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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.
After having a truck and every document in order, the next expense is of inventory. It is obvious to have the cash to buy foods to make dishes for the customers. While it is hard to know the expert amount, estimating makes you have a rough estimate on what to set aside.
A functioning kitchen must have cooking wares to prepare and cook the food. You also have to buy serving ware to serve the dishes for the customers. Set aside cash for cooking pots, knives, spoons, napkins, plates, and anything else that make preparing easy and fast.
How will you get to your customers to increase sales? That is where an effective marketing strategy comes in handy. With some much competition, your marketing needs to be up the game to get a larger share of the customers. It means spending must in a most effective marketing tool, which is social media.
Social media presence is vital, which means interacting with customers of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram through fresh photos and random posts. You might have to do it yourself or hire a digital marketer for a more aggressive marketing campaign, and that cost you. You also need cash for.:
• Mobile phones and internet connection.
• Flexible and effective POS registration.
• Customer loyalty.
• Website and logo designing.
It is a recurring cost you incur every time you are moving around. Whether to your location, to a trade fair or a public park, the truck needs gas. It is an expense that requires you to set cash aside. You might not know how much you need when you start, but as you grow, you will have the exact amount in mind.
6. Hiring and training
You might be thinking of starting it small with only you and your partner operating the truck business. As the business grows and the queue gets longer, you need to have a skilled professional to help you. That means additional cost on your part that needs cash aside.
You might think of having slightly skilled employees and train them. Also, your preference may require them to have a uniform like caps, branded t-shirts, or aprons, which cost money to have. Setting money aside makes hiring easier for you.
7. Any other spending
Even after setting cash aside for expense is not enough, it is advisable to have extra money for any additional cost that you have not made a plan for. That is to avoid awkward situations of looking for cash after all spending all.
You might need a mechanic for a tire puncher, bench break, and you need repair services, or you need to add something to make business more effective and productive. Always have extra cash for any expense you hadn’t planned.
Where to get Capital to start up a food truck business?
With the high expenses in mind, you have the estimate of the amount of Capital you need. Where do you get it? Planning means knowing where you get the funding for the business. You can start small and go big as the profit comes. Use one of the following suitable methods to get the Capital you need:
• A loan from a bank if you have a good credit standing
• Look for a sponsor if your business involves a lot of community work
• Borrow from family and friends
So, what’s next?
You have the dream, passion, and the skills to start up a food truck business, but it is obvious you need Capital to start things rolling. Before you go ahead and look for cash or funding, it is always advisable to have a rough estimate of where you spend the money.
It is not like starting a business in a stone and motor building, but to have your truck business running and bringing you profit, you spend a lot too. The above gives you a highlight of where the Capital goes to make the business a success.
We hope that you will calculate the overall cost depending on your needs. To make your task more comfortable, in the next chapter of this book, we will be discussing different commercial equipment that you may need in the long run.
Commercial Equipment Needed to Start a Food Truck
Are you gearing up to start your own food truck business? Do you have the food truck already? To get things started, you need to design the interior of the truck to fit in the equipment necessary to prepare and serve the items on your menu. Are you wondering what you are assumed to buy?
Just like any other restaurant, to start up your mobile food vending business, you need to install a commercial kitchen in the truck. Depending on the space available, the law requires you to build in a cooking area, chilling, serving, and serving area.
Before you do that, you need to evaluate the space available and the items on the menu that you are going to serve. Are you going to prepare everything on sight, or are you going to do it somewhere else and come with prepared food in the truck?
Characteristics of the best equipment
Do you know the specific qualities of the right appliances to fit in your truck? Installing the machine will cost you much money. How do you understand you have the best commercial equipment? They should have the following characteristics:
Never compromise on the quality of what you are about to install. That’s because getting the right quality goes a long way in ensuring you have long-lasting equipment in your truck that will save you from constant repairs and replacement. How do you know a good quality?
That is where a professional comes in. They have experience and knowledge to know which is the best stove, griller, freezer, or counter surface to have. Moreover, they can understand what will suit well in your truck to give you the service you need.
How well is the equipment serving its purpose? Is the knife rack holding the knives ell, is the freezer functioning like it should? A good machine works efficiently to make work more manageable in the truck. So, if you have the right quality, efficiency won’t be an issue.
Unlike in the restaurant where space is big, having a commercial kitchen installed in a truck can be hectic. Therefore, everything must conform and be in the right area so as not to crowd the truck. For that reason, you should purchase equipment that suits your food truck.
The freezers, cooker, sink, surfaces, and everything else should be in the space allocated by the designer. Thus, you must have specific measurements when buying to make sure you don’t get a large or smaller appliance for your truck kitchen.
You are spending much money when buying the truck and installing the right equipment. Furthermore, you need something that will stay for long without replacing. However, it might cost you a lot to buy a freezer and installing it. Also, having one that will not require replacement will save you money and time.
A food truck should open every day of the week; it means you must have functional equipment to serve you. A day of replacing any of them involves a day without working, which is not economical for the business.
Look for the best deal for the equipment you need. Yes, each is expensive, but that does not mean everything expensive is of the right quality. Most noteworthy, buy in bulk from one supplier to get the best price. You can also use your designer when shopping so that he or she can give you tricks on how to get the best at a fair price.
8 commercial equipment you must have
For your truck to be fully functional, you need to utilize every space available. Use a professional to ensure you get all the essential equipment to aid you in ease storage, preparation, cooking meals, and serving of the food. The given below are eight necessary commercial equipment you may need to start a food truck:
1. Electrical and plumbing equipment
Operation in the food truck depends on the electrical and plumbing supply. That is because most cooking, storing, and preparing will mostly rely on the supply. While most vehicles come fully equipped, you need to do that yourself in some.
If you don’t have any backup power plan, you need to have a generator installed. Likewise, it would certainly be best if you also had a water tank to supply water in the truck. Contacting the right supplier will help ensure the proper installation.
2. Storage equipment
Making your truck appealing to the eyes of the customer is the first thing to making sure they dine in your truck. To make that happen, you need to have enclosed cabinets and cupboards for storing paper and non-perishable goods.
Cooking things like salt, sugar, spices, and other dry ingredients you regularly use when cooking should be in one place. Additionally, they should be easily accessible and in a dry place. When fitting, make sure that all cabinets and cupboards have lockable doors.
They are necessary for storing perishable foods. Ingredients like meat, poultry, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Your designer needs to work with the available space to fit the right equipment for you.
While installing the coolant, ensure that they have proper ventilation and electrical supply. Besides, it should be lockable and have enough space to cater for all your perishable storage needs. It is a sure way of reducing the number of spoilt foods.
4. Preparation equipment
Cooking involves preparing. The cutting, grinding, peeling, and everything else that you need to do before cooking. Depending on the kind of meal you plan to serve, you need to evaluate whether you will be doing the preparation in a separate area or you will as you cook.
When it comes to preparing, the first thing that you should install is the preparing surface. Depending on the food you will be making, the inbuilt prep counters should be ample and made of food-friendly surface like stainless steel. Even more, avoid using wooden surfaces for ease of cleaning.
After making the counter, install the machines that will aid you in preparation. Depending on what you will be making, you can have:
• Blenders and food processors
• French fry cutter
• Knives and knife rack
• Skillet and frying pans
• Soda foundation
• Cotton candy machine
5. Cooking equipment
It is the real action turning ingredients into delicious dishes. For that reason, you need to have the best, most efficient equipment to aid you in cooking. Thus, depending on what you are cooking, you should go for countertops and full-size models because they are convenient for a small area.
Your designer should think of safety precautions when installing the cooking equipment. Enough ventilation and power supply goes in a long way to ensure your cooking goes smoothly without interruption. You can have either of the following cooking machines in the truck:
• Griddles or flat top grill
• Cheese Melter
• Deep fryer
6. Warm and holding equipment
For your customers to enjoy warm food at the right temperature, you need to use a warming area. It is from the area that you serve the customers food for them to eat. So, it holds the menu item at appetizing temperatures until the customer gets it.
It is quite imperative if you don’t want to keep on warming food. Some foods spoil hen temperature changes, so they need the holding equipment. You can have the following items to heat and hold the dishes:
• Container food warmer
• Fry dump station
• Soup warmer kettle
7. Serving/service indoor
It is essential for dispatching food to customers. The window, which is supposed to open and close, should be flexible to do so. Moreover, it should be safely screwed and conspicuous for customers to see the face and make orders easily.
8. Sanitation equipment
First of all, anything concerning food should be clean. After a day of sales, you need to clean and return everything in order. For that to happen, you should have cleaning aids to help you do so. The first thing to ensure a clean truck is the sink.
Three compartments sink, hand sink, and a wet area floor mat is an excellent start to the cleaning process. For you and your employees to have an easy time when washing, having everything at the right place will give you morale. So, have specific areas to keep the following:
• Cleaning products
• Scrub brushes
• Cleaning clothes
To Wrap Up!
For your food truck business to be functional, it must have all the essential commercial equipment to help you in cooking and serving the customers. Seeking professional advice from a designer is a sure way to get the right fittings for the truck and the one that will meet the proper safety and health standards.
To make sure you have the best, reading the above 8 essential commercial equipment, you need to start a food truck business gives you an idea of what you need to buy. Finally, customers expect you to have the best, so make sure you spend time getting the right quality equipment.
How to write and Implement a Food Truck, Trailer, and Cart Business Plan?
Getting your first food truck business up and running seems like an exciting adventure, right? If everything that you want falls into place, then it looks like a dream come true. A well-fitted truck, projected customers, and location in mind, what is remaining? Well, having a business plan is something you should consider.
Do you know how to write a great business plan and how to implement it? It is essential for you to know how to write a compelling, catchy business plan and how to implement it. That is why you need to follow the following 10 golden tips on how to write and implement an effective business plan:
1) Know the purpose
First of all, you must know the use of your business plan. Why do you need to write a business plan? So, knowing the goal will help you understand how to tailor the proposal to suit your need. You may decide to write a business plan for the following reasons:
To guide you
A business plan acts as a guide in any business. 65% of business owners who write a business plan have a chance of succeeding. Also, a laid down plan makes sure your business stay on the truck and achieves the goals set.
You probably need a financial boost from investors or a financial institution. However, how do you manage to convince them how serious you are about your business? Thus, a business plan will aid you to show investors and a bank how your business runs and why you need the money.
2) Do your research
Once you establish the purpose of your business plan, it’s time to do your research. So, you need to have the right and correct data from the ground before you put down into the paper. Getting the right information increases the chances of achieving the purpose of the business plan.
Go to the ground and know what the customers like, which location is suitable, what are the laws governing such a business, who are the competitors, and how can you outdo them. Moreover, the information will come in handy when writing down the details of your business plan.
Before you get to the writing part, do you have all the documents to support your words? Having evidence of what is write shows how serious you are with the business. You keep records of what you do, right? It is time you go through your files and have all the papers in order.
Are you looking for funds? Go to your bank and obtain all the financial records. All your receipts, paying invoices, and financial dealings in the past 3-5 years. Most noteworthy, if you want to seek financial help, you need to show how you spend cash in the business.
4) Get down to writing
Now that you have all the data and statistics, it’s time to put it down. Do you know how to write a business plan? Furthermore, a good business plan should be simple, comprehensive, and easy to understand. Also, you should not keep the investor guessing on what you are trying to say.
With that point in mind, you should also remember that a good business plan should be realistic and portray the real picture of what your business is. Be true to the statistics you have and write a draft that clearly states what your business is all about. To do that, follow the following standard elements:
It is an overview of your business. The simple, compelling beginning is to make the reader aware of the mission of your business. Likewise, it should attract the potential reader by giving a glimpse of what the business plan is all about. State why you think the market is the best idea and your experience.
Here, you get to business. State your business analysis, your location, legal name, and style. Even more, state what you want to create with the company and make the reader understand the concept behind the business.
It is where you write the marketing strategy depending on your research findings. Whom are you going to serve? What makes the best target and how are you going to reach them. Here, state your competitors. What are their weakness, strength, and how you are going to be better than they are?
Management and ownership
If you are seeking financial help, the potential investor wants to know who owns what in the business. Therefore, state down who owns what percentage of the company. You can also mention how you manage it by stating your roles.
You must state what you are selling. What are the items on the menu? How do you make them? The ingredients and the process of making them. If you have plans of making changes in the list, state it here for the reader to know.
Marketing and sales strategy
State how you are going to make the public are of your existence. What methods are you using to advertise yourself? What are the challenges, and how is it useful? Hence, that will show your efforts in making sure the business sells to the public.
Show how you run your business every day, at what time do you open and close. Do you operate all the days of the month? Do you have employees who help you in the errands? State them clearly for the reader to see and understand.
If you are looking for an economic boost, here is the place you show clarity in your financial statements. Where do you get the funding for the business? The cash flow of every day and the expenses incurred. Additionally, declare the projected income and what you want to achieve in a certain period.
5) Offer solution
Your business plan aims to guide you through your operations and impress investors. To do that, you must offer solutions to whatever hindrances there is in the business plan. Thus, it shows how committed you are to keep the business running.
Furthermore, you can also explain how you counter your competitors, how you may lower the operation cost, how you are going to have an effective marketing strategy, and how you intend to use the finances in case you get the loan. A business plan should always show how you overcome obstacles during your operation.
6) Keep it simple and clear
Like mentioned earlier, you don’t want potential investors to keep on guessing what you are trying to say. They may end up getting it the wrong way. State the business plan in clear and simple lines. Explain every element in it and be comprehensive in almost every step.
7) Tailor to suit your audience
Just like mentioned in tip number 1, you need to know the purpose of the business plan. That’s because it will help you design the policy to suit your need. The two paramount aim of a business plan is to keep you on track and seek financial help from investors and financial institution.
If your business plan is for keeping you on track, state how you will perform and work towards your set goals. How are you going to increase sales and overcome the weakness? If it is for financial purposes, then be convincing of how the economic boost will be of help to your business.
8) Seek professional help
Once you finish with the draft, keep it aside and go through it after a day or two. Look whether there are any details that you left out. Also, check to see if the business plan is simple, conclusive, and convincing. Once you ensure that, look for a professional to make the final copy.
A professional is an expert in this field. He or she will be able to pinpoint any mistake, add any left out part, and add any professionalism needed to make the final copy worth the audience attention. He or she will be able to come up with an exceptional final print for you to keep.
Finally, once you have the final copy, it is time to implement the business plan. If it is for seeking a loan, go ahead and get one from potential investors or your financial institution. If it is to guide you, start by doing what you put into writing and continue doing it until you succeed.
10) Follow up
Occasionally, look at the business plan and reflect on your business performance. Evaluate whether you are achieving what that is in the business plan. If you astray, refer to the policy to see what the initial one was and stick to it.
Remember, owning a food truck business is not just about having a truck and menu items to sell. It requires you to know about how you are going to operate the business. A business plan will help you keep track of your business and aid you if you want financial help from investors and institutions.
The above ten golden tips on how to write and implement the food truck business will guide you on how you are going to write a simple effective and comprehensive business plan to help you and impress investors into investing in your business.
Now, it's time that we should talk about the SWOT analysis. Let's jump to the next section right away!
How to Use SWOT Analysis to Plan the Future of Your Truck Food Business?
It takes much work to have a food truck business up and running. It involves many sleepless nights, many sacrifices and not to forget the hefty cash you had to part with to make sure the dream come to a reality. So, what is next? Well, it is to plan for the future.
To keep the business successful and better, you must analyze how it is doing now. How do you do that? It is through the use of a SWOT analysis. Many businesses use the strategy to grow more and plan for the future. Do you know what it entails and how to develop it? Read more and know how to use it in your business.
What is a SWOT analysis?
You may ask, right? SWOT analysis is simply a way of planning your business future. The initial, which stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats, helps every truck owner know where the business stands and where it is heading. To develop it in your business, you need to look at it individually:
Looking at business strength helps you to know its current market position. As a truck business owner, what do you have that makes you stand out or what is it that you do that your competitors don’t. Your strength is in being unique in the following:
• Location. Do you park in a place where there is no other competitor? Do you have the largest share of the customers due to it? That is your strength right now.
• Theme. You may be offering a unique item to the public that others aren’t. Your dishes are bringing more people to your truck. A novel idea makes any food truck stands out as many people are always looking for exceptional food to eat.
• Customer care services. You might be having exceptional customer care services that your competitors don’t
Knowing your strength is the first step to planning the future of your business. It means you are doing something unique that your competitors aren’t.
Knowing the weak points in your business help, you know how to improve. Where is the weakness in your food truck venture? Improving makes your business better, brings more customers, and increase the revenue. The vulnerability can be in:
• Marketing. How are you marketing? Is it effective? A unique theme, location, and customer service are not useful if you have a weak marketing strategy. That might be your starting point to being better.
• Cash. Do you want to grow but money is hindering you? Growing involves new machines, skills, and workers. If it is money, it means getting funding from other sources to boost your business.
• More trucks on the street. More competitors are coming to the industry, and that is overshadowing your strength.
How do you remain up to the game? Focus on how to overcome weakness to stay relevant in the field.
You know your business is heading in the right directions when you can optimize every opportunity that comes on your way. Opportunities bring chances of business growth to greater heights. Opportunities can come in the form of:
• Hiring more skills employees who are experts in making particular food. A change in the menu to include new items could be hat your customer wants.
• Buying equipment. Does buying a machine make your work easier and increase your efficiency? If yes, invest in the device to increase sales. Go ahead and apply for a loan to have it if it means increasing your sales.
• A new school or a building in your location means more customers to serve. Take the chance and increase plates, capacity, and items on the menu.
For you to grow and be better, utilize every opportunity that comes on your way. It might be what your business wants to grow.
It is to identify the challenges you might face in the future. Knowing them to prepare and gives ideas of how you handle the problems when they arise. Threats also act as pillars to make the business secure if you identify them early. Challenges you might face include:
• More competitors. Another truck may notice your idea and come with the same theme and concept of taking your customer away. You must be ready if such a thing happens. What will be your strategy if it ever happens?
• Increase in operational cost. The cost of operations may go up. It means you are chipping in deeper to your pocket to run the business. Are you setting cash aside for such eventualities? If not, start doing it now. Food cost may go high or gas prices, it does not mean you should cross the business but rather adjust.
• Change in trend. Today there might be customers in the queue and tomorrow there isn’t. Prepare yourself for such eventualities in the future. Customers may grow to like a different type of food that you don’t offer, what will you do? Prepare well.
• Restriction. With more trucks surfacing to the business, the local government may decide to make more rules and restrictions for you to follow. It might mean paying more or adjusting food trucks more to adhere to change in standard, that can be a threat that can do or break your business.
• Take risks positively. They are to warn you to prepare for any changes. Preparing means you will be secure when such happenings happen, and you will come out strong and better.
Back to you!
For a business to remain stable and better, it means applying different tactics like SWOT analysis. Identifying your business Strength and Weakness is the first step to knowing Opportunities and Threat ahead of you to prepare.
Apply the analysis in your food truck business, follow them systematically, and see your business grow to a greater height. What determines a business growing or breaking are the above SWOT elements. Study them keenly and always refer to them when you want to solve an issue in your business.
Essential Things You Must Know About Starting Food Truck Business
In this section of our article, we will talk about the success and failures. What are the top myths about Food Truck, Cart, or Trailer Business? What is the Success Mantra to grow from failure? And a lot more!
Well, all of us know that starting a food truck business is a perfect idea, especially if you dream of having a restaurant in the future. Taking food to potential customers has proven to be profitable, and many people are venturing into the business. Do you have the same interest too?
It sounds simple, right? Owning a food truck and having skills in cooking delicious food may not be all you need to have a successful business. You need to learn from the rest and have an idea of what the industry involves.
Learning makes you aware, helps you evaluate and weigh if it is the best business for you. For you to make the decision, you need to know the following facts:
1. Do you have the passion?
Starting a food truck business can be exciting. It’s your dream come true and a sure way of earning from it. However, what most people venturing into it don’t know is that it involves a lot. You will have to work almost all the days of the week and have special skills to make unique dishes. Are up for the task?
Do you have a passion for cooking, attending to customers, and how hard are you willing to work to realize your dream? Answering these crucial questions will be the first step into making sure you are making the right decision. Passion is key to success in the business.
2. Are you willing to work hard?
It is the second question you need to ask yourself. If you are the type of personality that will delegate work to workers and take a nap for the day, the venture isn’t for you. Also, if you are not willing to work extra hard to succeed, you had better save the money and venture into something else.
In the business, you will run up and down for suppliers, sleep late hours while planning the menu, wake up early to prepare and cook the dishes. When the customers come, you will be up and down serving them. When you think the day is over, cleaning and paperwork await you.
Yes, you might have the passion, but are you willing to work hard? The success of any business wholly depends on the efforts you put into it. That is why you have to evaluate yourself and know your drive to the market and whether you are willing to work hard every day of the week.
3. About the business plan
A business plan is a precisely written document of how you are going to run your truck business. It highlights your goals, strategy, marketing plan, profit, losses, and finances and how you are going to grow. It is very vital in any business to keep it on its feet and to woe investors.
Writing a business plan requires you to take time. A good one has all the details about your business so to make sure you don’t miss on something, set time aside for it. After writing all the details down, you require a professional to polish it up for you before you go ahead and use it.
For any truck business to succeed, the site is vital. If a truck owner chooses the wrong area to operate, it could be the end of the food-vending venture. That is why researching before you settle on a particular site is vital.
Who are your potential customers? Which area are they in and what are the laws guiding the city and food vending? Answering the questions will take you to the right location. Before you settle on the place, you need to talk to the area regulation officer to know the licenses you need.
Permits vary depending on state or country. Some areas have limits to the number of food vendors they allow, and others favor carts more than trucks and trailers. Do your research to know what the law provides before you decide on a location.
Don’t underestimate the cost of starting a food truck business. Just because it is not in a building, it does not mean you need less money to start the venture. In some instant, you might need to get a loan from a bank or potential investors. Are you wondering what the money is for?
The first thing that will cost you is a truck, cart, or trailer. A proper functioning truck, wagon, or cart must be new to give you service for a more extended period. You might opt to rent an old one, but the cost of maintaining the vehicle can cost you somewhat more than buying a new one so, buying is a good option.
Once you have a new one from a good supplier, you need them to fit the right commercial equipment for it to function as a restaurant. It means buying freezers, grillers, oven, toasters, and everything for an operating kitchen, which cost you much money depending on the size of your truck.
Once the business is up and running, you need money for recurring expenses. You will buy suppliers every day, gas to take you to your location and to pay workers who help you out. To cover all that, prepare yourself and set the right amount of money before you start the process of opening the business.
6. Health and safety
Depending on the country you are in, states are very keen on the health and safety of truck businesses. Some rules and regulations govern every food vending business, and you must obey and abide by the states, how do you do that?
You do that by installing the right equipment in the truck. The rules state that specific hygiene and safety appliances must be there. They include fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and first aid kits. Working with a local health inspector to guide you on what they expect of your truck before it starts to function will be your best option.
7. Permits and licenses
There are very high standards set for food vendors that every food truck business owner to meet before getting permits and licenses. Once your truck has all the necessary fittings and passes the inspection, applying for the grants is the next step.
Be ready because it will cost you money to get the permits and licenses. The cost depends on the country or state. Enquire from the legal government offices for an assistant. You might want to start this process quicker because it takes time for you to have all the papers.
8. About the theme
Food trucks are more than burgers and ice creams. Long gone are the days when people thought trucks are for ice screams and burgers only. With the changing of time, there is a lot you can sell from your food truck, depending on what your customer needs.
Take note that theme makes you sell more, stand out from the crowd, and make customers come to your truck. It is paramount to choose the one that will increase your daily sales. To do that, do your research to know more about the market.
Who are your top competitors in the industry, and what are they selling? How will you stand out? What do the customers want different? The concept is crucial since it will determine how you design the truck and how you are going to market your food truck.
Think outside the box, there are so many themes out there that are unique, and people will like. Be different, think about the customers and the skills you have to come up with a simple cost friendly theme that the customers will love to have.
9. Social media and your food truck
If you are not on social media, its time you get on board and learn how to use them as a marketing tool. Many big food truck companies have had to learn how to use social media to increase sales. Being on Twitter and Facebook will be an advantage to you.
Potential customers are on the platforms. They are following trending events and pages. Creating your food truck page is a beautiful way of making them follow you. Once they do that, you can take the chance of marketing yourself by offering discounts and exclusive sales.
Many successful truck companies use social media to market, and they testify it is a powerful tool for marketing. They post pictures of dishes, the truck, and the locations they operate for customers to find them easily. Before you start, opening a social media page will do you good.
In any business environment, there is bound to have the competition. It is healthy as it makes every business be on its toes to be better all the time. The food truck world is no different. There are many trucks on the street selling food just as you are about to.
Be respectful to your competitors. Accept them and embrace them because you have a lot to learn from them if you want to grow in the industry. Be cordial when dealing with them and always make peace when together.
Once you know what they offer, outshine them by providing the best. You are competing for the same crowd of customers. For you to have the most significant portion, be unique in the theme you choose, menu items, and the way you treat your customers.
Do you intend to work alone on the truck? Well, it is possible when you are starting the business, but as time goes by, it will be overwhelming for you. With an increase in sale, you need to be efficient, and that means having an assistant by employing someone.
To be lenient on your expenses when starting, look for an intern and train them to assist you. The right side of them is they are not always after money but the experience they gain from working in your truck. Before you grow and consider having full-time employees, making use of interns sound economical.
Who said there are no challenges in the truck business? It might surprise you to know that 60% of truck business owners don’t succeed. They close the shop within the first three years. Do you want to be one of them? Off course not, right? The statistics should not scare you.
Embrace that there are difficulties in the venture. There is whether changes, you expect to be sunny but the rains suddenly show up. Mechanical hitches are always there, especially if you decide to go for an old truck, and customer flow is not still constant, you might through away some food.
In your business plan, you state where you anticipate the business to be in five or ten years. Work hard and grow the business, so, if you start with a truck, long for a food truck, to a trailer and eventually in your restaurant. Growth will motivate you to work hard to be better.
14. Professional help
Many truck owners go wrong for thinking they have it all. Having cash, a new truck, and some skills do not make you successful. You need a professional to guide you in the field. Asking for help means, you want expert’s attention on some details that you are not sure.
Once in the field, it would be best if you had a professional hand in your business plan, designing your theme items and truck and financial matters. It aid you avoid common mistakes that can lead you to business closure before you enjoy returns.
That’s all you need to know, so what else remains?
For every food truck owner, venturing into the field has many uncertainties. With so many succeeding, others fall out of business after a while.
Therefore, before you go ahead and invest your money, reading wide and doing research will aid you.
Taking your time and asking yourself hard questions will lead you to make the crucial decision. The above 12 things about starting a food truck business will guide you on what you should be conscious about before you go ahead and make your dream come true.
Myths about Food Truck, Cart, or Trailer Business
Having an interest in the food truck business means you need to learn a lot. Having fantastic cooking skills, capital, and a new truck may not be enough. You must learn from others in the industry to know what it takes to run a successful business. Do you know about the myth in the venture? If not, follow this post to know.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs have come into the business and become successful in it while others unfortunately fail. Each entrepreneur has a story to tell about their experience in the industry. Some are true, others are not, and they are to scare you or make you learn a thing or two.
For you to understand the food vending industry, you must learn about the myths, and whether they are true or not. The following points are the top ten myths about the food truck, cart, or trailer business you should know and the fact behind each:
Myth#1: Starting and running the venture is easy
Many potential business people enter the market, thinking it is an easy venture to get into. They think all you need is a food truck and unique items in the menu board and you are in for a profitable venture. What they don’t realize is that it involves many different factors.
Fact: Yes, you need capital, a well-fitted truck, and unusual menu item to start the business, but it is not easy to run. When you start the business, you will have to work almost all the days of the week to keep it up and running.
You may think that since you have employees, you will have an easy time doing it, but according to experts in the field, your presence and efforts are necessary to make the truck business succeed. It is probably demanding than any other. You will make it if you commit yourself.
Myth#2: Just because you have a passion for cooking, you will succeed in the food truck business
People love your kitchen skills at home. You are an amazing host and make delicious dishes when you have friends and families over. Your kids love it when you are in the kitchen because what you cook makes them crave for more. Is that enough to have a food truck business?
Fact: Your amazing skills will come in handy when making the items on the menu, but it is not enough. You will have to undergo the stress of raising the capital you need to buy a full fitted truck, researching to find out the most appropriate location and the licenses you need to start up this business.
Myth#3: You will be wealthy; thanks to the food truck business!
Relatives will start borrowing your money and calling you a rich person since you have a truck down the street. They expect your lifestyle to change since they know owning the food truck business is instant riches. Well, here is the truth.
Fact: Food truck business is one of the thriving food-vending ventures today. Many are in the industry and are succeeding. You too can do that. To manage and make the cash to be wealthy, you need to have focus, dedication, hard work, and enough patience. Eventually, you will be rich like they presume.
It does not always turn out the way you expect. You might have everything in place and still flop in the business. Once that happens, you can choose to stand up, learn from the mistake, and try again or you can change to another venture. Not all great cooks own a food truck business. It might not be the field for you.
Myth#4: You need a loan or an investor to start up
There is the myth that you need to get a loan from a financial institution or an investor to fund your business. They believe that you need a lot of money to experiment and run to succeed. Before you go ahead and take that loan, read this.
Fact: The amount you require to start the food truck business is relatively low than what you need for a restaurant. You can raise the capital from your savings or borrow from friends and family to start. If you cannot, you have an alternative of asking for a loan or an investor to fund your business, do what suits you.
Myth#5: Being mobile means you have an advantage over a restaurant
It is an argument that raises among many restaurant owners. They see mobile carts, truck, and trailers as a hindrance to them having customers walking into their restaurants to dine with them. Before you go ahead and think you have the advantage, here is the truth.
Fact: Yes, being mobile gives you an advantage over the restaurants in your location. You can reach the customers easily than they can, but you must also remember quality matters. You must be able to impress your customers with quality food, customer service, and constant availability.
Myth#6: You don’t have to pay rent since you have a food truck
You might think that since you have a food truck, you escape the cost of paying rent. Or, you will be operating solemnly from the vehicle. The myth can be real or untrue depending on the kind of car you get, and here is why.
Fact: If you have a cart or some mode of the truck, you will need a station where you will be doing all the preparations before you go ahead and move to your location. That means renting a full kitchen. If you have a trailer which is large enough, you might have the advantage because it has all the space you need to cook as you serve your customers.
Myth #7: Food trucks sell in trendy areas only
It is a myth that many potential food truck owners have when they are venturing into the field. They believe that for them to thrive, they need to operate on trending locations. They ignore other areas and only concentrate on areas where people are talking about.
Fact: it is logical that an area is trending because many people are visiting the place. It means there can be a lot of traffic, and that is what every food truck business wants. You should have in mind is that although you might need a trending area, your competitors are looking for the same too. To be unique and serve without competition, look for areas with footpath but not trending.
Myth#8: Food Trucks causes traffic
It is another argument that restaurant owners use in an attempt to remove food truck owners from the street. They argue that food trucks cause traffic on the road. Since the owners park along the roads where they advertise, they generate traffic in that street.
Fact: Every food truck business must have an effective way of advertising and showing potential customers where they are. It means them using social media to drive traffic to the location, but, it does not mean they are the significant causes of traffic, there are many other causes of traffic on the streets.
Myth#9: No health inspection needed
You might go on to believe that since you are mobile and moving from street to another, you will escape necessary health inspection. Many people think that since they have a large trailer to operate from, the investigation is not required. Is that true or false?
Fact: It is false. Before you start up any truck food business, you must have all the necessary licenses to do so. It means undergoing all the required sanitary and health test to make sure your truck is up to the standard set. Whether mobile or not, you must undergo the inspection process to get the licenses you need.
Myth#10: You must have unique items in the menu to succeed
You probably think that having a truck and exclusive details on the menu are all you need. Just because you are offering tacos and your competitors have burgers, you will have an advantage over them when it comes to sales. Well, that can be true or false. Here is why.
Fact: You might be selling tacos but have poor customer’s services while others are offering burgers but excellent customer services. People will always go to a place where they will find all. Food and customer service means they will end up in the burger truck. You have a unique item on the menu, but it is not enough. You need to give more.
Before you venture into the thriving business, you need to know what others are talking about it. They might be true or false. You might wonder,” Why should I bother knowing what others are talking about?” Right? Well, knowledge is power.
You are about to invest your money into a business. You aim to make money and be successful in it. To do that, you must learn from those in the venture or have been to the business. The above top ten myths about the food truck, cart, or truck business will give you an insight of what to expect.
Success Mantra: Growing From Failure
Truck businesses have become businesses worth investing in. With over 60 % chances of succeeding, it makes sense to invest in the market if you have a passion for food and hospitality. Many investors in the industry have success stories of how food trucks changed their lives.
There is the other percentage that fails. Through no one wants to fail, sometimes failure is inevitable. So, what makes investors in the food truck industry collapse, and how do they overcome it? If you are already in the business or willing to venture in it, read keenly and learn.
5 Reasons Why Food Trucks Fails Sometimes
If you dream of running a successful business truck or you already have one, learning why people fail helps you know how best to avoid it from happening, and in case it happens, you know how to come out of it. The following are reasons why a food truck business fails.
1. Lack of a business plan
The idea of owning a food vending business excites many investors. They jump into it without going through the fundamentals that include having a business plan. What they don’t know is that a business plan is a guide to see them through when tough times come, and that is why they fail.
A business plan is very vital. It is like having the whole business in the form of a paper. In it, you state your business strategy, goals, funding, difficulties, and how to overcome them. If you don’t have the critical document, how are you going to know you are heading to the drain? That is one reason why you might fail.
2. The skills
Skills are vital in running a food vending business. Just like any other business, you need professionals to perform various tasks to keep the business running. Many truck owners assume that with a menu, a food truck, and cooking skills, they are good to run the show.
The truth is that you need expertise when it comes to handling other aspects like cooking exceptional cuisine, marketing, and even legal matters. You might not employ them permanently, but keeping them by your side helps when crises arise. If you don’t, you are doomed to fail.
Yes, you have all the Money you need to run a successful food truck, what can cause you to fail? Lack of budgeting. Many food vendors in the industry don’t keep basic accounting of daily spending. That is a killer since how do they know how much they are making and spending?
Having necessary accounting skills is vital in a food truck business, writing down all the expense, and balancing with income is the only way you can know whether you are making losses or profit. Failure to do that can make your business run out of Money and become broke, leading to closure.
4. Customer relation
How you handle a customer is a deal or break for the business. It is never enough to have delicious menu items and a well-designed truck. The way you talk, welcome, serve, and answer your customers goes a long way in determining whether they come back or not.
Here is the thing, if you have a unique menu, cool designs but treat customers with no respect, they go to the one with a regular theme but value customer and respect them. Customer relation can lead to business closure even before a week is over after opening.
As a food vendor, it is vital to let customers know of your existence. How do you do that? By having an aggressive marketing strategy. You must be and interact with potential customers, and the only way you do that is by being where they are. It includes social media, email marketing, and billboards. Remember that competitor is marketing and competing for the same customers that you are.
Many investors and truck owners ignore marketing. It turns out to be their biggest mistake because they end up cooking, and no one comes to dine. If you are not feeling to let customers know where you are, and what you are offering, how do you expect them to come? Lack of marketing makes you fail automatically.
How to Grow From Failure?
After all the hard work has gone to the drain, how do you move on from that? Knowing how to move on after a failure is the most important thing for your business. Are you willing to stay down, or are you ready to move on? How are you going to do that? Take the following steps after a food truck failure:
• Embrace the fail
The first thing to moving on after a breakdown is admitting the defeat. Acknowledge that it is good to fail and it can happen to anyone. It is through failure that you learn from your mistake and comes back strong. Talk to someone if possible to let it out and accept the mistake done.
• Break off for a while
Take a break to reflect. Write down the mistakes you made and how you could have done it better. Gather the necessary information, Money, and resources while you are on the break to gather enough to bounce back to business.
• Bounce back
It’s time to take action. How do you do that? First, draft a business plan. If you had one before the failure, review it to be sure you have everything in it, for example, goals, funding, strategies, and troubleshooting results. After that, seek a professional if possible for a comprehensive business plan.
After that, take action. Learn from your previous and move on. What matters most is the lesson you learn from the mistake and are ready to move on. Open the doors with a new business plan, strategies, and goals. Surely, you will succeed after learning what went wrong.
If you are planning to have a food vending business or you are already in it, don’t just think of the profits and the success that comes with it. It would help if you also looked at why most fail.
According to statistics, 40 % of food trucks fail within the first five years, why do they fail, and how can they grow after they fail? The above reasons why food truck fails sometimes gives enlighten you and give you tips on how to move on after a fail.
How to Maintain Food Truck Business Culture as You Grow?
It is a good sign when a food truck business grows. Also, it means the owner is doing things right, and the industry is on the right foot. Moreover, it also means there are more significant opportunities ahead, and all the owner needs to do is prepare for the changes ahead.
As a truck business owner, are you afraid of the changes? Do you worry about not maintaining and keeping the culture and values that you fight so hard to have? What should you do about it? Well, don’t worry as reading the following will help you on how to maintain them.
What is culture?
In a business setting, culture is a set of attitudes, beliefs, and values that contribute to the unique environment of the business. Thus, it can be the dress code, customer interaction, service values, interrelationship between employees, and transparent processes.
Why is it hard to maintain culture as a business grows?
As a business expands, so many changes take place. New employees onboard, chain of command changes, workflow increases, and new ways of doing things. Therefore, for you to make sure the work culture does not change as the business expands, follow the following seven directions:
1) Retain business beliefs and values
You work hard to make sure the values and customs of your business stay alive. How do you maintain them as the business grows? Once in a while, have forums in the workplace. Remind the workers of the beliefs and make them practice every day.
If it is the dressing code, keep the same dressing code as you grow. Additionally, write down the values and pin them in the truck wall for the workers to see as they work. Keep on installing the ethics and make them part of who they are while in the truck.
2) Be selective when hiring
Growing means increasing the number of employees to help with the workflow. While you work hard to install the culture in your current employees, how are you going to make the potential employees follow the same trend?
While recruiting new workers to the food truck, make them know about the culture that other workers follow. If possible, include other workers in the recruitment process and base the interview on how much they understand the business practices.
3) Emphasize care
When it comes to handling clients, emphasize the same customer relations that have always been there. Likewise, be polite to customers and always put them first. Make your employees practice what you do by following your footsteps.
Don’t be bossy all the time. Give the employees a chance to make decisions and run the food truck. That gives them a sense of responsibility. It gives them room to exercise their leadership role in them and make them feel at home and work hard to make the business a success.
4) Develop and maintain the tradition
What things you do when you go to work every morning? Do you pray before you start working? Do you have a staff meeting every Friday? Develop a routine at work and stick to it. Similarly, make the workers know the importance of tradition and have them follow as they work.
What you do every day is significant and should remain as you grow. Let no changes taking place make you not do what you always do. Maintaining tradition is a sure way of keeping the values and beliefs in the food truck business alive every day.
5) Open communication channels
Workers feel comfortable in a workplace where there is a clear communication channel. Consequently, don’t create hindrances to how they can talk to you and air their views. Business is expanding and chain of communication maybe longer. Make them free to speak to you about anything in the business.
Involve your workers in decision-making. What changes do they want to see, what are you thinking of introducing. Besides, hear their views and give them a chance of suggesting the changes they want to see. That way, they will be comfortable in the workplace.
6) Have fun and connect
Don’t lock yourself in the office and have them address you ‘sir’ every time they want to talk to you. Have fun with your workers to bond with them. When they dress up to work, have your pending uniform and dress too and help them in serving.
Make activities that you can do out of work. You can have once in a year trip for your team and their families to travel together and bond. Set date nights with workers to go for a movie or a weekend camping to know your workers more. You should promote work culture even out of your workplace.
7) Be consistent
Growth brings in many changes, and at times, it can be intimidating if you are not compatible. The good thing about having beliefs and values is that they keep you grounded to what you believe in and to what makes you humble despite the expansion. You have to make the practice an everyday thing.
Be consistent in practicing the ethics you believe. Let your workers know that no matter the changes they experience at the workplace, the culture at work remains. Be dependable in the way you execute your judgment and how you want things to run around the truck. Your employees will adapt and go along.
Culture is all about beliefs, values, and behaviors that you practice in your food truck business. They define what your primary business is all about, and people identify you with the culture that you uphold. When small, it is easier to maintain the culture and beliefs but becomes difficult as you expand.
As a businessperson, growth is good. It means you are doing things right, but it does not have to change your food truck business culture. The above seven tips help you maintain the right culture within your business. That way, you will not be afraid of changes affecting the values you and your employees believe in.
How to Control the Cost of Your Food Truck Menu Items?
As a food truck business owner, are you struggling to understand whether the price you place against your menu item is right? What determines the cost of the menu items and how low or high should you go to have the right amount. Read along to know more about the price on the menu items.
For your food truck business to flourish, you must come up with the best price for your menu item, why is that? The menu prices determine your ability to sell the, cover your cost and give you a good return on your investment. Being accurate is the best thing here.
How do you come up with the prices on your menu? It is hard and confusing for first-timers, but as time goes by, it becomes easier to know. Before you place an amount in a menu item, you should consider the following factors:
Apart from the cash you spend on the food truck, cart, or trailer, the second highest recurring cost is the cost of food in a food truck business. It is hard to get the right deal for the food you want to cook in the truck, especially since customers expect you to have fresh, unique, organic menu items.
What you spend on buying ingredients to make food play an integral part, and that is why you should try your best to lower the cost. How do you do that? You can buy your ingredients from one of the following places:
• Bulk stores and warehouse
• Local grocery stores
• Farmers market
• Specialty stores
• Food wholesale stores
Time you invested
The time you spend in making the dishes should reflect on the menu prices. You need to pay your workers or yourself for the effort you put into the business. It is hard to estimate what you should place per plate, but it is good to be reasonable and set a fair amount.
Here, you refer to your business plan. How many customers do you anticipate to serve per day? Your previous research will help you answer the question and aid you in coming up with the right quantity to cook to avoid waste and the right price for the dishes.
Most food trucks have 4-10 % of wastage per day. Some happen before the plate reaches the customer while others are due to over serving. Consider wastage when pricing the items in the menu since it is in the initial cost of the food ingredients.
Now that you know the factors to put into account when pricing items in the menu, how do you control the prices from being too high or too low? Follow the following tips to control it:
Tip 1: Conduct inventory
Being the owner of the food truck business means you are in control. You must keep track of all the activities in the industry. It includes taking note of all the profits and losses that you make every day. How do you do that?
You keep a note of your profits and losses by keeping inventories, keep records, and monitor all your expenses, the income and the cash you remain with after making the dishes. Knowing where you are going wrong will be the starting point for taking action on the menu prices.
Tip 2: Serve enough
Since you spend a lot in making the food, you need to make sure you get right when it comes to the serving. Don’t try to impress your customers by serving them a lot of food only to leave it on the plate. Emphasize quality and minimize waste by attending their needs worth enough what they are spending.
Do you know most garnishes are expensive food and layers of lettuce that end up uneaten? Doing away with the garnishes saves you a lot of money, and that can bring the menu prices down. If you must garnish, use what is available and won’t cost you.
Tip 3: Price menu items accordingly
Prices are a make or break for you. While some customers will look at the quality, many will look at the price you place against each item. Although you are looking at the above factors, don’t overprice or down price the menu item, as it will scare the customer away.
One thing of making sure you are on track is by looking at your competitor’s prices and compare with yours. Look at your cost of making the food and see whether you can afford to have discounts once in a while and still stay on track.
Tip 4: keep a record of all the waste
It is hard to avoid all the wastage in the food truck. That is because some happen unknowingly while some are due to over serving food. If necessary, have a chat of how much you through away each day to have an idea of where the wastage is coming from.
Minimize spoilage waste by getting fresh farm produce from a reliable supplier. Store them well and when making each item in the menu, measure all the ingredients correctly to use the right quantity. Serve the right portion to the customers to make sure they don’t get full and leave leftovers.
Tip 5: Be consistent
Being consistent is vital if you want to note changes in the food truck. That also means making the same dishes consistently every day. Serve the right portion, record all the profit, and loses. That way, you will be able to know whether the prices are correct or you need to adjust them.
Also, be consistent in where you get your suppliers. It will help you get the best price for bulk purchase or a discount. Sticking to one will help you direct the complains in case there is one. That way, you will be reducing the price in the menu item.
In the end!
Pricing your menu is vital. Although the cost of ingredients, the time invested, the quantity you make and the waste play a role in determining the prices, the above five tips will help you control the costs reasonable enough for your customers to come and buy.
8 Traits to Running a Successful Food Truck
Many food truck owners always ask, “what traits should I apply to be successful?” If you are a truck owner, you also want to know, right? Nobody wants to run a business without secrets of how to succeed, and that is why you need to read and understand.
Running a successful food truck requires you to implement many things. All need you to invest money on but, do you know to be successful depends on what you give? Success depends on parameters beyond a theme, good food, marketing strategy, and all that. Here are the traits to apply for your food truck business to be successful:
1. Have the passion
It is what drive you to the market in the first place. Did you have sleepless nights thinking of how you will open the business? Do you work tirelessly despite not having sales yesterday? If you have a passion, you will do whatever you can to make the business work.
It includes finding ways on how to increase sales, finding better employees, and knowing how to beat your competitors. If you don’t have the passion, no amount of cash, theme, or right place can make the business to work. It all depends on the drive.
2. Have and keep the right employees
According to most successful food truck owners, sometimes all a business want is the right team. Having good employees to run your business can be hectic. You have to interview, train, give them a uniform and go an extra mile to make them feel like family. Once you do that, retain them. How do you do that?
You retain your employees by motivating them, treating them right, and always giving them the priority. Remember they are the one handling your customers. Happy employees always lead to satisfied customers who come back for more.
3. Customer relations
Never underestimate the power of courtesy when handling a customer. Though they may be wrong sometimes, treat with respect, and care when they come to your premises. Make them comfortable always and be prompt to serve them.
Learn to say ‘thank you’ and ‘welcome.’ The words may be small but means a lot to customers. Train your employees on how to handle the customers so that they can sell the brand whenever they go. Word of mouth always goes around of how your brand treats customers. Let it be positive.
4. Give more to receive more
Many businesses fail because of investing less and expecting more. For your truck to be successful, you have to learn to spend more. Serve more food, equip more, and go an extra mile in making sure the price you place against each item in the menu is one the customer will be glad to pay.
When it comes to food, get the best supplies for the customers. Please don’t be greedy to expect a big profit, and what the customer is getting is not worth it. Teach your team all this so that they can follow the trait for a successful food truck business.
5. Be real
When you venture into any business, you need to be authentic. Don’t have high expectations or set goals that are unrealistic. Remember, food trucks are emerging every day. They have more fabulous concepts that you have, and no matter how much you try to catch up with them, you are bound to tire.
Be real to what you are selling. Serve your customers in the specific location you choose and remember, giving the business all the attention is what that matters. You can never please everyone, but there is always someone glad to have your food if you give it your best.
6. Run a business, not a food truck
Many think a food truck is all about good food and a great looking vehicle. Yes, it is true, but you need to know there is more that. It involves a lot of planning, calculations, and action behind the larger windowpane to get the show running. Never forget that.
Keep inventories, balance, and keep track of all your activities. Read your business plan and review it now and then to make sure you are on track when running the business. No matter what happens, always remember you are running a small business and give it attention and seriousness it deserves.
7. Never give up
Keep doing whatever you are doing until you see the results you want to see for as long as you are indeed doing it right. The more you do it, the better it becomes. If you are happy with the results, be constant, and continue. If you are not, make the necessary changes until you are pleased with what you get.
The secret to being triumphant is to be constant to doing things the right way. It means cooking delicious food every day, treating customers with respect and always treat employees in a proper manner. When everything is correct, success is bound to come.
8. Be open to learning more
Don’t shy away from learning more. You may think you know it all in the industry, but the more you are in the industry, the more you need to learn new things. There is nothing wrong with learning something or two from your competitors, employees, and customers.
Implement what you learn and think is suitable for your business and don’t ignore the source. These sources might be the answers you want to be successful. Give employees time off to learn and you too, take time off and learn more on how to make the business a success.
Over to you!
There are no written rules to how you can make your food truck business succeed. One thing is for sure. You are the determining factor of whether your company fails or succeed. Other external factors change, but you remain constant.
Why Every Food Trailer Owner Should Work on Growing Messenger Subscriber List?
For you to be proud of your food truck business, you must achieve your goals. The paramount one is increasing sales. You have the right truck, delightful items in the menu, but, how do you make customers come and taste what you are selling?
The food truck business is so competitive. Therefore, you need to be ahead of the game by reaching out to customers before others do. How do you do that? You do that by marketing your business to the public. Hence, you need to go out there and command your share of the customers through various means.
You can use billboards, posters, word of mouth, or through the media. For you to shoot your sales up, you should have an aggressive marketing strategy like a useful messenger subscriber list. Do you know what it is and why you should work on growing it? Read along and learn.
What is the messenger subscriber list?
It is a marketing strategy that enables a business owner to reach out to customers by sending them messages through their social media accounts inbox. Thus, through this method, a business owner can sell what he or she is offering and interact more with the consumer.
According to digital marketing experts, messenger subscriber list has proven to work more effectively than the email list. Business owners are reaching out to the customers in a direct and more personal manner. That way, they can market themselves more by making customers aware of their products and services.
5 Reasons Why it is Important
Why do digital experts emphasize the need for growing the list? It must be beneficial for you, right? The following considerations are the reasons why you need to build the messenger subscriber list:
1) Increase sales
It is the goal of every food truck owner to see every item in the menu flying off the kitchen. No one wants all the hard work and investment to go down the drain. An increase in sale is a morale booster that things are heading in the right direction.
When you reach out to customers through the messaging list, you are directly selling yourself. As a result, customers can understand and know your business straight from you. Similarly, they will want to come and have a taste of your items to experience what they see in the messenger list.
For you to succeed in your business, you must interact with the potential buyers. What do they prefer, the changes they want to see, their experience and expectations? Moreover, the feedback makes you better and creates trust between you and the customers.
By selling your services through the messenger, customers keep on coming to your truck for the dishes. They will be able to express their experience and opinion on what you are offering. That way, you will be able to serve what they want and avoid what they don’t like.
3) Direct marketing
Your customers, friends, families, residents of that area are on Facebook. Therefore, the best way you can market the business is by being where they are. You can interact, engage, and listen to them. Furthermore, you can even have and make them follow your truck food business page.
Once on the page, customers can see what you sell. By sharing the menu items, photos of happy customers dining, ingredients, and beautiful pictures of your truck at work, it will bring customers to your buy.
Customers are curious people. They like to have a taste of what is trending. With beautiful photos of dishes and the truck, they will come looking for you to have a taste. Once you impress them with your culinary skills, they will be coming back for more each time.
4) More effective mode of marketing
You may have other ways of marketing, but as mentioned earlier, the messenger subscriber list has proven to be more productive. By using the means, you will be reaching out to more customers. Your approach will be more personal and direct than sending a random advert on any other media.
Take an example, email subscription. An average person receives over 20 emails a day, chances, or reading all of them is minimal. Some will even find their way to the spam box and end up unnoticed. The messenger subscription is new, so probably a personally receive one or two a day increases the chances of reading it.
You already have a list of potential customers. So, you can concentrate on sending details and changes in your menu items now and then. Also, you will be sure that a large percentage of the customers who receive your direct message will show up to dine at your food truck.
With so much competition in the industry, you need to be ahead and unique in the way you do your things. It includes having individual menu items, design for your truck, and your marketing strategy. Messenger subscriber list offers you an opportunity to stand out, to be different from your competitors.
Customers feel you value them each time you send a personalized message. They will be eager to receive the next news and probably take action on the last one you sent. Interacting brings in trust, and eventually, they will be at your truck to dine. The unique thing about the marketing strategy is that it is new. Your competitors probably don’t know about it.
Setting up your food truck business is not enough; you need to look for a way to make the customers coming. You do that through marketing your menu items to the public for them to go and have a taste. How do you uniquely market yourself with so much competition?
You can build a useful messenger subscription list. It is a Facebook marketing strategy that sees you messaging your customers in a direct and personal way. Through it, you can sell your delicious menu items and location where they can find you. More awareness means more sales.
The way you run the business, treat your employees, and customer matters. Retain good employees, treat customers well, and invest in your business for you to receive more. The above trait leads you to become the next successful truck business in the industry.
Bonus Tips: Food Truck Ideas That Can Get More Customers
Food truck business is here to stay. Many people thought the ice-cream truck that always comes in the backyard would one day be no more. To the shock of many, more food trucks are emerging on the streets. It is hard to miss one when you are out.
What makes a food cart, truck, or trailer unique? Yes, the kind of concept it has. Also, the idea of the business is the driving force behind the daily running of every truck. That is because it determines the following factors:
5 Importance of food truck themes
Bring customers to the vehicle.
Make the truck stand out.
Give ideas on how to design the truck.
Helps in setting the prices in the menu
Just as the way of getting a right truck is paramount, Truck business owners must be careful when choosing the concept of the business. It must be good in their eyes and also in the customers. What makes a good theme idea?
A good theme idea should be:
What makes customers come to your cart, truck, or trailer if you were to stand with four others? That is the question truck business owners should ask themselves. The theme you choose should stand out from the others if you want customers to dine at your truck.
• Choose what suits your area
One function of a food truck is to feed the people of the specific area that it will operate. With that in mind, look for what the locals want, is it tacos, burgers, or they are into organic food. Filling the gap of providing what people want is what is going to increase sales.
• Should not overprice the menu
The price you set for on the dishes you serve depends on what you choose to cook. Theme idea with expensive ingredients will make the prices go up. Likewise, go with the idea that will be lenient on your budget at the same time please the customers.
Every food truck business aims to make a profit. For you to succeed, it must give you enough return on an investment after paying the workers and other bills. The benefit will motivate you and keep you running the business. Similarly, choose a theme that will reduce production cost to increase the profit margin.
• On the trend and identifiable
Trending makes people aware of something. It is an easy way of marketing without spending much. So, look for a theme that is trending in the specific area that you will be selling. Moreover, you should also have dishes that customers can quickly identify without having a second thought about what you are selling.
Top 10 Food Truck Ideas
With so many appealing themes to choose from, it is tricky and confusing to come up with the right concept. Additionally, many truck owners fear to select the right one while others are wanting in a hurry and end up with the wrong idea. With the above guide, you can choose the right theme from the below ten theme ideas:
1. Ice-cream truck
How about you go the traditional way? Ice cream truck has been around since ages. People always look down the street for a car full of ice cream to cool themselves. It is a terrific idea that is already in existence and needs no effort to introduce.
What you should have in mind is that since the idea is old, many trucks are in the business. Being unique will do the trick. Have ice creams of different flavors and different sizes and prices. Even more, you can also offer other frozen drinks for customers to have a variety.
2. Burgers and sandwiches
It is another idea that has been there and trends quickly. A hamburger is a snack that is people’s favorite. That is because it is a portable, balanced diet and easy to munch. A bite at a time and a customer is full. Hence, the truck idea can be tricky if you don’t twist it.
Many trucks are offering the same on the streets. Strive to be different for you to excel with it. You can use whole grain bun for the burgers and sandwiches and use ingredients for them. You can have beef, bacon or add a lot of lettuce and tomatoes. Have a unique sauce to have a different touch.
3. Tacos and burritos
There is nothing delicious like well-wrapped tacos or burrito. A traditional theme that sells using carts has grown to the use of trucks and trailers. What makes them unique and extraordinary is that they are easy to make. You can wrap anything in it and pull the dish entirely.
Look for ingredients that are readily available and are unique. Wrap them flawlessly and price it well and you are good to go. For the fact that tacos and burritos are delicious, you will have the customer’s queuing to have some for lunch and on their way home from work.
4. Barbeque/ mobile grill
Every weekend, people have a barbeque in their backyard. How about you have a mobile one for them to enjoy grilled steaks and sausages? The smoky smell is all they need to come to your truck for the tasty ribs you are selling.
Beef is a low-cost food. You can easily pull the theme since the food is highly appealing, and people already love it. Offer different grilled types of meat and marinate well to have a unique taste and texture. It is a beautiful theme to pull with a good griller and location.
5. Regional cuisine
Going international can be what your location needs. Being able to make food of specific common communities can be an added advantage to you since not many food trucks are venturing into it. You can choose Asian, African, or go for food that is traditional for a particular community.’
A good example is sushi. Not many trucks will think of having fish as a meal. So, you offering the unique dish will see people coming to your vehicle to experience the unique feeling. Learn more about the dishes before you go ahead and choose any regional theme.
6. Healthy concept
You can never go amiss with a meal that offers people a healthy option. Many trucks, carts, and trailers are offering food full of fats and calories. Having an excellent cautious concept will draw people to your vehicle to dine. Just make sure that you are offering is indeed healthy.
With so much food awareness, people are dining differently. You can have steamed dishes, ketone diet, and vegetarian or gluten-free dishes. People who are specific about what they are consuming will be looking for your truck to have a meal.
7. Organic theme
One thing that will bring customers to your truck is the sense of knowing where you get your ingredients. Getting inspiration from the local farmers is an excellent way of offering dishes made with ingredients straight from the local market or farmer.
The fantastic side of the theme is that you can make a more significant profit if you talk to the local farmer for a discounted price on a large purchase. Furthermore, you will also be in constant communication with the supplier so they can inform you more about the prices and availability of the ingredients.
8. Gourmet /fancy foods
It is rare to find a food truck offering a dish with unique ingredients, or that requires many details. Thus, it is a new and innovative way of starting your food truck business. Having dishes like pies and pancakes with special unique ingredients will keep curious customers.
You can decide to serve a five-star dish at the truck with a starter, main course, and a desert. Moreover, have a buffet setting for customers to sample and have your meals at an affordable price is unique, and a concept that will have high sales.
9. A baking truck
The fresh, unique idea will have you baking dishes for customers. There is a lot to bake, and all you need is have different menu items that will keep customers coming. Baking is good since you can combine the concept with all kind of drinks to accompany the cupcakes and cookies.
10. Waffle trucks
Waffles are a great idea if you intend to serve the whole day. The concept can be functional when serving breakfast, lunch, or as a snack during the day. It can be waffles with chicken, blueberries, butter, or with lemon cream cheese feeling. The unique theme is simple and can fetch you a good profit.
A theme for your food truck business is as good as the right truck. It is what drives customers to your vehicle. To do that, you need to look for the best theme depending on your location, customers, the profit you intend to make, and the availability of the ingredients. The above top 10 theme ideas will guide you into finding the right theme to start your truck business.