A food truck is a modified restaurant location that removes many positions in a typical brick and mortar restaurant and tends to serve food much the same as quick-service restaurants. The food truck industry has observed rapid growth and expansion over the past years, with many food truck owners (over 4,000) in the country as revealed by IBISWorld, and the annual growth rate of revenue of more than 7.5%.
Understandably, this mobile business often attracts patrons to purchase food thanks to its convenience, unique and tasty food, and local community aspect. It also empowers small business owners to enter the food industry at a low startup cost versus the cost needed to start a food business in a brick and mortar location. If you are among aspiring food truck owners, read on to learn how to start a food truck, become wildly successful with it, and more.
Top 9 best tips on how to start a food truck
1. Keep up with required business permits to save your local food trucks from fines
A food truck business requires multiple business permits for its food truck operations, including:
Food truck permits;
Food service license;
Employer identification number;
Employee health permit;
Retail seafood truck dealer permit;
Hawker & Peddler license;
Commercial driver's license;
State sales tax permit;
Please note that these business permits often vary by town, state, etc. Thus, significantly, you learn exactly what you need for your food truck startup by contacting your local jurisdiction such as the local health department. Consult your local motor vehicle department to figure out your parking options and where you can park the truck overnight as well. Keeping up with the food truck licenses will save a business owner from fines and whatnot.
2. Know your food truck demographics
Looking at your target market demographics will help find out who is often attracted to this mobile food business. Food truck customers between 25 and 44 years old occupy over 43% and more than 19.5% are under 25.
This means most of your target customers are ardent social media users. To be where they are, you should build a solid presence on social platforms.
3. Closely manage the food truck startup costs
Similar to other business owners, you should have an accountant navigate the startup costs of your food truck business. These may include food truck permits, the business plan, actual truck, truck wrap, point of sale software, cooking equipment, gas, internet administration, and commercial kitchen space.
We hope you know that determining if you will buy or rent motor vehicles is associated with your financial projections. Compare prices in the local area and think about the costs of equipment, overhead, and routine maintenance.
Remember to track such numbers quarter after quarter or month over month to detect and handle any unexpected or soaring costs.
4. Cleverly manage food costs
Proactively do the market analysis, monitor how much food you have and your food cost percentage, and decide the most cost-effective menu items. Should you learn some rise in an ingredient price that is unsurprising today with inflation, you can switch to a new item, change food suppliers or menu. A cost-effective and always up-to-date menu system is a proven way of promoting menu quality, revamping your marketing strategies, and maximizing your profitability.
5. Minimize labor costs
Food truck operators are trying and navigating sky-high food prices, labor tightness, and higher customer demands. To reduce the labor costs, you can:
Adjust the staffing based on your sales projected by month or season;
Assign fewer workers and use technology like the One2 online ordering platform. This lets you get orders fulfilled speedily and efficiently - all while avoiding the hassle for your already preoccupied food truck staff.
6. Decide how your food prep will be done
When starting a food truck business, you need to determine what type of food you will make and sell, the food preparation, and your menu design. Please note that a food truck is not as spacious as a brick and mortar restaurant location, doing food prep inside may be relatively hard.
Also, you should ensure your menu food can be consistently tasty and repeated in large amounts.
7. Let customers recognize your food truck through design & branding
Determine your food truck concept (niche, a unique offering from a common dish, or something brand-new) by analyzing your target market, learning about your competitors, and understanding the food truck industry through SWOT analysis. Follow up by matching it with your truck design and marketing materials. This approach allows customers to recognize your business more easily and purchase food even if it is an extra small business.
8. Capitalize on marketing
Starting a successful food truck business involves devising and working out food truck marketing strategies. Here are some good marketing ideas recommended by many food truck owners:
Improve the visibility of your appealing logo by placing it online, on flyers, etc.;
Create social media accounts that keep your food truck customers updated about menus, public or private events, etc., and increase their interactions with your business;
Leverage user-generated content about your cuisines
Conduct location-based advertising. For instance, create model ads targeting users in the seasonal festivals if you have relocated there;
Join events and festivals as food truck vendors;
Use One2 online ordering & delivery system that brings the power of 1st-party ordering to your food truck for free;
Find local partnership opportunities;
Capitalize on the food truck’s mobility by relocating to new neighborhoods and cities. But on the other hand, pay a regular visit to them to establish name recognition;
Help those in need as customers take more interest in companies that give to charity.
9. Use the virtual point of sale to grow revenue faster than costs
With the food truck starting, you need a virtual point of sale (POS) piece of software. One2 virtual POS system is ideal for successful food trucks as it supports online ordering and fulfillment and contactless payments. This means no more paper and pens and frees up your time to concentrate on order prep. You can manage everything smoothly in a unified place, speed up your food truck operations, and attract more new customers. Contact us for more support on the POS solution.
1. How hard is it to start a food truck?
Food trucks can need long hours of maintenance, cleaning, finding excellent locations, event booking, etc. It may also be hard for a food truck owner to keep abreast of rules for parking permits and zoning restrictions.
2. Food truck idea regarding food?
3. How to start a food truck without experience?
Step 1: Decide your food truck concept
Step 2: Make a food truck business plan and research your local food truck scene. Your business plan is recommended to include these elements:
List of your food truck owners and management team;
Marketing and sales;
Step 3: Open a business bank account
Step 4: Research and prepare necessary food truck equipment and permits & licenses
Step 5. Hire the right people
Step 6. Buy ingredients and food
Step 7. See if your food truck works correctly
Step 8: Start selling
Step 9: Optimize your business marketing and sales strategy
Step 10: Try various locations and crowds
Step 11: Expand your fleet.
4. How much does it cost to start a food truck business?
SmallBizGenius shares that a food truck starting in the U.S. costs around $55,000.
5. Food truck startup with minimal funding?
Talk with other food truck owners and negotiate a rental or lease agreement;
Talk to a successful restaurant business owner about starting a food truck for their business;
Begin with a used trailer;
Sell at a pop-up, farmer’s market, etc., at first;
Probably qualify for a loan advance;
Find sponsorship if your food truck idea involves offering benefits to the community.
6. Places to find food trucks for sale?
National online classifieds;
Local online classifieds;
Leasing and franchising;
New custom trucks.
7. How big is the food truck industry in the U.S?
With an average growth rate of 6.4% per year over the past years, the food truck industry boasts a $1.2-billion market size.
8. How much can a food truck make?
A monthly average of $20,000 - $42,000 or $250,000-$500,000 per year.
9. How to boost sales and margin growth?
One2 Instant Contactless QR Code Menu
Use seasonal specials created with One2 Menu for high-ticket item promotion;
Use menu analysis to get rid of expensive unpopular items;
Train your employees on loyalty & reward programs, upselling, and SMS marketing.
10. Lessons from owners of other food trucks?
Listen effectively to your food truck customer, then make proper changes;
Prepare for the unexpected, say hidden costs of starting a food truck business.