How to start a Food Truck
“Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people”, one wise enterpreneur once said.
As food trucks are among recent trends, it is a good idea to see what competitors are there on the market, so that you may narrow down a concept and a name of your business. Your interests and experiences should also be included on the discovering stage and don’t forget about the consumer interest.
Pick your concept.
People today are quite into travelling, so there is a high chance they will be ready for something exotic, or organic, or a remake of a traditional dish they loved in their childhood. Just take your time to consider what taste is missing in your city.
From there you can choose a name and logo that perfectly mirror the core of your business. Your concept, name, and logo should be memorable and attention-grabbing to be the first thing a consumer thinks of.
A thorough concept and an appealing logo can make a major impact on customers when they choose to shop from your truck.
Financial planning works wonders.
Business requires investing, so all you need is to thoroughly plan future expenses and predict the income to know what to expect. Business plan is also the document you would present to potential investors, so it is important to lay out your vision and financial plan carefully.
Below you may find a short layout of a business plan:
- A Company Description with your motivation to choose a food truck business and what makes your idea stand out.
- An Executive Summary includes the goals and expectations of your business. Share what kind of food you want to sell and why that is your choice.
- A Market Analysis explains your target audience and your ideas on winning their attention.
- Marketing and Sales Strategies present your advertising plan, tactics and strategies to awaken the interest to your own food truck.
- An Organization and Management Plan presents the internal structure here to show the organization and the level of preparation.
- A Product Line Description with the main menu details, include the seasonal offerings as well.
- A Financial Projection. Here you can present the whole picture of your 5-year financial prediction, with detailed changes that might occur.
- A Funding Request that describes the source of your funds and definite sums your business requires.
Financial projection will take the most of your time as this alone may show how well-prepared you and your business are. We are ready to provide you with a useful tool to make it work for you. Using the financial model, you will have all the necessary forecasting reports, financial summaries, as well as performance KPIs.
Buy a Food Truck.
Depending on the size and stuffing structure it may cost from $3,000 for a secondhand trailer to as much as $200,000 for a new truck. Investing in a quality food truck from the beginning minimizes your risk of repairing in the future.
Your food truck should include these necessary components:
- Refrigerators and ovens
- Hot and cold water
- Fire extinguishers and first aid kits
- Proper size storage
A food cart may be the best place to start if budget doesn’t let you a more expensive truck at the beginning. You should be able to find a cart for about $2,000, which is a good start.
Before buying a food truck, make sure to plan out the concept of your business well, as that would directly influence the choice. Because this will be the largest expense in your new business, you need to get it right. After all, you don’t want to spend $40,000 on a truck when you can do it with a food cart.
Together with a food truck itself you need to get two types of permissions. One is the business license, and the other is your food service permission.
However, the number of permissions may depend on your location and residence. So you need to consult your local government and study the current data.
The step of hiring staff is as important as listing and choosing equipment, as they directly affect the average check and the revenue respectively. Starting a food truck concept requires at least 2 people to start, so make sure they are trained well to be perfect ambassadors of you and your business.
No special skills are needed when hiring staff, as the equipment is easy to operate. So look for people with soft skills, for you to be able to explain your ideas once or twice. An employee should be able to learn fast and start working effectively as soon as possible.
Purchase equipment and supplies.
The next step is to fill your space with the equipment. These items will be essential for producing and keeping your truck efficient. Make sure your concept is well thought beforehand so you wouldn’t have any extra expenses on the way,
Here is a list of equipment you might need. However, the choice of your equipment depends on the type of food truck you have chosen to work with.
- Cooking Equipment
- Warming and Holding Equipment
- Food Prep Equipment
- Serving Equipment
- Refrigeration Equipment
- Janitorial Equipment
Those above are the bare minimum that might be expanded and broadened depending on your needs and likings.
Work on the brand and recognition.
When you have your truck and your location ready, the last but not least is promoting your truck. Using Facebook and Instagram is a great way to target your local community and help potential customers find your business.
Plus, you can show off pictures of your tasty food as well as promote and present all the latest news. For maximum impact, post regularly, and be sure to use any local hashtags to help your business be recognized.
If you accept orders online or over the phone, have that information in your social media biography as well.
Festivals and local fairs are a great way to get more customers. Especially in the spring and summer months, many towns and cities have outdoor events like fairs and farmers’ markets. Participating in these events is a great way to spread awareness about your business while also getting some extra sales.
As food trucks are now a thing, there are a lot of dedicated events where you may study your competitors and get feedback from the customers to develop your business even more. Try to book as many events as you can. If you do participate in several events, fairs, or festivals, create an event calendar that you can hand out to customers or post on your social media so that they know where to find you next.
Starting your own business is always risky, but it all starts with a dream and an idea. The next steps require planning and patience.
Buckle up, your business is about to take off.