What are some of the benefits to starting a food truck or lunch truck business? You don’t need previous food truck experience and the start-up cost is low. This type of operation is virtually recession-proof, so this also minimizes start-up risk.
In addition to the start-up benefits, many entrepreneurs start a catering truck business for the freedom that it offers. Business owners can typically choose the hours they work and even where they operate. With all this – food trucks also provide a high profit potential.
If you have a background working in the food industry, or have a popular family recipe that always pleases a crowd, you’ll have an advantage going into this field.
What is the Downside?
All that said, the mobile vending business can be tricky. Whereas a traditional restaurant has an interior space where they can sell through an atmosphere they can control – food trucks don’t have that. They have to create an amazing customer experience through their product and service alone. It means paying more attention to things like food presentation, convenience and staff friendliness (things you can control).
And just because a food truck is cheaper to start and operate than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, it doesn’t mean you can’t be concerned about costs. It’s important to be aware of areas in your business that may be wasteful, and do cost-cutting accordingly. The more wiggle-room you give your business as far as profit margins – the better off you’ll be when times get tough.
Mobile Vending License and Permits
License and permit requirements vary by city. In some cities, a vendor needs a mobile food vendor license and the vehicle needs a mobile food vending unit permit. Some cities put a cap on the number of permits given out at one time, so it’s important to contact your local city office before you start purchasing equipment and supplies.
Food Trucks & Equipment
The smaller the truck, the less the cost. If you are on a budget, consider a smaller truck, a used vehicle or even a cart to get started. You can find food trucks for sale at Vendingtrucks.com and used vehicles at Cateringtruck.com/used.html.
Does your city require that the vending truck be stored in a special facility? Where can you legally park your vehicle? These are all questions you want to ask your local city office.
Mission Restaurant Supply is a huge resource for restaurant supplies, catering equipment and concession supplies. They let customers rate their products, which is helpful for shoppers, and they also give “web special” pricing.
Intuit GoPayment is a cheap and easy way for food vendors to accept credit card payments from customers. You don’t need to buy any fancy equipment – in fact you can accept payments using your iPhone, iPad or Android.
Intuit provides you with a free card reader, which you attach to your wireless device. A small fee is charged each time a credit card is swiped. This means that you don’t have to spend lots of money to get started – and you can start attracting more customers right away who don’t have cash on hand. Find out more.
FOOD TRUCK QUICK-START GUIDE
The Food Truck Handbook has step-by-step instructions on how to start your own food-vending business from a truck, van or other vehicle. It lays our regulations and laws you need to abide by as well as how to plan out your business – including start-up costs.
An important factor that plays a big role in the success of food trucks is image and concept. When they see your vehicle, will they be interested and intrigued enough to come over and buy food from you? This guide by David Weber shows you how to find a profitable concept, as well as choose a great name and location for your business.
David explains how to set up payment systems, get insurance and efficiently run the administrative side of your food truck. These things can help you keep more profit and spend less time working.
Not sure how to layout a kitchen, plan a menu or hire others to work for you? It’s all covered in David’s Handbook – and you can get it for less than $15.
Marketing Your Food Truck Business
Many food trucks have been successful using social media to advertise daily specials or their location throughout the day. This is great news, because it’s free, it’s easy and it’s instant.
Food trucks are also needed at community events, festivals, concerts, farmers markets, parties and corporate functions. When you’re getting started, make yourself available for these events where you can connect with more customers and get the word about your business. Besides being profitable money-making opportunities, this can be another form of free advertising as well.