- August 28, 2014
How to Start a Food Truck Business
Food trucks have become a $1 billion dollar industry, which grew 8.4% annually between 2007 and 2012. Open wide, here comes the food truck!
Although food trucks are not some new invention of the modern economy, they have been made popular once again by meeting the needs of a largely mobile generation of Europeans and North Americans. In Asia, they never really lost their sheen, and food trucks have been the lifeblood of local economies from China to Thailand.
For the entrepreneurs with a taste for food trucks and the profits they bring, low overhead and not being stuck in a fixed location are the two key ingredients which make having a food truck business lucrative and drive truck sales up.
Photo by: Mark Hernandez (flickr)
Fixed sales opportunities, not locations
Deciding on a location for a business, especially a food business, can be quite costly and take time. There’s a lot of data to review, and one can’t simply jump in “Field of Dreams” style – If you build it they will come. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Build it and go to them. And thus, the allure of food trucks boils down to an unlimited patronage, from one side of town to the other.
More than less overhead, less hands, too
Another reason why the food truck industry is booming is because it’s pretty much a DIY business. You can see it in the increase in truck sales.
Although it is difficult to gauge just how many food truck businesses are out there, it is estimated that 78% of food truck operators are able to meet their food sales demand with fewer than 4 employees.
The food truck biz isn’t just limited to trucks, either.
The food truck industry also possesses other mobile food sales venues that may not necessarily be on wheels; food kiosks, food carts, concession stands, trains, and booths in bus stations, airports, stadiums, malls, conference centres, and resorts also occupy the food truck space. The opportunities appear to be endless.
A flexible business
Food truck business owners choose to get into this flavour of food sales because of the flexibility the market provides.
There are a number of factors an entrepreneur should consider to determine if a food truck business is ideal for them. Some of these factors include how much start-up cash they possess, their time commitment, how “out there” their idea is and what it might take to fulfil their goals, the size of their ideal business, and which demographic they’re trying to feed.
These factors will help an entrepreneur decide which type of food service they might offer, with options ranging from food truck to mobile catering business.
Appealing to cash carrying taste-buds
Simply put, the success of any food sales business boils down to what they dangle in front of hungry prospective customers. Before considering which truck to buy, it is important to know what kind of kitchen the truck will contain.
The menu is an entrepreneurs’ road map to success, and through trial and error, it can take a little bit of time to get it right. Once a menu is finalized, it’s safe to bet you’ll know what equipment you’ll need to facilitate the items on it, and then what truck you should purchase.
A “food truck-preneur” should clearly identify what foods that are popular around town, and which they’d like to cook. What ingredients are readily available, how they’re stored, and which are easy to transport.
Are there any foods that other food trucks seem to lack? Perhaps you’ll specialize in one particular taste palate, or you’d prefer to offer a diverse range spanning different.
Some entrepreneurs prefer to take the safe progression from kiosk to truck, so they can iron out the details of their offering before carrying the cost of purchasing a food truck.