a stylish neon food truck

Start Your Own Food Truck Business with These Steps

Over the past years, food trucks have become so popular in different parts of the globe. This trend has allowed many new entrepreneurs to thrive in the food industry and even venture into the big cities. From vegan dishes to street food, there has been a huge array of iconic food truck businesses driving around cities today.

This mobile cuisine doesn’t only open up the doors to success for many business owners but also introduces a novel approach to dining for customers. Interested in starting your own food truck business? Check out our guide to know the first steps on how you can successfully share your love of food with people.

Estimate the costs

Starting a food truck business comes with various costs such as one-time and startup costs. One-time costs basically include things like the truck itself, kitchen equipment, and marketing. But while you only got to pay once when you get your food truck, don’t forget that you still have to spend money on modifications and equipment installations.

Apart from that, there are recurring expenses such as fuel, payroll, or equipment rental, if any. Indeed, the cost of operating a food truck varies depending on your location and situation, but it typically ranges from $28,000 to $114,000.

Create your concept and menu

If there’s one aspect that requires great attention and time, that is creating the identity of your food truck. Keep in mind that food trucks are now pretty popular so you need to come up with a concept and menu that will set you apart from what people are now seeing on the streets.

It’s best to choose something that reflects your experiences, interests, or the type of food you love. Do you love gourmet sandwiches? Prepare them using nontraditional ingredients. Are you more on the healthy side? Create a menu filled with healthy and organic dishes. Interested in fusion dishes? Combine your local specialties with a distinct cuisine.

a burger sitting on a counter

Build your business plan

The next thing to do is write your business plan. Some of the sections to include are your business description, organization and management, market analysis, funding options, and projected expenses, losses, and profits.

Point out every aspect of your food truck business – the more specific the plan is, the better. Also try to focus on factors such as profitability estimate, costs, and operations. There’s no definite format for this and you don’t necessarily need a professional to help you out. Most trucks are owned by independent, new entrepreneurs so don’t pressure yourself too much.

Acquire permits and licenses

Starting any kind of business requires certain licenses and permits, which may vary from city to city. Enquire with your local jurisdiction about the requirements you need to process. Usually, these include a business license, food service license, employer identification number, and employee health permit.

And since you’ll be using a vehicle to operate the business, you might also need to get a zoning and parking permit, as well as a mobile food facility permit. Check if there are also parking limits and restrictions in your city that you should know of. And if you’re thinking of operating for longer hours, ask if what areas in your city permit overnight parking. Follow the guidelines to avoid any problems during your food service.

Buy the truck and equipment

The size and features are probably the deciding factors on how much the food truck will be. Choose the one that suits what you will serve. For example, if you’re planning to sell waffles, a van-sized vehicle may be just right. But if you’re thinking of full restaurant-like fusion cuisine, you’ll need something as big as a bus for all the equipment, suppliers, and room to work on.

Talking about the equipment, this may vary depending on your needs and preference. Generally, you need equipment for prep and storage, refrigeration and cooking, health and safety, and the service window.

The basics include a prep table, refrigerator, generator, flat top grill, sinks, fire extinguishers, cabinets, and fume hoods. You can also install other things to make your truck look more appealing and unique. You can set up a monitor to display your menu for the day, install a car stereo for music playing, or fill your service window with attractive fairy lights.

Start with the planning months ahead of your target date so you can have plenty of time to prepare. Opening and driving your own food truck is a business that needs plenty of work and passion. Follow the steps in this guide and start marketing your truck to the public!

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