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A Complete Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a Food Truck Business
So, you have a passion for cooking and want to turn it into a career. Do you always dream of starting a restaurant but don’t have enough capital? Does owning a food truck business cross your mind? Follow along as to learn how to do it.
Many people are out on the street all the time running their errands. While doing it, they need a place where they can grab a bite to reboot their metabolism. That is where the food truck business comes in. So, do you know what a food truck business is?
What is a Food truck business?
A food truck business is a mobile restaurant. It is a mobile food business setting that is set up in a truck. Moreover, the truck has modern kitchen equipment where food is cooked and served. It is a business that is thriving all over the world with more and more people embracing the convenience of having food wherever they are.
Why start a food truck business?
Before you go ahead and buy a cool branded truck to start selling your delicacies to the public, why do it in the first place? Furthermore, what are the reasons you should start your own food truck business? The given below are compelling reasons why starting the food truck business is a good idea:
A. Live your dream
You look at a food truck down the street and wish it as yours, right? You have fantastic cooking skills and want to start a business to earn from it, or you have a background of working in a similar setting and want to be on your own? All these can drive you into realizing your dream of owning the business.
B. Boss yourself
If you are tired of receiving orders from all directions, it’s time to be your boss. In the truck business, you will make decisions, implement them, and make orders of how things should run. Most noteworthy, you will be in charge of everything, which is fresh and exciting.
C. No limits
When you own your mobile truck food business, there is no limit to what you can do. You can sell, earn, and work the way you want to. It means you can go beyond your limits, make more, and surpass your target to become the best you can it the business.
Here, no one will dictate to you what time to work and hen to rest. There is no specific place of work for you. You can change locations and can sell at any time of the day. That makes you flexible to do what best to increase sales.
Step- by- step guide on How to Start a Food Truck Business
While it sounds exciting to have your own truck business, it is not all about having a truck and a menu. There is more to it. Not only should you think of the sales, but you should also think about regulations, marketing, the planning, and not forgetting the target customer.
Similarly, you need to be knowledgeable about what it involves so that you can prepare yourself. According to many in the industry, understanding the business before you go ahead and have one gives you an understanding of what to expect. The following points are the crucial steps you may need to follow before you can sell your first item on the menu:
1) Know your target market
For you to be successful in the business, you need to know the potential customers, the competitors in the market and the spaces to park the truck. The information will be handy before you go ahead to the other steps. How will you get the information? You will get through doing research.
Your potential customers are the one who will buy from you. What do they want? That is the question you should have in mind. Hence, it will dictate what to have on the menu and the kind of theme to use in the business.
Knowing your competitors makes you better. Therefore, you must have an idea about their menu, theme, and the area they operate. You don’t want to go to a site where four other food trucks offering the same menu items as you, do you? That is why you need to do your research.
Check out the rules and regulations governing the place you will be operating. They are paramount, and you should not ignore them. The fee paid for parking, health inspections, and other licenses you must have. They can hinder your operation, so you had better take care of the matter before starting your sales.
2) Know your funding
It is true that starting a food truck business is less expensive than having a restaurant, but do you have the funds? If not, how are you in to raise the money, you may need for the business? However, there can be several ways in which you can do it. You can obtain a loan from the bank, use your saving or go ahead and borrow from relatives and friends. Whichever the way you use to get the money, make sure you have enough.
3) Buy the truck
It is the next essential thing to do. That is where you will be operating. You should never compromise the quality of the truck to get for your business. Go for the best in the market. That means investing in a new vehicle with all the kitchen equipment in place.
While you have options of leasing or getting a second hand one, getting a new car saves the agony of constant repairs and restrictions that comes with leasing one. With a new one, you will operate for longer without any mechanical hitches.
What should you look for in a truck?
A truck should have the following:
A fully functioning refrigerator and an oven
Hot and cold water flowing
Fire extinguishers(if required in your country)
First aid kit
Cleaning sink and materials
Proper storage for food items
Enough cargo and working area
A right food truck should be able to sustain all the power needs of the business. A standby generator should also be there in case of a power failure. However, once you have a truck from the best truck dealer in the industry, take insurance to cover it.
With the truck in place, you can go ahead and design it with the logo and concept you shall choose. Likewise, be creative when painting and drawing because that is what the customers will see before they have a taste of your food.
4) Choose name and concept
Go ahead and choose the name of your business and the idea you want to bring out. While choosing them, do it according to your interest and experience. They are the one that will determine the logo, truck design, menu, and the pricing of the food to sell.
The name determines the logo. It should be conspicuous and attractive. Make it simple and colorful to attract people from far. An exciting logo makes people take photos and share so the more they do it, the more they will market your work.
Choose a concept that the public will accept. Thus, you can choose to go organic, have Asian cuisines, or choose to have pizzas and burgers. What you want will end up determining the price at which you will sell the food items on your menu. Choose wisely.
5) Prepare a business plan
It is quite challenging to operate a business without laying it out. You need to write down how you are going to run the business. It includes how you are going to start, run, and grow the venture into a successful one. To do that you need to:
• Describe your business. Write down what it is all about, the concept behind it and the idea in details.
• Write down the market analysis. Your target group and how the business is going to be successful.
• Organization and management plan. How are you going to run the business? Write down the hours of operation, location, the number of employees, and how you are going to run it into a successful venture.
• State your product line. Write down the menu, ingredients to use to makes the items in it, the cost of making each item and the price against it.
• Market plan. How are you going to market the business? Which mode are you going to advertise yourself? State all that.
• State down the funds here that you will get to run the business. At the end of the sales, what expenses will you incur, the profit and loss you will make?
6) Register your business
Before you start driving around with your truck, you need to register your business before you start operations. Various licenses depend on your location and country. Therefore, consult your local government for an insight into how you are going to register the business.
Follow the due process and ensure you have all the necessary papers. When it comes to health matters, ensure the truck is fit for health inspection. It might take a while or a short time before you get all the documents in order but is worth it.
7) Design the menu
It is what makes the customer come to your truck for food. For that reason, place it in a strategic place for all to see. Make it attractive and straightforward to read. State the menu items and prices clearly. If you can, use photos of the dishes for customers to salivate before they order.
In most trucks, they place the menu at the side of the cart. The color and design of the menu board should be similar to create a harmonized look. Remember to state broadly the items that are on offer or new on the board for all to see.
8) Market your food truck
Now that your business is set, you have to get the ball rolling. With the menu items, you can go ahead and market your business. Are you wondering Where to sell it? Use the following ways:
• Use social media. It is one of the largest, useful, and most effective strategies. Create social media counts and make people follow you. Through the accounts, you can go ahead and advertise your brand to the public. That is by sharing menu items, dish photos, and hat you have on offer. You can even take fresh pictures of your truck to show customers what to expect.
• Create a website and post blogs and adverts about your brand.
• Participate in your local food fairs and highlight what you are selling. You can offer some free samples for people to have a taste of what you are making.
• Use billboards and media. Using your attractive logo, you can elect billboards on strategic places for people to see. You can also use T.V and radio to spread the news.
9) Start selling
Once the public is aware of what you sell, they will be eager and glad to have a taste of your delicious dishes. Take note that the business is involving. As a result, it requires you to be aggressive to make good sales. Be present at the place where the public is and make sure you offer the best for them to come for more.
Once you establish yourself, think of how you are going to expand. Create branded t-shirts, caps, and bags for your customers. Let them share it so that the brand can have popularity everywhere. Make more appearances with a large gathering. If your prices are right, you will have a share of the customers.
Over to you!
It is easier to dream, think, and anticipate having a food truck business, but it is not a walk in the park. That is because it involves more than having delicious items on the menu. So, you need to learn to become the best.
Knowing the reason why the business is right for you motivates you. Once that prompts you, reading this step-by-step guide will teach you what it takes to have a successful food truck. With the information, you can go ahead and enjoy your dream job and the fruit of your labor.
We hope this guide has provided enough information about this business. Well, it is not in-depth, though. We will have to consider every aspect of this promising business right from its top up to the bottom.
In the next sections of this book, we will discuss the food truck business from all possible corners.
How to Pick a Right Food Truck?
Now that you want to kick start your food truck business, do you know what kind of truck you are going to buy? Do you know what factors you should look for before you go ahead and buy one? Well, you don’t have to worry about yourself, reading along will give you an insight.
Getting the right truck, cart, or trailer for your business can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t have someone expert to guide you through the process of buying. That is because each vehicle is unique to serve you, depending on what you need. How do you know what type of truck is best for your business?
Understanding Food Carts, Food trucks, and Food Trailers
It is an overwhelming puzzle that you need to solve through going through what you want. Do you need ample working space, what are you willing to spend and where will you find the best? Those are some of the questions in your mind, right?
Before you go ahead and write that check, know that you are investing a large chunk of money for the vehicle, do you know the options available. To start a mobile food vending, you will choose from the following types of vehicles:
A. Food Cart
It is a vehicle that is best for beginners since it has a low maintenance cost. They are easier to move around since you can tow them along to your location. The only disadvantage is that they are small with a small working place. It is the least to go for if you will be serving for many people.
B. Food truck
The food truck is more popular and appropriate to use. They have a working space of 14-34 feet. They have enough room for you to cook and serve the menu items. Depending on what you are cooking, its area is enough for you or need a bigger one. With engine and without engine are both your options depends on your real situation. Retro food truck copies are also an very nice concept for your food business if you have a fix place for selling.
C. Food trailer
They are larger than the food cart and truck. They have enough space for you and extra workers to work in comfortably. Just like a food truck, you can tow the trailer to your location and serve a more significant crowd food while you cook, making it the best if you have plans of expanding.
5 Factors to Weigh When Getting a Food Truck
Now that you know the options that you have, do you know what you should look at before getting one? For you to be able to choose the best vehicle for you, look at the following factors:
1) Type of food in the menu
What are you serving to your customers? The items in the board will dictate how much space you need in the truck. Go through it, what it takes to make each dish and the utensils you will need to make the meal. Do you have that in mind?
After looking at what you will be cooking and the process involved, you should look at the space you need to store the ingredients and utensils to make the items. Having all that in mind will give you an idea of how much space you require before you purchase the vehicle.
2) Location to Sell
Where you decide to park your truck is a deal or break for you. Getting the right place means constant sales and an increase in income. What is the size of the parking space and the laws governing food truck parking in that specific area?
Carts are small, so they will be flexible to maneuver all over. They are useful in small parking spaces and convenient when you have a small space. Trucks and trailers require a bigger space. Also, look at the laws on food truck parking. You may find the law favors trucks and trailers more than carts.
They are the center of your business. Considering them will be paramount in making your business a success. What do the customers of that area prefer? What they like will show in the menu and that the items will dictate whether you need little space or a large one.
How many are they? The crowd also determines the kind of vehicle you will purchase. If the group is significant, it can be demanding. You will require a larger space to cook as you serve and help hence you may need to go for a truck or trailer.
It all goes back to the price. You may need a trailer, but you can afford a cart for now. What you willing to spend on the vehicle depends on the capital you have. Remember that your food truck is where all businesses take place, make sure you get the best.
Purchase a well-maintained if possible new vehicle. Not only will it save you from regular closure due to breaking down, but it will also reduce management cost because you will not have to repair it regularly. It may cost you, but it will be worth it.
5) The food truck manufacture
Yes, who are reputable when it comes to selling well-fitted and maintained vehicles? You should buy the cart, truck, or trailer from manufacturers that offer the best. The best means the ones with modern kitchen fittings and who provide a suitable warranty. How do you know them?
You can check online for reputable companies and manufacturers. Look at the customer feedback and how they rate their products. You can also ask for a piece of better advice from veterans in the industry. They have enough experience to help you get the right truck.
You show your seriousness of setting up a food truck business through buying the truck. There are three main options to take from, depending on the working space, storage, and special fittings you need. Each comes with unique designs and scope to suit your needs.
For a first-timer, the process does not have to be stressful. With the above five factors to consider before buying a food truck, you will have an easier time picking the right vehicle for your business. Evaluate them carefully and finally buy one to start your business.
Overall Set Up and Investment Cost of Food Truck Business
Now that you have set up your mind to have a food truck business, do you know what it cost you to have one? Yes, it is a beautiful idea. There are many success stories from others in the business, but do you know that costs you incur to have the venture up and running? Well, read and learn.
Before you get to the real business, it is obvious to have Capital. For you to have an estimate of the amount you need to raise, it is advisable to have a list of how you spend the money to have a rough estimation. A well-written business plan helps you here. According to it, the Capital is for:
1. Getting a truck
The actual truck is where you operate. It is the most obvious and takes most of the money. That is because whether you decide to have a second-hand vehicle or a new one, it becomes s costly affair. You spend a lot to have a truck that is in good condition.
After you get the truck, you have to design the interior, decorate exterior using your theme and logo, and to outfit with the necessary equipment, which cost you a large chunk of the Capital. Through prices, vary depending on the manufacturer. Investing in a new truck is worth since it lasts longer.
2. Licenses and permits
After having a truck to operate from, you must get all the permissions are permits according to the state and country you live. They are all necessary and part of your start. The cost of each varies depending on where you will operate your business. You will spend on the following:
• Business registration
• Vehicle registration
• A health permit
• Food truck parking permit
• Business and vehicles insurance
Overlooking one of the above may mean you are getting in trouble with the law. The process is involving, and you might pay processing fees to get all the papers in order. Some require renewal now and then hence need money aside as a revolving cost.