The food truck industry has quickly become one of the fastest growing eatery segments in the United States. For consumers, food trucks provide many options at convenient locations. For food truck owners, the industry provides a way to enter the restaurant business at extremely low costs and high margins.
1. Get Licensed and Incorporated
Food trucks have come a long way from the roach coaches of old, but it's still important to be protected from liability issues. Make sure to incorporate the food truck as a limited liability company (LLC).
Cities and counties always have unique requirements for food trucks. Contact the specific jurisdiction where you plan to operate your truck. The city or county will tell you about the required health department certificates, truck permits and parking restrictions.
2. Get a Working Food Cart or Food Truck
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's important to get a food truck or food cart after you have fully researched all the licenses and incorporation events.
If you're starting a food truck, make sure that you consider the types of foods that you plan to prepare and serve, so you can purchase the correct type of food truck or food cart.
3. Get the Food Truck Insured
Insurance for a food truck shouldn't be confused with the licenses outlined in step number one. Ensure that the food truck is covered for any problems that might arise. For example, if the food truck is going to serve pizza, make sure that the food truck is insured for the oven inside.
Speak with an insurance agent and be honest about what the food truck will be used for. The agent will help design a policy for the unique needs of the food truck.
4. Find a Niche Cuisine to Sell
While many food trucks are traditionally known for selling basic tacos or sandwiches, modern food trucks now serve gourmet cuisine, international delicacies, health foods and specialty sweets.
Once you have a basic understanding of the type of food that you plan to sell, it's important to mull over a niche and come up with a differentiating factor. It's still okay to sell tacos and sandwiches, but put a fresh spin on the cuisine so it appeals to a niche market. This way, your most devoted customers will follow your food truck from location to location, because they're seeking out the food that you're serving.
5. Make a Plan
At this point, you should know about all of the permits, you should have a good lead on your food truck or food cart, and you should know what niche cuisine you plan to prepare. It's now time to create a viable business plan. Take into account all the operating costs of running a food truck as well as the expected revenue from operations.
All the costs in a food truck business plan should include permits, cleaning equipment and ingredients. Then, figure out how many sales the food truck needs to be profitable.
6. Find Parking and an Area to Operate the Business
Think about where you will park your food truck when it's not in use. Food trucks are large, and there are some inherent parking issues.
The truck might not fit in front of a residential home, and various neighborhood associations might not even allow you to park it in the neighborhood. If off-site parking is the only option, ensure that the truck will be safe overnight.
Second, consider the locations where will operate your truck. The location where you will sell your food is arguably the most important aspect of a food truck business. Make sure the area is both legal and a place with high foot traffic.