The Ultimate Guide How to Start a Food Truck Business

The Ultimate Guide How to Start a Food Truck Business

How to provide to your guests a completely new concept of street food industry and start a food truck business in 12 steps.

Today you may find on market so many companies that are engaged in production of food trucks as well as the renovation and restoration of used trucks and trailers, but if you have ideas and skills maybe you can do this job by your own.
Street food industry has always been present but never enjoyed that kind of publicity and glory like it has today. Every day people are looking for a quick and cheap meal that fits with products of this business.
If you want to try the restaurant business without big investment then a mobile catering facility is ideal opportunity for you! Regardless this job will be your additional or main source of income, before you go into this business adventure you should read about steps that should be taken for a successful start of your restaurant on wheels!.

Advantages of the Mobile Catering

Finding the ideal location for a catering facility. Location is one of the most important factors that gives good or bad predisposition for success of catering facility. But your catering facility is mobile and if you are not “stabbed” at good place you can easily change it.

start a food truck  small one

Track your guests wherever they go! This primarily means that you can change your location in order to increase traffic during various social events such as concerts, festivals, sporting events and similar gatherings of large number of people at one place.

Reduced costs for staff. You do not need more then two workers per shift, sometimes even one worker,which can be you is a enough. That will mostly depending on the variety of dishes you have in your offer.

Permits for mobile catering facility will vary depending on country where you are located but in any case these criteria is much easier to satisfy than those for classic restaurants. Those permits are different in each country so contact your city or county health or environmental department and determine licensing requirements for a mobile vendor.

The popularity of mobile catering facilities is growing every day. This is best illustrated by the fact that in this work are included many well-known brands such as franchise Sauca. This is the brand of restaurants, clothing lines, music, even the trademark of some famous sauce that can be found in stores. (Source)

Find Location – Where to Start a Food Truck Business?

To get started, you need to find prime parking where you’ll win the regular guests who must know where they can find and enjoy specialties from your restaurant on wheels.

start a food truck location

Here’s what you need to consider before determining locations for parking of mobile catering facility:

  • Whether your catering facility will operate during whole year or just during the season?
  • Availability of parking for your truck and the number of parking places for your guests?
  • Are there office buildings, schools and colleges?
  • Who are your potential guests and what is their purchasing power?
  • The eating habits of your potential customers?
  • Parking costs?
  • Availability of electrical and water installations?
  • How close is the toilet?
  • Is it in a shaded place (important during summer with high temperatures) and whether is that place exposed to wind and rain?
  • What about security? Is it in “safe” environment or in “dangerous” part of the city?

Type of Mobile Food Facility

There are several types of mobile food facilities, and they can be divided into six main groups:

Food Kiosk  – which are used to prepare and sell food such as hot dogs, pancakes or popcorn. They are most often found next to a well attended sports or cultural centers such as the stadium, theater or cinema.

start a food truck kiosk

Trailer – where you can sell already prepared food or be equipped with a kitchen  with all equipment where food is prepared for guests.

start a food truck ice cream trailer

Food Carts – that are used to sell pre-prepared food like boiled corn, ice cream, hot-dogs, donuts and various snacks and desserts.

 start a food truck hot dog trailer

Food trucks – trucks, that can sell already prepared food or be equipped with a kitchen where food is freshly prepared for guests. The choice of dishes in food trucks vary but they are usually specialized in one type of food.

start a food truck military design

Gourmet truck – vary in size of trucks as well as a larger offer of dishes on the menu compared to conventional food trucks.

Bustaurant – as the name says, these are the restaurants in buses, mostly double buses transformed into real restaurants. Usually the front of the bus is arranged in the kitchen and the second part is transformed into serving room with tables for dining. Lately these food trucks becomes very popular in the United States.

start a food truck bustaurant

What are Your Food Truck Start Up Costs?

Start up costs for this business will vary depending on whether you want to go into catering with food kiosk, food truck, trailers or perhaps only food carts.
Your decision about the way you will sell your products will depend on:

  • Your starting capital, budget and potential for return of investment.
  • Your commitment to work: Will you work part time, full time, etc.
  • Your creative ideas and initiative to make it real.
  • Your experience in running a business.
  • Size of business enterprise that you want to start.

Depending on where you live, the cost of owning a successful mobile restaurant  that includes parking, truck, equipment and other costs can be as low as $30,000 and can run as high as $80,000.

start a food truck costs

Minimum costs for starting a mobile food business:
Food Kiosk – New: $ 2,000 – $ 5,000
Trailer – $ 7,000 – $ 20,000
Food Truck – Used: approx. $ 30,000 +
For buying a street kiosks it will take you around $1000, and to issue a permit to operate about $ 2,000 and lot of luck. This means that with a few thousand dollars you can already start your own business.

When we talk about the costs of running a business truck costs are highly variable and may range from 50 to 200 thousands of dollars.
If you are buying used food truck or trailers be sure that they met all the technical requirements for the safe transportation. You can also buy a used truck that was not intended for this type of activity and rearrange it for this purpose. It will require more effort, but also open the door to your fantasies and creative ideas.
According to this information I can conclude that the average costs for starting a food truck business is approximately $ 70,000 (source) which is three times less then average costs for the opening of classic restaurant that is around 250,000 US dollars.

Menu Ideas For Food Truck

start a food truck menu ideas for food truck

Before you decide what kind of products/food you will sell in your movable catering facility you should answer to following questions:

  1. What products do you want to sell?
  2. Which food you enjoy to prepare and make really tasty?
  3. What kind of food is popular in your environment?
  4. Is that food suitable for easy transport?
  5. What time of day your food track will be open, would you offer breakfast, lunch or dinner?
  6. Will you serve cold or hot food?
  7. What kind of food does not be already sell in the other restaurants or food tracks in your neighborhood?
  8. Will you prepare/cook food in your movable catering facility or elsewhere?
  9. Will you pack and serve your food prematurely or by customer order?

According to answers on these questions you can make further observations concerning the number and type of menu items that you will offer. In any case it is recommended to keep the menu simple, to use certain types of foods and slight variations between menu items.
Please note that you should put on your menu dishes that are easy and simple to prepare and will sell quickly and at affordable prices. Here we may include grilled dishes, sandwiches, salads, fries, and for desserts ice-cream, fruit salads etc.
More items on the menu and the variety and complexity of dishes in your offer implies the need for a bigger facility which means food truck or bus. No matter what you have chosen you need to fulfil all criterias regarding health and food safety.

Food Track Design Ideas

The design of a mobile catering facility should have an attractive appearance, solid chassis, easy maintenance exterior, and above all, to provide efficient food preparation in its interior.
Your food track can look like as you want. You may, but you also do not have to align the look of food truck, trailer or carts with your offer. However, if your food truck has the appearance of a hot-dog that will attract the attention of passers and those who want a hot dog bite will surely come right up to you.

Today you may find on the market many companies that are engaged in production of food trucks as well as the renovation and restoration of used trucks and trailers, but if you have ideas and skills maybe you can do this job by your own.

start a food truck trailer design start a food truck interior

Be creative. You do not have to follow any rule or restrictions. Take advantage of every inch of your facility.

Make it unique, beautiful and practical. Opened door of the truck may become a nice menu board that explains in detail what you offer and the cab of the truck could be place where you will receive orders and make a payment.

Take a look inside of Jamie Oliver’s food truck made for Food Revolution campaign.

start a food truck food revolution

Performance of many operations in confined space requires more attention, particularly when we talk about hygiene. Ensure that the interior of your food truck is perfectly clean and adjusted for operations that should be perform in it. It would be the best if the kitchen’s furniture where you prepare and handle with food were made from stainless steel. Also lining the inner walls with stainless steel is the best prevention from fire. This is very expensive but long-term investment that ensure quality of interior that is in compliance with all regulations for working with food.

All of these advice would not bring you successful business if you do not make your food truck promotion, interact with your guests, enjoy while preparing food for them and fall in love with your small restaurant on wheels! Good Luck!