If you’re trying to start up a food truck business, then you likely have an endless amount of questions.
What should my food concept be?
How do I market my truck?
What about permits?
What do I need to include in my business plan?
Where can I park?
How do I make my future customers happy and implement quality customer service?
Where do I even begin?
As an aspiring food truck owner, the questions are never-ending.
Luckily, we’re here to help.
For the purposes of this article, we will be highlighting some FoodTruckr articles that cover different areas of starting up a food truck business, and we encourage you to check out each one during your journey.
Note: A preview and link will be provided for every article.
FoodTruckr Articles That Will Help You Start Up A Food Truck Business
6. What if I don’t have a food truck just yet, but I want to learn more about running a food truck business?
If you’re still trying to get your food truck out on the road, we recommend starting out by reading our first book, How to Start a Food Truck: The Definitive Guide. This awesome program takes you from figuring out whether a food truck or a brick and mortar location is right for you all the way to getting ready for your first day out on the streets. It’s packed full of tasty tips on everything from figuring out which licenses you need to getting financing for your truck to choosing a commissary.
Of course, once you’ve finished reading How to Start a Food Truck: The Definitive Guide, there’s also a ton for you to learn inside The Food Truck Growth Kit. You’ll learn all about new challenges that real food truck owners face once they’re out on the streets, such as maintaining a healthy work/life balance, motivating their team members, and what to do when they don’t have enough customers. If you’re already well into your plans of starting a food truck and you want to make sure you’re as well equipped as can be before hitting the streets, The Food Truck Growth Kit is definitely worth a read.
First, let’s start by making a list of everything you could possibly be interested in selling. That’s right—we said everything. Now, some of you may already know exactly what your dream food truck would offer, but many of you are probably working with a more general picture of yourself cooking up delicious eats in a truck that can go around town and appear at events and catering gigs. No matter which point you’re at in the process, go ahead and make this list.
Include everything that you would enjoy preparing for hordes of loyal customers—gourmet hot dogs, tasty specialty cupcakes, meaty burgers, Asian-fusion tacos, gooey cinnamon rolls and pastries, healthy smoothies, or vegan alternatives to traditional meals. Remember that you can start a food truck that focuses on nearly any type of cuisine you want. You can experiment with something exotic and unique that no one else serves (like The Boba Truck, a specialty tea shop with flavors ranging from Japan barley green milk tea to Valencia orange zest black tea), or you can take a tried and true classic and do it super well (like Peanut Butter Bar, a truck that’s found a way to make plain old PB&J gourmet).
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The food truck industry is still pretty new. Though people have been selling food on the streets for decades, the concept of a food truck in its modern iteration really took off when Kogi BBQ got started in 2008. Especially if food trucks aren’t already popular in your area, you’re going to have to do some legwork to connect with the right government offices and figure out whether or not what you want to do is legal. Be prepared to explain the concept of a food truck over and over again, and understand that you’ll likely be met with some resistance or general apathy from government workers who don’t know or don’t care about what you’re trying to achieve.
Note: If your city doesn’t have laws about food trucks, you might assume that you can go ahead and operate your truck as you please (so long as you aren’t breaking any other laws). In some cities, that’s true to an extent—but keep in mind that just because your city doesn’t have laws in place now, that doesn’t mean they won’t in a few years. Be cautious before investing your time and money into a truck and business model that could be ruled illegal once the local government gets around to regulating the industry.
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Most importantly, when your business becomes a memorable and integral part of your local community, the magic really starts to happen. Your most loyal fans will return again and again, but you’ll also have the opportunity to become an iconic local fixture that visitors seek out and citizens go crazy for. When you reach this level of immersion in the community, you’ll also start to gain access to parking opportunities that weren’t necessarily accessible before. Perhaps a local business lets you park outside their shop on a busy Saturday when they’re having a major sale. Maybe the mayor of your town gives you permission to park in the usually-restricted downtown area so that the whole city can enjoy your spicy buffalo wraps (and so the mayor’s office staff can get their fix!).
The food truck gods are fickle beings, and your truck may be plagued by customer droughts if you fail to please them. But if you can figure out the secret to the sacrament of success, you’ll be rewarded with floods of excited fans who pray for the day your truck rolls into their neighborhood.
Want to know how to get into customer heaven? Honor these 10 commandments of customer relationships faithfully and you’ll be blessed with a flock of hungry, happy followers for your truck.
Each of the following sections includes a brief summary of the information that should be included and a list of questions or items to help you begin writing. Your business plan will probably take you several weeks to complete, so don’t worry about finishing it in one sitting. When you’re finished, you should have several small essays in each section. The information you gather during this exercise will guide you in all of your future business decisions—and will also serve as a solid foundation if you decide to pursue funding or investment opportunities in the future.
If you’ve spent any time looking for food trucks for sale in your area before, you’ve probably already noticed how many different styles and sizes there are to choose from. Whether they opt for a small food cart or a massive trailer that hitches to a huge truck, FoodTruckrs across the country have found some creative ways to serve up their tastiest creations. To narrow the field a bit and to determine which type of food truck you should be looking at, you’ll need to make the following three key decisions. Think of them sort of like the parameters you’d set before going out to buy any new car. Rather than choosing from every car on the lot, you’d start out by determining some general factors like whether you’d prefer a convertible or a minivan, an automatic or a manual transmission, and to spend $5,000 or $18,000.
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Picture this: You’re walking through a food truck festival, and you see four trucks lined up along the very first street. One of them is a bright, colorful food truck with big graphics and an appealing cartoon character on the sides and a giant, professionally printed menu board next to the ordering window. Two of them have pretty basic designs—one is plain red with the truck’s name printed in big, black script letters across the side and the other is a blue truck with the name in blocky, green letters. The last one is a sort of old-looking white truck with a big banner announcing the truck’s name above the ordering window and some whiteboards with handwritten daily specials sitting near it.
To figure out what you really need (and to make sure you don’t miss anything), walk through the steps of preparing each recipe in your head and think about what utensils and dishes you would need. You may even want to write the steps down to be sure you don’t miss anything. Remember to account for every small dish that the food will touch at any point in time—including prep bowls, cutting boards, and containers to store leftover ingredients. List out each different type of knife and all of the pots and pans and corresponding lids you’ll need. Include food storage products like foil, saran wrap, and plastic bags. And of course, don’t forget the food-safe handling gloves!
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