, Paul is a successful Indigenous business owner who has turned his passion for Indigenous food and culture into a thriving career that continues to grow. He's proud of the impact his business has had on the local community and is enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with running your own business.

If you're considering starting a business of your own, Paul's story is a great reminder that with hard work, dedication, and creativity, it's possible to turn your dream into a reality.

Check Paul out at and @mrbannockfood on social channels For more on Activ8's business training programs held online, or on nation land, feel free to email or call us at 604-687-2004.


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