According to IBIS World, there are more than 26,000 food trucks that are operating in the US as of 2021. Since 2016, the food truck has increased four times faster than the normal junk food industry. Even people looking for running a start-up have been a part of starting a food truck business. Most of the people who own a food truck are the people who are following their dreams, i.e preparing tasty food for the people around. It might sound very easy, but starting a food truck is not very easy to start with.
It makes creating and iterating innovative menus, cooking food of high quality every day, and giving in long hours to be one of the entrepreneurs with the best food truck business ideas.
How To Start A Food Truck Business?
Starting a food truck business has a lot of steps and work involved before launching. To give a rough idea about how to open a food truck, this article will talk about few steps that can be taken to do the same. Not all food truck owner has to follow the same steps in the same chronological manner.
Find out the niche and work on the menu
Finding a niche is the most important and initial step for any person who thrives to be a food owner. One should select the techniques they are most comfortable with but should always come up with something that makes their food truck stand out.
People around, at some point, start to compare menus and taste with other options. So choosing something different can make a food joint the best and unique.
These food truck joints are very different from the brick and mortar restaurant as people don’t really come here for ambiance but just the taste and quality of food.
After selecting the niche, it is important to decide what the menu should be. It does not just have to be unique but every bite should be worth the dollar people spend on it.
Make a business plan with thorough financial projections
Not just a food truck business, but every business should have a proper business plan which should include how they are going to manage everything for at least the initial three years. It should also include the following:
- A food truck license
- Inspection from the health department that is local
- The operational model of the business- if it is mobile or partial mobile and what is the capacity?
- The size of the required food truck
- The cost involved in a food truck and cooking equipment. Also deciding it wants to use second-hand equipment or buy a new one
- Deciding where most of the food would be cooked and where the van will be parked at non-operational hours
- The design of the menu and raw material cost
- Evaluation of the overhead costs like insurance, propane, and parking
- Deciding how to market the food truck
Arrange the Finances
Once the business plan is ready, it is necessary to have the finances in place. Initially, before starting a food truck, there should be an arrangement of funds for the operational cost, emergency fund, and set up cost. Personal funds, crowdfunding, bank loan, taking a loan from relatives or friends, digital loans that are not secured, food truck loans, and personal loans are some of the options available, that one can evaluate for securing funds for their food truck.
A digital presence should be created
One of the best ways to attract customers is by having a digital presence. One of the best ways to make the food truck successful is to start advertising it before purchasing the truck. Initially, it should have a presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Gradually, the truck owner should get it listed on Yelp and Google My Business. It is very necessary to have digital marketing to be on place as it is one of the fastest ways to let people know about the food truck’s presence.
Getting the License and Permits and incorporating the plan
Once the plan and finances are in place, one should be ready to execute it. A partnership or LLC might have to be incorporated as well there will be a need to apply for EIN. Depending on the state one will be opening the food truck, there would be incorporation fees(Usually less than USD 100). An operation license is mandatory as well as needs to be applied with the local authorities. A license of a food handler or certificate for food safety needs to be there as well. Additionally, there is a license fee involved as well.
Finding a permanent place or territory for the food truck
It is very important to decide where to work from during the active hours. There are options to either operate from different locations depending on the flow of public or from the same place throughout. Both need to be planned well, so the people who want to eat from the joint, know where to find it. There are places out there in every city in the US, that are happy to welcome food trucks. But, this all needs to be decided soon else it can be given to someone who approached earlier.
Off-day and overnight parking should be sorted along with commissary
If the food truck does not need a lot of space or has stock for cuisines for the next day it should not be a problem as can be parked in the garage. But it can become a problem if the food truck is big and does not have food storage. So, it is always better to find a commissary beforehand. A commissary or a commercial a place that allows to cook and store food with a proper inspection from the department of health.
The most important task- buying the truck
All the planning and arrangement of finance would go in vain if there is no food truck. Deciding what kind of truck is needed is again a very crucial part of the entire process. For example, an SUV or light truck is sufficient for selling pastries, frozen foods, or something that does not require a full kitchen on board. There are other options available depending on one’s need. There is no harm using a used truck if there is a cash crunch. A food truck price can range from USD 25,000 up to USD 175000.
Getting insurance for food truck
Any business, despite the size, should be prepared for an unavoidable situation. Ensuring the food vehicle can be heavy on pockets but always advisable. Along with it, one should register the equipment and storage in the van as well.
Last but not the least, a food truck owner should always look to expand. If one wants to make a profit, they not just stick to setting up the truck in crowded places. Rather, they should have a provision to let people order online and even should be ready to cater for parties or ceremonies.
It might look that setting up a food truck is easy but it takes a lot of effort. But with a proper plan and digital existence, this business can reach a new par.