If you want to start a food station but don’t know how to do it, then this article is for you. Food trucks are the most desirable food station today. They are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, according to Forbes magazine, the number of food trucks has grown by over 50% since 2009. There are several reasons why food trucks are growing in popularity. First, they provide convenient dining options for customers who want to enjoy great food without sitting at a restaurant. Second, they allow entrepreneurs to test new menu items and recipes. Third, they give chefs a chance to showcase their talents. Finally, they create jobs for local residents.
Starting a food truck business requires some capital investment, but once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come. In this article, we share our top tips on how to start a food truck business.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- Food Truck Business: Things to Know
- How to Start Food Truck Business
- After Starting a Food Truck Business
- Cost to Start a Food Truck Business
Food Truck Business: Things to Know
A food truck is a mobile restaurant serving prepared food from a vehicle. Food trucks offer quick service at affordable prices, and they can operate anywhere from street fairs to festivals to parks. They also provide employment opportunities for those who want to pursue their passion for cooking.
Food trucks are typically open during lunchtime or dinner hours and offer a variety of cuisines. The concept was born out of necessity because the owners of these businesses often had to wait until they got off work before they could eat.
The food truck business is becoming increasingly popular, especially because they offer great value for money. If you plan to start your own food truck business, you’ll need to invest some time and effort into researching the market, developing a unique brand identity, and finding ways to promote your business.
Requirements to Start a Food Truck Business
The food truck business is not as easy as it looks. You buy a truck, make some good food and start selling them is not all about your food truck business. It takes some serious considerations before you start a food truck business. Here are some tips to note,
- Get your homework done: Make sure you research well before you buy/rent your truck. The menu, demand for food, safety, everything needs to be done properly.
- Get a Business Plan: A business plan is important for any kind of business you run. Get a solid plan that helps you organize all the tasks.
- Get Funded: It is important to be prepared with the funding before your truck hits the road. Bank loans are easily available to fund your business.
- Check food quality: Food quality is crucial in the food truck business. If the food does not taste well or is freshly made, you might lose your customer base.
- Train your staff well: If you’re getting employees for your food truck business, make sure to train them well. They need to be fast and understand the customer’s needs. Also, food trucks are not always spacious. Hence, they must learn to work in clumsy places while maintaining cleanliness.
How to Start Food Truck Business
Starting a food truck business is a great idea if you love cooking and serving delicious meals to hungry customers. But before you jump right in, here are some things to think about first. Here’s a checklist of items to consider when starting a food truck business:
Step 1: Get a Truck
You already have your business plan and funding resources. Hence, the first step is to get a truck. You can rent it or purchase it ( whichever is cheap). Personally speaking, renting a truck initially would be a wiser idea. As you get the truck, you need other equipment and probably a truck’s makeover.
If you’re renting the truck, then you must give it a new look and get some modern equipment like an oven, cooker, pans, and other utensils as per your requirements.
Step 2: Approval From Health Department
The next big thing is to get approval from the state health department. It is mandatory to get it done before you start your food truck business. As soon as your truck starts running, an inspection might take place. In that case, you must be ready with the following documents,
- Driving and food license
- Food cards issued by the local authority
- Fire and health safety
- Food storage and expiry dates
You must be prepared with the updated documents.
Step 3: Get a Brand Name
By now, I am sure you have a proper name for your food truck business. Business names must be given according to the state naming guidelines. You must give a unique name that can turn into a brand name later. There are some guidelines to name your business,
- Do not use any term/abbreviation that resembles Government sectors or any state authority.
- The name should not be already in use by any other business
- The name must be something that reflects the nature of the business
- The name should not be confusing or misleading
Depending based on the structure of the business, the guidelines can be different or have additional rules for businesses.
Step 4: Register Your Food Truck Business
Your food truck business must be registered under the state you started your business. You must choose the business structure while registering. If you want to start an LLC for your food truck business, it will be easier than other business structures. You can read more articles on LLC in StarMyLLC.
For any small business, it is always wise to register as an LLC. LLCs have a bunch of advantages, including tax reductions, pass-through taxation, low registration fee, and easy paperwork.
Step 5: Set Your Menu and Food Preparation
Menu and food preparation are the two most important things in this business. You need to set what dishes you are going to sell. It needs a bit of research before you decide on the menu. Check your competitors and their menu and location-based demand for items you are going to sell, according to that plan your menu.
Also, get the proper equipment to prepare the food. You must have proper ventilation installed inside the truck for freshly cooked food. Food trucks inevitably differ from normal restaurants as they have very limited space to prepare and pack the food. Another option is to not cook the food inside the truck and prepare it beforehand. You can prepare the food in your home kitchen and carry it o the location in your truck.
Step 6: Decide on The Location
Food trucks are moving restaurants. Hence, you can park your truck anywhere you want. But the location should be somewhere where you will find your potential customers. For example, if you sell burgers, sandwiches, rolls, and wraps in the daytime, then any location near offices would be desirable. Most people come out of their workplace to grab sandwiches, burgers, and such for lunch. Mostly, people buy to-go food from food trucks than fancy restaurants. So, it will be wiser to park your food truck in crowded places.
Step 7: Promote Your Food Truck Business
It is important to promote your business as soon as you start. You can create social media accounts and share your service. You can also send messages and give cold calls to your friends and family members, telling them about your business. Websites are also good options for promoting your food truck business.
After Starting a Food Truck Business
As soon as you’re done with the paperwork, location, and menu, there are more steps to work on. These are important points to consider when it comes to business.
- Hiring employees: You can hire employees to help you cook and sell the items. You can get full-time permanent employees or part-time people during busy times.
- Get Permits and Licenses: You need to get a business license, driving license, food license, and also other permits to conduct your business.
- Get Bank Accounts: get a business account so that you can continue receiving payments via bank. This helps you to calculate your quarterly income.
- Get insurance: Insurance is a must when you are running a food truck. Get general insurance or any type of business insurance or employee coverage for your food truck.
- File taxes: If you are forming an LLC in Texas for your food truck business, you are required to file a Franchise Tax. Same with the LLC in California. On the other side, an LLC in Wyoming does not have to pay a Franchise Tax, but they have to pay the Sales Tax.
- Mobile food vendor badge: Employees need to have food vendor badges to avoid any legal discrepancies. If your employees want to work legally in your food truck, they must wear this badge. So that people can recognize them as food vendors.
Cost to Start a Food Truck Business
Food trucks are not so cheap. Hence, starting a food truck business won’t be cheap too. It ranges from $20,000 to $100,000, depending on what type of food truck you want to start. The division of costs is,
- Truck and Equipment cost
- Food ingredients cost
- Truck maintenance, if needed, makeover cost
- Business registration cost
- Employees’ wages
- Annual taxes
- Permit and license fees
Though this kind of business is not so handy in terms of expenses, banks provide easy loans to small businesses and startups to encourage industries in the state.
Revenue from Food Truck Business
Food truck businesses are growing day by day. People often go to food trucks for a quick bite in-between meetings. They don’t go to fancy and expensive restaurants between meetings. Hence, it is possible to make good money from your truck. However, it does not show up in one day or overnight. You have to have some patience. You can make $250-$300 a day if you choose a great location and serve tasty food.
It costs money to buy equipment, rent space, hire employees, and purchase ingredients. Before you spend all your savings on a food truck, make sure you can afford to cover these costs.
You have to know how to drive, how to cook, and how to pack food items; moreover, you have to have skills to deal with people. In any business, customer relationship is mandatory.
Before you open your doors, find out if there’s demand for your type of service. Look at local restaurant reviews, talk to your neighbors, and search Google Trends for keywords related to your product.
Food trucks aren’t cheap to operate. They cost between $20,000 and $100,000 to set up, depending on the size of your vehicle and the number of hours you plan to run.
Once you decide where you want to park your food truck, look for a location that’s convenient for both you and your customers. Consider parking near popular restaurants or shopping centers so you can attract repeat business.
Your target audience depends on the type of food you serve. Think about the demographics of your neighborhood and the tastes of your customers.
This is all about starting your food truck business. It is not so easy yet, not so difficult to start your own movable restaurant. You must know the challenges, losses, and downsides of the food truck before you jump into the game. So, it is recommended to do your homework thoroughly beforehand. If you have anything to share with us, then comment below.