Food Trucks: How To Start With Restaurants On Wheels
If street vendors were famous before, now restaurants on wheels are. And when we say now we do not mean just a few decades ago, quite the opposite. This food sales model emerged more than 100 years ago in the United States. What at that time began with a cart, today has vehicles designed or adapted for this function: the well-known food truck or fast food truck.
It is a long-established business model. Its itinerant routes and its varied gastronomic offers are part of the success of this groundbreaking concept in the food industry. From vintage styles to gourmet food, food trucks are here to stay. The statistics portal Statista predicted that by 2020 the food truck industry would increase by about 140 million dollars in the United States. That means that the value of this sector would be 996.2 million dollars.
If these numbers still do not convince you, wait to know the advantages of setting up a mobile restaurant business and how to do it step by step. The good news is that here we tell you! Follow us on our food truck route.
What is a food truck or fast food truck?
A food truck or fast food truck is a vehicle adapted to prepare and sell food. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a foodie, you have undoubtedly heard of this type of “mobile restaurant”.
Food trucks do not generally stay in fixed locations. Its concept is based on movement through different areas of the city. Speed and mobility are a fundamental part of the contemporary world. So, what better way to offer food services than a mobile truck?
There are all kinds: gourmet food, fusion, Chinese food, Mexican, and Italian, among many others. It’s up to you, entrepreneur, to determine what kind of food will make your business famous.
Why open a mobile restaurant or food truck business?
- Economy comes first: In fact, acquiring an adapted truck for the preparation of meals is very economical and feasible. Think about how much it may cost you to rent or buy a place, the investment in equipment and furniture, etc. This investment is not low at all. Instead, a food truck requires much fewer costs. Undoubtedly, the proposal is economically more convenient than opening a restaurant in a local.
- Flexible Location: Who doesn’t love a busy job? With a food truck, you will never be in one place. The geographical flexibility of this concept will allow you to operate from different places. Part of the success of your business is the location, you should position yourself in areas with a high flow of people. Thus, you will have the opportunity to meet new people, and satisfy different needs. In addition, taking your food to various geographical areas will generate new customer segments.
- Direct communication with customers: How many times have you been to a restaurant and met the chef? If you think about it, we usually never see the person behind the creation of our dishes. In a food truck, as customers, we will say goodbye to the chef’s ghost because we will have him face to face. From the perspective of the chef, this option will allow him to get closer to the tastes of his clients.
- Start your career as a chef: Do you like and are you good at cooking? So, you are a budding chef. Why wait to get hired at a restaurant when you can make a name for yourself by selling your own dishes? A good way to start, given the low investment costs, is to set up a food truck. How about making a mobile restaurant with your own innovative food recipes? Think about it!
On the other hand, if you already have a restaurant in a fixed location, you can open a mobile version of it. Thus, you will reach more people and you will be able to publicize your food in various places. As a marketing and advertising campaign, it is unbeatable.
How to set up a food truck or fast food truck business
If, after knowing the advantages of setting up a food truck, you think that it is a business for you, here we explain step by step what you should do. Take note!
1. Prepare the business plan
The business plan is the pillar on which your idea is based. It is your guide and the future projection of your enterprise. Dedicate the necessary time. If you don’t know how to make a business plan, you can start by doing it on one page.
In this document, you must determine what product you sell (type of food, drinks), what services you offer (fast food, take away, home or delivery ), work hours, itinerant route, etc.
2. Define the target
To build your business model you must know your target audience. Based on what they want and demand, you will determine what to offer them. Food trucks can be quite versatile in that they can reach more than one target audience.
For example, students are the ones who appreciate the different food options the most, but also office workers, retirees, and even housewives. They all have different consumption needs, but if they have something in common, it is that they eat and like to try new food places whenever they can.
Do not lose sight of millennials, they are an important part of the target audience. They, intentionally or not, set consumer trends.
3. Process the commercial registry and permits
- In the first instance, like any other lucrative company, the company must exist legally to be able to market under its name.
- Then, in the second instance, you must obtain a permit or authorization to sell food in different public places.
- Finally, as it is a food business, it is necessary to process a food handling and sanitation permit at the time of registering the company.
4. Initial investment and current expenses
In general, it will be a time initial investment that includes the purchase or lease of the vehicle and equipment. Keep in mind that you may need to make some transformations to make it work like a food truck. You should also consider license fees and other miscellaneous expenses.
current expenses will be the purchase of supplies and fuel for the truck, the salary of the staff, and the electricity bill, among others.
5. Acquisition of equipment, furniture, and utensils
A food truck is not like any other truck. This must be conditioned to the requirements of a vehicle in which food will be prepared. For this, it is necessary to follow safety measures in terms of gas, electricity, hygiene, and space. It must have stainless steel elements and non-flammable materials.
The food truck must have furniture, equipment, and utensils to preserve food and prepare dishes. The requirements and infrastructure will depend, to a large extent, on the type of food you intend to sell. If it’s fast food, like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, you won’t need heavy equipment. On the other hand, if you will be selling pizzas, more elaborate food, or ice cream, you will need heavy equipment. Broadly speaking, the following are equipment that a food truck should include:
- work table
- light plant
- energy Saver
- drinking water and wastewater container
- solid waste deposit
- service bar
- washing area
- home appliances
6. Hire the staff
The number of people needed is proportional to the number of jobs and customers. One or two people are enough if it’s a fast food truck (hamburgers or hot dogs). On the other hand, if it is food that requires more preparation, it will be necessary to hire helpers. The ideal would be to have a kitchen manager, a kitchen assistant , a general assistant,,, and a cashier.
7. Design and execute marketing strategies
Every business needs advertising to make itself known. The same truck can function as a traveling advertisement, but it is not enough. To reach a larger number of people, it is necessary to expand in the right way. In this case, static advertising is not effective since the truck follows a route and it is impossible to provide permanent reference points.
A great idea to promote your food truck business is by making use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter but above all Instagram and Pinterest. Share the photos and videos of the process of preparing your products and the facade of your food truck. This way, people will know you and can recommend you. Remember that an updated agenda through social networks can work perfectly as advertising.
How much does a food truck cost?
The price of a food truck already equipped with a kitchen can vary between 10,000 USD and 30,000 USD, depending on your needs. However, it is also possible to find used food trucks for less than $10,000. This is a significant amount, but it is still low compared to the cost of opening a restaurant in a fixed location.
NOTE: If you don’t have the funds for a quality truck, our advice is to rent one. When everything “goes smoothly” in your business, you can invest in a new truck.
As we told you at the beginning of this article, this business is expected to expand and increase in value. why? Well, its business model suits all pockets. The food of a food truck is much cheaper than that of a fixed restaurant. Food prices in a restaurant include the payment for the property, staff, decoration, etc. In a mobile restaurant, you don’t pay for any of that, just for the food.
In addition, their routes through different geographical points favor that they reach almost all the inhabitants of certain regions.
Food trucks are a good start for beginners in the restaurant industry. Who knows? Perhaps you will be the next entrepreneur who joins in with an innovative concept and makes a name for yourself in the guild.