Food trucks are currently trending and show no signs of slowing down. A food truck has several unique advantages over a traditional dine-in restaurant, as it has lower overhead, can go to where the customers are, and requires far less staff. However, a food truck is still a business that requires a lot of work and attention—especially in the first couple of years. Food truck owners put in long days and learn to deal with slow seasons, bad weather, and a sluggish economy.
Interested in starting your own food truck? Here are the most important things to take care of.
Choose Your Locations
You’d be surprised how many places don’t allow food trucks or put a cap on the number of food truck permits allowed at any given time. You will need to check local ordinances to determine where you can set up shop.
Be mindful of other food trucks and restaurants in the area.
Select a Business Name & Menu
Decide on an epic food truck name! The name of your food truck business should reflect your food, theme, and concept. A memorable name will draw in customers, and a descriptive name will let them know exactly what to expect.
You will need a menu board and to-go menus for customers to take. Will your menu be the same every day or rotate with daily specials? Depending on the type of food you want to serve, the best option could vary.
The good news about a food truck business is that it is significantly cheaper than a sit-down. However, you will still need financing from a bank or private investors, so you must prepare for this rather large investment. A used food truck can cost between $20,000 to $40,000, while a new food truck can be as much as $100,000.
Stock Your Food Truck
You will still need to ensure that your food truck is equipped to meet your particular needs. If you plan to serve hot foods, you will need an oven and fryolator. If you plan to sell pre-made sandwiches, then you will need adequate cooler space.
Market Your Food Truck
A food truck is a rolling advertisement on wheels! However, you still must do some advertising and marketing of your business. Social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great for building a good customer base.
As you get ready for opening day, you’ll also want to have an emergency fund set aside. Equipment repairs can be costly. Or a random rainstorm could drive down business in an otherwise busy season. Be prepared for the unexpected by having some cash set aside.
Set Clear Goals
Expect to work long days. Even if you only serve food during lunch, you need to prep all that food and clean up, do bookkeeping, ordering and other mundane chores.
Determine where you want to be in a year, five years, 10 years. Having clear goals for your food truck business will help keep you motivated and focused.