How To Start A Food Truck Business – Turn Your Passion Into Business
The actual ‘how’ of how to start a food truck business might seem fairly easy.
You can start it out of an RV, a customized truck, or another commercial vehicle of your choice.
However, a food truck business is easy to start, but difficult to master. Its accessibility is its biggest strength and disadvantage.
You must learn not only how to start a food truck business, but also how to make it unique and successful.
Additionally, there are also a few laws and regulations that every food truck vendor must adhere to.
Here are a few things you can do to start a successful food truck.
1. Choose Unique Operating Hours
The mobility a food truck gives you is unparalleled. With that being said, like with every business you need to choose an operating hour range/ time in the day that you must adhere to. Why?
- They let regulars of a certain area know when to come to your food truck.
- They allow you to schedule visits to different parts of town more efficiently.
- They let you work when competitors don’t.
For example, a college town might require a unique time setup, as compared to a city.
Late night studying and socializing might require a food truck vendor to burn the midnight oil, rather than be the early bird.
2. Be Social
Food trucks let the customers directly talk to the ‘restaurateur’.
- Unlike at a sit-down restaurant, you’re often waiting for food and eating right next to the vendor.
- Unlike at a convenience store, you can stick around till your food is over and not just leave after you’re given what you want.
A food truck requires the vendor to be social. This is both a service and a gift. Conversing and forming bonds with your customers will create loyalists out of them.
You can learn how to start a food truck, but in order to run it successfully being social is a must.
3. Take Advantage Of Social Media
Not the first thought that comes to mind when one wonders how to start a food truck. However, social media can prove extremely beneficial if:
- You create a brand voice for yourself.
- Operate in a small area with loyal customers.
- Provide updates to your customers.
For example, Ken Baumgarten, who owns a hot dog food truck in State College, PA, takes advantage of Twitter by letting his customers know when he’s open for business.
Additionally, a brand voice isn’t only limited to bigger brands.
Posting your sense of humor, topics of interest to your customers, among other things can help build a loyal following for your food truck.
Starting An Online Business? Build It On .Online!
4. Keep It Simple, Silly
The KISS principle can help plenty of businesses and ventures. None more so than when you’re learning about how to start a food truck.
The unique selling point of a food truck is that it is simple, fast, and friendly. Therefore, your menu must also reflect the following things:
- A few, good food items
- Food items that can be prepared quickly and in mass
- The choice of 1 or 2 add-ons at best
- 1-2 condiments/ sauces, if any
- 2-3 beverage options
These numbers can change based on what your definition of simple is.
But, keeping things as minimalistic as possible will not only prevent any surprise orders that take time but will also allow you to save on costs.
Buying 3 things in bulk, rather than 6 things in fewer quantities will let you use a certain amount of economies of scale.
5. Choose An Appropriate Ride
You can’t know how to start a food truck, without eventually getting a food truck. There are a variety of commercial vehicles to choose from.
- However, a vehicle too large for your needs can prove to be overkill and expensive.
- Something too small might not fit your needs, or at worst be considered a fire hazard.
While the choice is up to you, here’s a tip. Why not cook remotely and sell at the food truck?
Stocking up once a day, or a few times throughout can help you save food truck costs while giving you the space to cook.
For that to be successful, these things need to happen:
- Appropriate inventory/ stock predictions
- Whether the cost to deliver is more expensive than actually cooking in the food truck.
- Whether separate food laws are being followed in the kitchen (especially if it is a home kitchen).
6. Be Mobile, Or Don’t
Choose between being mobile or not and market that. You can either be the food truck vendor who’s found at a particular spot at a particular time or be the vendor who’s always seen traveling.
Given the personal nature of the food truck, it is easy to form a cult following with a few dedicated customers. But that cannot happen if you’re inconsistent. Stick to a strategy.
Don’t not show up and don’t suddenly change how you operate. That can throw some of your customers off, which might prove costly.
7. Educate Yourself On Licenses And State & Federal Laws
You can’t know how to start a food truck, without learning about how to prevent it from shutting down.
Food trucks are subject to a variety of state regulations, designed specifically for them.
While safety and hygiene may seem obvious, how different states interpret them is unique from state to state. Look them up and make sure everything you do is up to the mark.
Being slapped a sudden closure notice is never nice, and is especially bad for food vendors.
While the romance of a mobile food truck adventure might sound fantastic on paper, there are realistic rent laws that your food truck may have to adhere to.
This can depend from state to state. If you’re in luck, you can simply rent out a parking space and start your business.
But to know where your state stands with its approach to food trucks and renting spaces, look them up.
True for every business, this applies to food trucks as well. You can’t simply start a food truck. You need a few licenses in order to even begin your food truck journey.
This includes licenses such as a business license, to licenses that are unique to food establishments. These licenses are not regulated by the FDA and depend from state to state.
101+ Business Name Ideas For Your Food Truck Business
Listed below are 101+ business and domain name suggestions for your new and existing food truck business.
A food truck business can be lucrative, low on investments, and a great main or side hustle, if done correctly. Interacting with happy customers can be a great value add.
However, learning how to start a food truck business is not as simple as buying the biggest truck in the car lot and whipping up a menu of your favorite recipes.
The preparation and maintenance part requires time, patience, and thinking. This article covers the essentials of those things.