FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business https://foodtruckr.com/ Tue, 26 Jul 2022 21:37:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.4 https://foodtruckr.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/FoodTruckrLogo-150x150.jpg FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business https://foodtruckr.com/ 32 32 FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business pat@foodtruckr.com pat@foodtruckr.com (FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business) 2014 | Flynndustries, LLC How to Start, Run and Grow a Successful Food Truck Business FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business http://foodtruckr.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/ftr-podcast.png https://foodtruckr.com/blog/ Food Truck Catering in Los Angeles (2022 Guide) https://foodtruckr.com/food-truck-catering/food-truck-catering-in-los-angeles/ Tue, 26 Jul 2022 20:33:58 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=25006 Food trucks are an essential aspect of the Los Angeles experience. And when it comes to food truck catering, your choices and options can seem overwhelming. Luckily for you, we’re here to help. We’ve put together the ultimate Los Angeles food truck catering guide to help you find exactly what you need for your event.  […]

The post Food Truck Catering in Los Angeles (2022 Guide) appeared first on FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business.

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Los Angeles food truck at a catered event.

Food trucks are an essential aspect of the Los Angeles experience. And when it comes to food truck catering, your choices and options can seem overwhelming.

Luckily for you, we’re here to help.

We’ve put together the ultimate Los Angeles food truck catering guide to help you find exactly what you need for your event. 

How to use this guide:

We’ve organized this article into two sections:

  1. The best food truck caterers in Los Angeles: We’ve found and organized 21 of the top food trucks in LA that are great at catering. We’ve included the cuisine, what types of events they’re great for, and what makes their food amazing.
  2. How to book a food truck in Los Angeles: We’ve gathered info and tips to help you decide whether food truck catering is right for your event and to make sure your food truck event goes smoothly.
Looking to book food truck catering? Check out Roaming Hunger’s Los Angeles Food Truck Catering booking service.

LA’s Best Mexican & Taco Trucks for Catering

1. G’s Taco Spot on Wheels

Great for: On-Set Catering, Fundraisers, Corporate Catering, Weddings

Cuisine: Mexican, Tacos, Breakfast, Burritos

G’s Taco Spot on Wheels

Craving some Mexican food? Think quesadilla, ceviche, guacamole, burrito and tacos of all flavors and spices. With the most extensive variety of Mexican food, no matter what you are craving, you will be sure to get your fill at G’s Taco Spot on Wheels!

Get your taste buds satisfied with the Wet & Wild Burrito, containing nothing less than steak fries and carne asada. Or fill your belly with G’s Al Pastor Taco Salad, a mix of marinated pork with grilled onions on a bed of chopped lettuce and beans. Or, if you are looking for something with that extra tantalizing flavor, we recommend the Grilled Mexican Tequila Lime Chicken Breast & Hawaiian Roll – it both sounds and tastes delicious!

2. The Tropic Truck

Great for: Custom Menus, Fancy Affairs, Huge Events, Corporate Catering

Cuisine: Mexican, Seafood, Caribbean, Tacos, Wraps

The Tropic Truck

Whoever said seafood could only be enjoyed near the sea? No matter where you are, The Tropic Truck will bring the delights of the sea right to your doorstep – if you hire them for your next event, that is. Not only do they offer a wide selection of mahi mahi bowls, lobster bowls and grilled shrimp bowls, but they also bring some Mexican food to the mix, with quesadillas, tacos and nachos.

Mexican food plus seafood. What more could one ask for? Choose from Charbroiled Angus Steak Tacos to Blackened Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos, Charbroiled Angus Steak Quesadilla to Jumbo Shrimp Quesadilla, and Grilled Lobster Nachos to Charbroiled Jerk Chicken Nachos. You can even get your hands on some Lobster Fries – and trust us, they are even more enticing than they sound!

3. La Fiesta Mexican Cuisine

Great for: On-Set Catering, Family Events, Huge Events, Fundraisers

Cuisine: Mexican, Hot Dogs, Tacos, Sandwiches, Burritos

La Fiesta Mexican Cuisine

The La Fiesta Mexican Cuisine food truck takes Mexican food to another level with its refreshing hot dogs, tacos, sandwiches and burritos that will have you coming back for seconds.

Start your meal with a Choose Your Own Adventure appetizer, involving a selection of mini tacos, veggie spring rolls, crab cakes, sliders, shrimp and grits, avocado toast, and meatballs. Then, whip up a bounty of authentic Mexican fare with one of its mains. Not only do Edward and Guillermo serve you a hearty meal with the highest quality ingredients and traditional preparation methods, but they also go above and beyond to ensure you have a good time.

4. Pinch of Flavor

Great for: Custom Menus, On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Fundraisers

Cuisine: Mexican, Seafood, Vegan, Savory, Vegetarian

Pinch of Flavor

Combine Mexican food and seafood to get the most palatable and flavorful dishes, served by Isis and Jael at Pinch of Flavor. As you probably could have guessed from its name, this really is not your average taco truck. All the items on this scrumptious menu are seasoned with bold tastes and zingy blends.

The lobster burrito contains an exotic (and marvelous!) onions and cilantro blend. The tempura-style fish filet is spritzed with lemon juice and tartar sauce. The steak bowl mixes saffron rice with romaine lettuce and Monterrey Jack cheese. There is no way to do justice to these exotic, bold and very tasty delights than to try a pinch of their flavor yourself!

5. The Taco Cartel

Great for: Custom Menus, Fundraisers, Vegans & Vegetarians, Weddings

Cuisine: Mexican, Tacos, Burritos

The Taco Cartel

Treat yourself to something savory and special with one of the best taco trucks in town. Every burrito and quesadilla comes with rich flavors that are tenderly mixed into one classic delight. Take the Pablo Escobar Burrito for example – it is filled with the most satisfying al pastor, rice, beans, corn, red cabbage, onions, cilantro, and la verde salsa wrapped in a flour tortilla.

The Taco Cartel is known for combining authentic Mexican flavors with imaginative whimsy, with its interesting twists on each item on the menu. From the La Reina del Sur Quesadilla, a cheddar and jack cheese mix topped with chipotle salsa, to the Hot Cheetos Corn on the Cob, a mix of creamy habanero, Hot Cheetos, cotija cheese, Tajín and lemon, these fresh new spins will have you feeling like you are in Grandma’s kitchen as she tries out new flavors from scratch.

6. Sabores de Mexico

Great for: Custom Menus, On-Set Catering, Corporate Catering, Vegetarians

Cuisine: Mexican, Organic, Seafood, Tacos, Burritos, Vegetarian

Sabores de Mexico

Looking for one of the tastiest Mexican food in town? Sabores de Mexico offers a wide selection of organic dishes, seafood, tacos, burritos and more. From Howdy’s Special Breakfast Burrito to Malibu Veggie Burrito, there is something for everyone – both meat lovers and vegans alike. 

Other unique dishes include the Huevos Rancheros – sunny side organic eggs topped with homemade red and green salsa mix – and the Cowgirl Veggie Paella – salmon, black beans and tofu served with savory saffron rice. Are you drooling yet? If you are looking for authentic spices and seasoning blends that add flavor to your traditional Mexican dishes, this food truck is the one to check out.

Best Barbecue Food Trucks for Catering

7. John Que’s Smokeout

Great for: On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Corporate Catering, Weddings

Cuisine: Hot Dogs, Burgers, Sandwiches, Bowls, BBQ

John Que's Smokeout

When we say smokeout, we know you are probably thinking barbecue chicken, tender and meaty beef short ribs, turkey burgers and smoked ham. Well, if that is the case, you are absolutely right! But these do not even scratch the surface of all the dishes that John Que’s Smokeout brings to the table.

Try the aromatic smoked salmon, cooked with Cajun spices that make salmon taste better than anything else you have ever experienced. You can also get a whiff of the curry chicken that promises to deliver a crisp taste of the Caribbean. The fiery and fresh Brats and Corn Lunch Package mixes both moisture and flavor to serve you the juiciest afternoon delight. With so many ripe gourmet dishes to experience, John Que’s Smokeout is not a food truck you want to miss!

8. BBQ Smokehouse

Great for: Family Events, Huge Events, Corporate Catering, Weddings

Cuisine: Hot Dogs, Southern, Creole, Burgers, BBQ

BBQ Smokehouse

“Our food is made with personal care, love, and commitment to quality.” Mike and Regina say with pride. The looks on their faces say it all – not only do BBQ Smokehouse give other full-blown BBQ restaurants a run for their money, but they are born out of the most genuine and humble passion to serve the Los Angeles community with tasty BBQ treats. From fall-off-the-bone ribs to spicy Creole chickens, this delivery service that was originally created to raise money for underprivileged children has just what you need.

The food truck boasts Idaho potato salads, pineapple-infused coleslaw, Southern baked macaroni and cheese, vinaigrette pasta salads, Louisiana hot sausages, St. Louis cut pork ribs, smoked turkey breast and so much more! And do not forget to get a taste of their signature BBQ sauce, mixed with 37 different ingredients that nicely complement and add an extra spritz to all of their dishes.

Best Fusion Food Trucks for Catering

9. Cafe Vietnam Truck

Great for: On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Fundraisers, Corporate Catering

Cuisine: Sandwiches, Vietnamese

Cafe Vietnam Truck

Cafe Vietnam Truck brings all your favorite Vietnamese delights right to the heart of the City of Angels. Yes – think jumbo egg rolls, 24-hour caramelized pork belly bowls, lemongrass chicken sandwiches, organic vegan curry bowls, homemade macarons and cucumber tofu kale salad. One of our must-trys is the Pork Belly Banh Mi – a slow braised pork belly dipped in juicy coconut sauce, shallot and veggies.

To top it all off, we cannot forget some signature Vietnamese drinks – homemade Thai iced tea, Trung Nguyen coffee and herbal hibiscus red flower iced tea. Bringing its rich food steeped in tradition to the streets of Los Angeles, Cafe Vietnam Truck was born out of one woman’s passion for spreading her culture across the world. Most ingredients are also organic and non-GMO. This truck will really get your mouth watering.

10. ChompChomp

Great for: On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Corporate Catering, Vegans & Vegetarians

Cuisine: Tacos, Sandwiches, Savory, Asian Fusion, Vegetarian

ChompChomp

ChompChomp offers just the most perfect blend of Asian fusion cuisine. With fried Korean dumplings, garlic turkey and Korean tacos, this food truck takes inspiration from all over the world and combines them into a single menu that is sure to please.

The most unique offerings include the 100% vegetable mondu dumplings (and yes – they’re vegan friendly!), the honey-glazed chicken bowl covered in homemade oriental sauce, and the tacos with corn tortillas dressed with Korean Slaw and dipped in the special Asian sauce recipe. With so many Asian-style twists to classic Mexican dishes, ChompChomp sure gives the Los Angeles community something to chomp on.

11. Go Fusion N Grill

Great for: On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Corporate Catering, Vegans & Vegetarians

Cuisine: Latin Fusion, Burgers, Savory, Vegetarian

Go Fusion N Grill

Craving some Latin and Asian fusion cuisine? We have got you covered. The combination of Latin and Asian cuisine comes with several delectable delights that you do not want to miss. Our favorite is the Mandarin Chix Salad, the only salad you will find topped with Asian crispy noodles and Mandarin oranges, served with delicious teriyaki chicken and steak. 

One of Go Fusion N Grill’s best sellers is the Quesiyaki, a play on the words quesadilla and teriyaki. If you are thinking of teriyaki chicken mixed with Mexican cheese, cilantro, spicy sriracha, avocado, and homemade teriyaki sauce to top it all off, you are absolutely right. No wonder their customers keep coming back for more!

12. Berlin Food Truck

Great for: On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Corporate Catering, Weddings

Cuisine: German, Sausages, Grilled Cheese

Berlin Food Truck

Imagine the sights and sounds of Berlin. What comes to mind immediately? The Berlin Food Truck harks you to an all-authentic Berlin experience with its high-quality grilled cheeses and hot dogs.

Ranging from plain grilled cheese to crazy delightful flavors like pastrami, patty melt, kale, and more, there is something this food truck has to offer everyone. Whether you like your hot dog topped with homemade mac n’ cheese and parsley or homemade beef chili, these sauces will reinvent your hot dog experience. And if you’re just like us and enjoy some appetizing mixes, you have got to try the Tofu Currywurst Combo (and its Garlic Fries) and the classic Munich Combo.

13. The Falafel Factory

Great for: On-Set Catering, Fundraisers, Corporate Catering, Vegans & Vegetarians

Cuisine: Mediterranean, Falafel, Vegetarian

The Falafel Factory

Looking for some signature Mediterranean cuisine to fill your tummy? The Falafel Factory boasts some of the best falafels in town. When Miriam and Nael set out to share the delicious Mexican cuisine with the Los Angeles community, they wanted to make sure that it would not only be delicious but also accessible to everyone. That is why their falafel is made from scratch, vegan and 100% gluten-free.

With seasoned beef kofta, chicken kabob, vegan chicken shawarma, falafels drizzled with tahini sauce and The Falafel Factory’s signature secret sauce, and hummus and pita dip, there is something on this menu for everyone.

Best American Classic Food Truck Catering in Los Angeles

14. Richeeze

Great for: On-Set Catering, Fundraisers, Corporate Catering, Weddings

Cuisine: Fries, Sandwiches, Grilled Cheese, Vegetarian

Richeeze

If you are looking for the tastiest sweet potato fries, sandwiches, and grilled cheese, you have come to the right place. Richeeze is most well-known for reinventing the grilled cheese sandwich with new jalapeño flavors – yes, you read that right! 

And trust us when we recommend adding their classic Tomato Soup and Mac ‘n’ Cheeze Nuggets to the mix. With these mouth-watering delights, you will be sure to come back for more!

15. The Lime Truck

Great for: Family Events, Corporate Catering, Vegans & Vegetarians, Weddings

Cuisine: Mexican, Organic, Tacos, California Cuisine, Asian Fusion

The Lime Truck

One of the champions of Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, The Lime Truck is a Los Angeles favorite. Having been in business for over 12 years, Daniel Shemtob sure knows what he is doing with serving the most delicious food items that will satisfy your taste buds and have your mouth watering with just one bite.

This Mexican-style California cuisine is unlike any other fusion cuisines you have ever tasted. Boasting Aspen Ridge marinated sweet and spicy steak, wild-caught ahi with cabbage slaw, Naked Truth marinated chicken with chipotle honey slaw, and so much more, their menu is truly a sight to behold. Not only will you get your cravings satisfied at The Lime Truck, but you will also be craving these delectable meats for days to come.

16. The Lobos Truck LA

Great for: Corporate Events, Private Events, and Large Events

Cuisine: American Classics, Comfort Food, Burgers, Vegetarian

The Lobos Truck LA

Looking for some American classics while in the heart of one of America’s greatest cities? Think California-style comfort food – burgers, beef patties, mac ‘n’ cheese, fries and so much more. 

If you have never been to The Lobos before, you have got to try the Big Lobos Burger, which contains a 1/3 lb. American-Kobe beef patty with signature jalapeño ranch and melted cheddar cheese. The Heart Attack Wachos was named in the spirit of these delicious waffle fries, an original creation that may become one of Los Angeles’ most famous food items in several years to come. Featuring a crispy skin roasted lechon pork belly, signature Lobos diablo sauce, jalapeño ranch, caramelized onions, sesame seeds and scallions, The Lobos’ customers just cannot get enough – and neither will you!

17. Messi Burgers

Great for: On-Set Catering, Fundraisers, Corporate Catering, Weddings

Cuisine: Burgers, Sandwiches, Wings

Messi Burgers

Ready to stuff your face with the City of Angels’ tastiest burgers, sandwiches and scrumptious wings? From Andouille chicken sausage and ground beef patty (all of which are customizable with a wide variety of delicious toppings) to French fries seasoned with Messi’s special seasoning blend, there is something on this menu for everyone to enjoy.

And while you are at it, do not forget to try the food truck’s special Messi Fries – topped with house-made chili, cheese, sour cream, Pico de Gallo, and jalapeños. This is the Messi Burgers’ signature dish that has tourists from all over the world coming back for seconds.

18. Poutine Brothers

Great for: American Classics, Fries, Tacos, Burgers, Poutine, Sliders

Cuisine: On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Corporate Catering, Vegans & Vegetarians

Poutine Brothers

Los Angeles may boast American classics, but nobody does Canadian staples like Poutine Brothers. Updating traditional preparation methods that were used in kitchens all over Canada to suit the modern foodie’s tastes, everything on the menu is aromatically designed to get you salivating.

Yes, I’m talking about braised beef short ribs and chives, and smoked pork dipped in scrumptious brown gravy. The Chicken tikka masala with fried chicken skin and cilantro brings fusion to a new level. The iconic Hangover is made with tater tots, cheese curds, fried egg and ham, and a drizzle of maple syrup and chives. And so much more!

19. Baby’s Badass Burgers – LA

Great for: Corporate Catering, Large Events, and Weddings

Cuisine: American Classics, Fries, Burgers

Baby's Badass Burgers - LA

Another American classic food truck that you have got to check out is Baby’s Badass Burgers. With their notoriously delicious gourmet burgers that are just the right mix of rich and savory, it is no wonder that this food truck has gathered a bunch of enthusiastic, die-hard fans that swear by it.

Owned and run by female entrepreneurs, their menu also features an all-female cast, such as Original Beauty, All American Girl, She’s Smokin!, The Other Woman, The Good Wife, The Bombshell, and Cover Girl, the tastes in these famous burgers are equally iconic. With Angus beef patties served on King’s Hawaiian Rolls and topped with the Baby’s Badass Burgers special sauces, nobody else does it like the BBB. One bite will have you coming back for more!

Best Dessert Trucks for Los Angeles Food Truck Catering

20. LA-Donut

Great for: On-Set Catering, Huge Events, Corporate Catering, Weddings

Cuisine: Dessert, Donuts

LA-Donut

Craving some of the best sweet treats in the industry? LA-Donus has got exactly what you need. Created by one lady who quit her 9 to 5 job to follow her dessert-filled passion, she made her favorite end-of-the-meal delights accessible to anyone in Los Angeles.

Whether you are looking for chocolate glazed donuts, churros drizzled with caramel, donut sundaes, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup toppings, or cinnamon toast crunch churro donuts, there is something in this food truck for you. Not only will it satisfy your sweetest and wildest cravings that taste like candy heaven, but it will also hark you back to your youth – when the only care you had in the world was which ice cream flavor to pick.

21. Wings n Waffles

Great for: Fancy Affairs, Family Events, Huge Events, Weddings

Cuisine: Chicken and Waffles, Comfort Food, Brunch

Wings n Waffles

Take comfort food to a whole new level with this food truck that specializes in chicken and waffles. Yes, you heard that right – chicken AND waffles. Mix classic Belgian waffles with jumbo party wings and throw in a mix of eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, fresh strawberries and syrup, and you will get the signature combination that makes Wings n Waffles one of the best food trucks in town.

Created in 2012 to serve you your favorite comfort food no matter where you are, their crispy wings and savory waffles are, as their most enthusiastic fans say, to die for.

How to Book a Food Truck for Catering in Los Angeles

Injecting life and buzz into your event, renting the right food truck can make your event so much more memorable for your guests.

At first thought, it may seem relatively more complicated to rent a food truck compared to other options. However, you’ll soon see that it is actually quite straightforward and well worth the effort! In this section, we will walk you through all the things you should consider when it comes to booking food truck catering.

And when you’re ready, use a food truck booking service like Roaming Hunger. Based in Los Angeles, they know all the best food trucks for catering, including the ones mentioned above.

Decide on your budget

Similar to traditional catering options, you’ll first have to decide on your budget. 

Food truck catering costs typically range from $10 to $35 per guest, so it will be helpful to have an estimate of the number of people to expect at your event.

However, one of the many advantages of opting for food truck catering is that you can have some flexibility over the number of portions of food to be served, since the food is prepared on the spot!

Here’s a helpful breakdown, courtesy of Roaming Hunger’s guide to food truck rental prices:

CuisineAverage Price per Person1-100 Eaters (Minimum)101-200 Eaters201-300 Eaters
Taco Truck Catering$10-15$1,000$2,000$3,000
Pizza Truck Catering$15-25$1,500$3,000$4,500
BBQ Truck Catering$15-25$1,500$3,000$4,500
Burger Truck Catering$15-25$1,500$3,000$4,500
Lobster Truck Catering$35-45$3,500$7,000$10,500
Ice Cream Truck Catering$8-20$800$1,600$2,400
Beverage Truck Catering$8-20$800$1,600$2,400

One of the biggest factors is the type of food to be served at your event. A dessert truck serving ice cream or a coffee truck will cost less than a food truck providing mains, sides and drinks. Nevertheless, you can still choose inexpensive yet tasty fare like tacos, hot dogs and BBQ. If you have a larger budget, you can go for more trendy food trucks that serve organic or fusion cuisine that use more expensive ingredients like lobster and beef.

Since Los Angeles is a busy metropolis, where labor, food ingredients, and permits are typically more expensive, you can expect food truck catering to be more expensive than in other major cities.

Decide on the number of food trucks

Again, it would be very helpful to have an estimate of the number of attendees at your event.

If you have a large event, you should also consider if everybody will be eating at the same time. To avoid any frustration caused by waiting in line for a long time, we recommend that you consider renting one food truck per 150-200 attendees.

Having multiple food trucks is also a great way to add more variety to the food menu on offer, improving the satisfaction of your attendees.

It is also a good idea to speak to the food truck business to share your attendee estimates as well as to get a sense of how many customers they can serve per hour.

Decide what menu and cuisine options you want

As you can see from the 20+ LA food truck catering options above, there are lots of mouth-watering options catering to a wide range of palates.

Food trucks will typically give you a catering package based on your budget and the number of eaters. While some food trucks will give your attendees choices such as protein and side options, others might give you a one-item menu. Menus are designed to make the service fast, so your attendees get their food quickly.

If you have specific cuisine options in mind, such as a Mexican food truck, or a BBQ truck, a site like Roaming Hunger can narrow down the field from the get-go.

Do not forget to think about your attendees’ dietary restrictions too! Does your guest list include people requiring vegan or gluten-free options?

Some food trucks may even be willing to add specialized creations exclusive to your event! That is another great way to elevate your event, and will surely delight your guests.

Check food truck regulations

According to Los Angeles County rules, food trucks must follow all local rules on land use, and they are not permitted to expand operations in a way that blocks the sidewalk.

Additionally, every approved food truck in Los Angeles County should have a Letter Grade and a certification sticker indicating that it is a permitted food facility.

If your event is on public property or at a park, make sure to pull a city permit, especially if it’s a city like Santa Monica or West Hollywood. If your city is on private property, you probably don’t need a permit. You can always check your city’s local government website to see what regulations apply. And if you do need a permit, don’t worry, they are generally easy to get.

Decide on the location of your food truck

Last but not least, you’ll want to choose a thoughtful location for your food truck(s) at your event, and make the necessary preparations. 

First, you’ll want to make sure your event location can host food trucks. As described in the section above, some locations, such as a park, may require a city permit. Permits are generally easy to obtain.

The truck will also need a proper parking space. This means no inclines such as a hill, and a space where the truck can park (no low-hanging branches, etc.)

Here are a few other pointers:

  • Station your food trucks in a visible location (e.g. around the perimeter) such that your attendees can easily survey their options at a glance
  • Consider providing picnic or folding tables at a nearby site for your attendees to enjoy their meal
  • Set up a cutlery and napkins station so that your guests won’t interrupt the food truck servers with their requests
  • Provide adequate garbage bins: overflowing bins are such an unwanted eyesore!

Now that you have everything you need to know about food truck rentals, go forth and make your next event a roaring success!

Hungry yet?

There you have it – the top 21 food trucks in Los Angeles. With so many options to choose from, you will never run out of delicious, scrumptious new food to try out. And for most of these, we are sure that you will take only one bite and not need to venture further – you will definitely be back for more!

The post Food Truck Catering in Los Angeles (2022 Guide) appeared first on FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business.

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Food Trucks for Rent (Lease, Promotions, OR Events) https://foodtruckr.com/business/food-trucks-for-rent/ Thu, 10 Mar 2022 01:29:00 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=24926 Looking to rent a food truck? Just pick one of the three types of rentals below to get the resources you need. Rent a food truck for your business Rent a food truck for a marketing promotion Rent a food truck for a party or event If you’re not sure which one is right for […]

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Looking to rent a food truck? Just pick one of the three types of rentals below to get the resources you need.

If you’re not sure which one is right for you, don’t worry. We get thousands of visitors each year looking for food trucks for rent. 

Whether you are renting for a catered event, to build your own mobile business, or to launch a live marketing promotion, below are our top recommendations when it comes to food truck rentals.

Continue below for more information…

1. Rent a Food Truck for Your Mobile Equipment Needs

If you’re a company or an entrepreneur that needs mobile infrastructure for your business or project, then you probably have a few questions.

Can I do short-term and/or long-term rentals?

Short-term rentals are usually for one-off events. For example, a production company looking to rent a food truck for a commercial shoot may pay for a daily or weekly rental.

Long-term rentals and leases are usually a month or longer, and are used by companies that want a mobile food solution or to test out a business idea. A long-term rental will get your business off the ground and start generating buzz without committing to purchasing your own truck. 

Recently we’ve noticed that school and school districts are considering food trucks to supplement their meal programs for students.

Where can I rent a food truck? 

There are several online resources you can use to source a food truck rental:

1. Roaming Hunger – Their Marketplace is a great place to start since it’s a free resource.

No matter where you’re located, you’ll get food truck options for your needs. Or they’ll point you in the right direction if there are alternative choices.

They help with both short and long-term rentals and also have programs in place that help support smaller businesses. And if you’re looking to buy or even build a food truck, Roaming Hunger has resources.

2. Foodtruckrental.com – This website has listings that include food trucks ready to lease.

3. Local food truck owners – You can try reaching out to local food truck owners to see who has equipment that you can rent. 

While you can expect to find a car rental place in nearly every city, food truck rental businesses can be hard to find. This is why most people turn to online databases, which can put you in touch with resources near you. 

How much does it cost to rent mobile food equipment?

Short term rentals can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Pricing will depend on whether you need to wrap the truck and what it’s going to be used for. The greater the risk to the owner, the higher the cost.

Long term rentals will range from just over $1,000 all the way to over $5,000 per month. Again, it depends on the type of equipment you’re needing, your location, and what the food truck will be used for.

Is it cheaper to rent vs. buy or build a food truck?

For short term use, it’s typically better to rent a truck since you won’t need it for long.

For long term use, you need to look at the financials and determine which option is cheaper. The monthly costs of renting should be compared to what you would pay if you bought your truck outright, including financing costs such as loans, etc.

2. Food Trucks for Branded Marketing Promotions 

In recent years, marketing activations with food trucks and other mobile infrastructure are becoming more popular, especially now that outdoor events are becoming the norm. 

Brands use food trucks for one day activations, pop-up shops in high traffic areas, and for national tours to target specific audiences and customers. 

If you’re looking to launch a promotion, we recommend contacting RMNG, a full-service Experiential Marketing Agency. They have over a decade of experience sourcing trucks for one day events and setting up longer term marketing tours. 

Their clients include all sorts of companies, including Apple, Budweiser, Beyond Meat, Doritos, and dozens (if not hundreds) more. Check out more of their recent projects here

3. Rent a Food Truck for a Party or Event

If you need food truck catering for your event, we recommend you go to Roaming Hunger

With over 18,000 food trucks across the US and Canada you’ll probably find a food truck to fit your needs.

Once you give them your event information they’ll find you local food trucks, trailers, and carts that are available to come feed your guests, along with a free quote from each caterer.

The Bottom Line 

We hope you’ve found this article useful in finding a food truck for rent. The resources above can help you get exactly what you need no matter what type of rental you’re looking for.

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Food Truck America Awards Over $15,000 to Food Trucks https://foodtruckr.com/foodtruckr-news/food-truck-america-promotion-2021/ Sat, 20 Nov 2021 06:45:40 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=24945 The Food Truck America Promotion 2021 has come to an end. Over the course of three months, the Food Truck America Promotion has awarded participants with over $15,000 in prizes and biweekly giveaways. Every two weeks of the promotion, Food Truck America gave the top ten food trucks on the leaderboard a $100 gift card […]

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The Food Truck America Promotion 2021 has come to an end.

Over the course of three months, the Food Truck America Promotion has awarded participants with over $15,000 in prizes and biweekly giveaways. Every two weeks of the promotion, Food Truck America gave the top ten food trucks on the leaderboard a $100 gift card to Sam’s Club. Participants earned points and climbed their way up the leaderboard by uploading photos of their receipts, posting and tagging Food Truck America on social media, and participating in daily challenges.

The daily challenges gave participating food trucks an opportunity to showcase their creative cooking talents using Weber®, Member’s Mark™, and Tone’s® seasonings. From Taco Tuesday to creating a dish with the new Twix® Shaker seasoning blend, trucks were encouraged to create fun and unique recipes every week.

The grand prize winner, Great White Smoke BBQ, will be receiving a cash prize of $5,000 as well as a banner recognizing the great accomplishments they’ve made during the promotion. Great White Smoke BBQ, from Bloomington, Indiana, smoked out the competition by competing in all of the daily challenges, posting consistently on social media, and taking advantage of our larger point opportunities.

To celebrate their success in the promotion, all of the other winners on the leaderboard will receive prizes valued at $2,000. Food Truck America plans to come back bigger and better in 2022 with even more prizes for participants! Follow them for future promotion opportunities at @foodtruckamerica21.

Food Truck America Promotion was sponsored by B&G Foods, including Weber, Tone’s, and Member’s Marks Seasonings, exclusively at Sam’s Club. Food Truck America Promotion was produced and managed by YellowDog Productions, LLC a full-service marketing agency in Chesterfield, MO.

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15 Online Ordering Options for Your Food Truck https://foodtruckr.com/business/food-truck-online-ordering-options/ Thu, 23 Sep 2021 08:24:00 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=20474 It’s a time of unprecedented uncertainty for food trucks, and there are plenty of trucks and caterers out there wondering how to navigate a world without crowds. Thankfully, there are companies helping food trucks survive.  Take a look at this list of options for third party delivery & ordering ahead, to make pickup and delivery […]

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person ordering food online
It’s a time of unprecedented uncertainty for food trucks, and there are plenty of trucks and caterers out there wondering how to navigate a world without crowds.

Thankfully, there are companies helping food trucks survive.  Take a look at this list of options for third party delivery & ordering ahead, to make pickup and delivery easy for your business.

Order Ahead Food Truck Apps

Online ordering from your food truck gives eaters the ability to order for pickup, skip the crowd, line, and social interaction that tends to come along with a food truck. Every app and platform is different, so take a look and find what works for you (especially if you have multiple trucks or locations).

Here are a few options that may work well for you:

  • Foodtruck.pub was created to help your customers skip the line and order ahead. Their iOS/Android app lets you set up online and app ordering so customers can place an order for pickup or delivery. Here’s some of their features:
    • mockup of Food truck pub appUnique Ordering URL
    • Coupon Codes
    • Order Notifications
    • Menu Management
    • Future Ordering
    • Pickup or Delivery Orders
    • Order Throttling
    • Alert Customer to Pick Up Food

You can sign up with Foodtruck.pub here.

  • Best Food Trucks lets you take orders from any iOS or Android device. You’ll be notified through the app when you have a new order, and when it’s ready for pickup, your customer will be alerted via text. Afterwards, customers are prompted to rate their meal and provide feedback.

POS Order Ahead

Leading POS (point-of-sale) services are stepping up to help the food service industry, adding online ordering and providing services for free.

Here are two great options:

1. Toast, a leading restaurant management platform, has launched Toast Now giving you the ability to quickly set up digital ordering channels like online ordering, a mobile ordering app, contactless delivery, and e-gift cards. You can keep your communities fed and keep revenue coming in with no upfront costs, no POS purchase required, and no commission fees. For more details, review their one-pager.

Sign up with Toast Now here

This video explains more about Toast Now:

2. Square has a service that makes it easy to create an online store to operationalize curbside pickup and delivery for your business. They also do e-gift cards, and are waiving all monthly fees for local delivery until June 30, 2020. Click here to learn more about how to set up your business.

Delivery App Options

Third party delivery has become incredibly popular with consumers, offering a chance to get your food out to more people without hiring any delivery people. Costs and prices differ based on the platform, so click around and see which one works the best — there’s also no harm in signing up for all of them.

Other Helpful Online Ordering Options and Apps

The below apps might offer a good alternative to the third party delivery apps. Much like the POS ordering systems, they let you set up online ordering yourself. Check them out to see if they work for you. The Ordering App, for example, has an integration with Google My Business, which puts a button on your GMB profile.

  • The Ordering App — Currently waiving its order fee until July 1
  • OrderEm — Geared towards food trucks, with Facebook integration for online ordering
  • OrderAgentPro — Easy integration, with unlimited orders and no commission fees
  • Order Grub App — Great for any platform, compatible with any operating system or device
  • App Lova — Tiered pricing for different services, with demos available 
  • Ordrslip — Designed for delivery as well as pickup

In conclusion, it’s clear that as a food truck owner you have a lot of options when it comes to setting up online ordering for your business. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the apps you’re interested in and ask questions. The companies that respond to you the fastest will probably be the easiest to work with long-term.

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4 Top Tax Tips for Food Truck Owners https://foodtruckr.com/business/tax-tips-for-food-truck-owners/ Wed, 28 Jul 2021 04:02:51 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=24794 This article was created by FinancePal to help food trucks owners get ahead on their business finances and taxes. FinancePal helps food trucks get the accounting and finance support they need without heavy upfront costs. It’s essentially a finance department in your back pocket. Let’s be honest; you probably entered the culinary field because you […]

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This article was created by FinancePal to help food trucks owners get ahead on their business finances and taxes. FinancePal helps food trucks get the accounting and finance support they need without heavy upfront costs. It’s essentially a finance department in your back pocket.

Let’s be honest; you probably entered the culinary field because you are passionate about making and serving delicious food, not because you are a tax-code expert.

However, getting intimate with the unique food truck tax landscape is crucial for any owner because even the slightest tax misstep can incur fines and fees — the last thing you need in a business of fine margins.

To protect your food truck business from tax penalties — and even save a bit of money on your tax returns — get familiar with the four following food truck tax tips:

1. Document Your Tax Deductions

As a food trucker, there are several significant deductions you can take advantage of to save money on your taxes.

For example, you can deduct miles traveled in your truck. You have two options:

In either case, you should track all of your miles and the direct expenses for your truck. Then, at tax time, your accountant can determine which method saves you the most on your taxes. It’s crucial to get this right — choosing the correct method can save you thousands on your taxes.

If you travel with your food truck to a trade show, conference, or festival, you may be able to deduct related food and lodging costs. Remember to document the dates of these events and to keep your receipts. You need to be able to show that these are necessary travel expenses.

2. Business Classification Affects Taxes

Sole Proprietor

When starting a business, many new owners operate as a sole proprietorship.

Sole proprietors still file their personal tax returns using Schedule C (Profit and Loss for Small Business) and Schedule SE (Self Employment Tax).

In addition, many sole proprietors must split their yearly tax liability into quarterly estimated tax payments, made on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15, respectively.

The main reason why sole proprietorships are so ubiquitous is that they are easy to set up; it is the default classification when starting a new business with a single owner, and doing so requires no additional paperwork.

There is a significant downside to operating as a sole proprietorship: the lack of protection. If your business falls into debt or gets slapped with a lawsuit, your personal assets are considered fair game for settling liabilities.

Limited Liability Company

Because of the lack of protection sole proprietors face, many food truckers choose to classify their business as a Limited Liability Company, or LLC.

Like sole proprietorships, LLCs file personal tax returns using Schedule C and Schedule SE and typically make quarterly estimated tax payments.

The primary difference between a sole proprietorship and an LLC boils down to protection; an LLC can protect a business owner’s personal assets from being used to settle liabilities such as lawsuits or debt.

Partnership

In the food truck industry, it is not uncommon to operate with multiple owners. But if this is the case, the default classification is a partnership rather than a sole proprietorship.

Partnerships function in a similar way to sole proprietorships — the main exception being that you must file form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income).

Much like with sole proprietorships, partnerships leave the owners’ personal assets exposed. To protect your — and your co-owner’s — home and personal accounts, you may want to consider setting up a Limited Liability Company taxed as a partnership.

Other Business Classifications

There are several other classifications — namely, S-Corps and C-Corps — but most food truck owners don’t need to worry about these unless they consistently generate high levels of revenue.

There can be some significant benefits to corporate designation, but there are also additional complexities and costs to contend with.

The main downside to operating as a corporation is that your business taxes get exponentially more complicated.  If your business reaches the point where corporate classification makes sense, you will likely need to employ finance professionals to handle your financials.

If you think you have reached the point where you should consider changing your entity type, scheduling a consultation with a CPA can save you thousands — or keep you from making an expensive mistake.

3. Be Smart About Sales Tax

Calculating and collecting sales tax is a nuisance for any food truck operator.  Not only is it your responsibility to collect, but there are penalties for even minor mistakes.

In areas with variable local taxes, it may be tempting to charge the average tax rate, but doing so runs the risk of over-collecting or under-collecting, which can cause a major headache down the road.

If you over-collect sales tax, you will need to remit the overage to the state or refund it to the customer. If you under-collect, you may be personally liable for the difference.

Once you register your business, you will start receiving periodic letters and notices alerting you to changes in state and local tax rules and rates. Never skim or ignore these — it is imperative to know the exact sales tax rate where you do business.

4. Get Expert Financial Help When You Need It

In the past, employing a dedicated team to handle your business’s financials was a privilege reserved only for larger companies with room for the added overhead.

However, thanks to technological advances, outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping to third-party firms staffed with expert CPAs and bookkeepers is easier now than ever.

As a food truck owner, you understand that wearing many hats comes with the territory. The balancing act between working, shopping, prepping, marketing, doing your taxes, and a thousand other things, is never over.

When you get to a point where you need to bring in outside help, outsourcing your accounting and finance projects might be the best stop forward.

The most effective way to knock your food truck taxes out of the park is by working with an expert team of accountants and bookkeepers, such as the finance professionals at FinancePal.

It is easy to think of accounting and bookkeeping as necessary evils to keep the IRS off your back. But a highly competent financial team can provide essential business insights, find crucial tax savings, and allow food truck operators to spend less time stressing the financials and more time serving customers. Sign up to get a custom quote today for FinancePal’s professional financial services.

More About FinancePal

If you are not familiar with FinancePal, it is is full-service accounting and bookkeeping solution serving small and medium sized businesses nationwide across various industries. FinancePal leverages best in class technology and marries it with efficient processes and trained professionals to provide our customers with an affordable highly quality monthly service. Their services include:

  • Accounting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Bill pay
  • Payroll
  • Sales tax filings
  • Tax preparation
  • Advisory service

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50 Food Truck Owners Speak Out: “What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting My Food Truck” https://foodtruckr.com/how-to-start-a-food-truck/what-i-wish-id-known-before-starting-my-food-truck/ https://foodtruckr.com/how-to-start-a-food-truck/what-i-wish-id-known-before-starting-my-food-truck/#comments Thu, 01 Jul 2021 07:40:55 +0000 http://foodtruckr.com/?p=76 Do you remember the enthusiasm you felt upon that initial spark: “Hey! I should open a food truck!” What would you say to yourself now, these many moons later? Would you warn yourself off, or encourage yourself forward?

We at FoodTruckr wanted to know, and we bet you do too. So we asked food truck owners from across the country one simple question:

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started your food truck?

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Originally published in 2014, this article has been updated for 2020.

We asked food truck owners from across the country one simple question: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started your food truck? Oh boy, did you all deliver! 

From the cynical to the hilarious to the outright unexpected, you shared tremendously practical insights for any aspiring food truck owner out there. This is precisely the type of knowledge we here at FoodTruckr aspire to share in our quest to create a resource for the entire food truck community. From tips and tricks on compiling the paperwork to advice on fostering relationships with customers, consider this a crash course in food truck fundamentals taught by experts.   

Want to start a food truck? Check out How to Start a Food Truck: The Ultimate Guide

Regulations And Permits 

Hands-down, navigating all the regulations was the most consistent external source of frustration we heard. Luckily, food truck owners had plenty of advice about avoiding potential headaches. 

Want to learn more about permits? You’ll find more info in Lesson 21 of our How to Start a Food Truck Book

First, Do Your Homework 

Ben from Luke’s Lobster  (New York, NY)

Luke'sLobster

I wish I had known how anti-truck the NYC government is. If I had known that there was no way I could legally own a permit for my business, that it was illegal to staff my truck the way I staff a restaurant, and that it would suddenly become illegal to sell from a metered parking spot whether or not I pay the meter.

In short, if I had known that despite running an honest business I would have to operate in gray areas of the law at the whim of the NYPD, I would have been more prepared for the trials of the business.

Chuy from Mariscos Jalisco (Olympic, CA) 

MariscosJalisco

I wish I would have known how much the regulations would change over time with the general acceptance of our industry. I believe there needs to be a central location for all food truck vendors to check the laws and regulations of each county in California and eventually all states. 

Check out Lesson 5 and 8 in our How to Start a Food Truck Book for more info on food truck laws.

Stay Up To Date On Rules In Your Area 

Jordan from Mustache Mike’s (San Francisco, CA) 

As an owner, it can get quite confusing trying to keep up with and understand all of the different mobile vending laws and to obtain all of the required credentials. 

Each state and city’s requirements are different, but out here in California you need about a handful of different credentials before opening up your doors such as a California Seller’s Permit (from the state), a Local Health Department Permit (from the county), a city business/peddler’s license (from the city), etc. 

As a food truck owner you also need to have a Food Safety Handler’s certification and even your truck itself needs to be certified as well through the Housing & Community Development (HCD Department). If you operate in multiple counties or in different cities, you would need a whole new set of credentials for those locations as well.

Roy from Champion Cheesesteaks (Atlanta, GA) 

In Georgia, we are in the most regulated state in the country, strong in terms of what the health department required, and there’s no streamlined method of being able to get a truck approved because each county is different. It’s almost impossible to get a license.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Felix from Gillian’s Italian Ice (Suffolk County, NY)

GilliansItalianIce

When I bought my truck, I expected to be able to park it somewhere and sell without being bothered. This is not the case, and the special permit needed requires everything from a lease to rent the spot I am parked in to providing toilet facilities. The fine is heavy if you are caught selling on the side of a road, for example. 

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Give Yourself Enough Time To Get Everything Together

Bollywood Zing (Smyrna, GA)

BollywoodZing

I wish I would have known what all went into the permitting process and how involved it is so that I could have been more prepared and ahead of the game.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Melissa from Melissa’s Chicken and Waffles (Orlando, FL)

MelissasChickenandWaffles

Check with promoters, farmers markets, lunch spots, etc. about their waiting lists for trucks. A lot of trucks come out with the thought that they will be able to bring their new truck to all these events, but sometimes the waiting lists are months, even years.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Finally, Don’t Be Afraid To Challenge Inefficient Systems 

Rachel from La Cocinita (New Orleans, LA)

LaCocinita

I wish I’d known that it would be so difficult to obtain a permit to operate our truck. That struggle—which took months—was what initially inspired my partner and me to start the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition back in early 2012. We spent a year and a half working with city officials on legislative reform, which were just recently passed by the City Council and the Mayor. 

Starting in January, there will be 100 permits for food trucks (there were previously only a dozen or so). Also, we have gained access to certain areas of downtown that were previously off limits. We increased the amount of time food trucks can stay parked in one spot. Most significantly, we completely eliminated the proximity restriction that prevented us from parking within 600 feet of restaurants.

Before You Hit The Streets 

Food trucks may seem like fun, but they require serious business planning to be profitable and sustainable. Many food truck owners expressed great thoughts on this very point.

Want to learn more about creating a business plan? Read Lesson 9 in our How to Start a Food Truck Book

Upfront Costs Are Higher Than You Realize 

Lisa from Two for the Road (San Diego, CA)

TwoForTheRoad

Expect it to cost you a lot more than you think to run your business. You need a license for every city you visit. Liability insurance will run upwards of $1,900 per year. Fuel costs are very high—most trucks only get about 7 MPG. 

You will be at the store or stores every day because you cannot buy in bulk, often because you don’t have the space to store the product. This means that you will often pay more than a regular restaurant does.

Want to learn more about insurance? You’ll find more info in Lesson 18 of our How to Start a Food Truck Book

Joe from Chef Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon (Trabuco Canyon, CA)

ChefJoeYoukhansTastingSpoon

I wish I would have known how truly expensive it was going to be to get the business off the ground. Even with a detailed business plan, it was 30% more than anticipated. 

There Are A Lot Of Unexpected Expenses  

Louie & Daniel from Rito Loco (Washington DC) 

RitoLoco

I think the one thing that we wish knew prior to getting into the food truck business is how efficiently we could actually run the business. When we first started, we hired a marketing/PR rep—a waste of money! We spent extra money all over the place, but learned how to run a really lean operation.

Juan from MIHO Gastrotruck (San Diego, CA)

MIHOGastrotruck

Always prepare for the unexpected; truck breaking down, selling out too soon, preparing too much. The best advice I can give is just like any other business you venture into, “Do your homework and write a solid business plan!” 

There are so many trucks that rolled out that didn’t do the proper research and development, financial projections, break-even, and capital requirements. Without this essential piece you are setting yourself up to fail.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published.  

Do Your Research Before Hitting The Roads 

Leah from Babycakes Truck (Chicago, IL)

BabycakesTruck

I would have to say that I wish I had better understood the food truck climate in Chicago, where consumers are rather uneducated in general about food trucks and the city seems utterly opposed to the entire industry. 

I had researched the market in LA and New York and had some major misconceptions about how much money a food truck here in Chicago would realistically be able to generate in a day. 

The truth is, my food truck serves more as an advertising vehicle for other revenue generating channels, such as catering, food delivery and cooking classes. Though we do make money with the food truck at special events, the daily grind is just not that profitable. 

Sameer from Rickshaw Stop (San Antonio, TX) 

RickshawStop

No matter how good your food is, your business plan needs to be equally good—if not better—and vice versa. Do your homework about your market. Don’t think The Great Food Truck Race windfalls will be as easy as seen on television. It’s a business, not a cooking hobby.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

The Day To Day Life 

Hands-on ownership is not a suggestion; it’s a requirement. And vacations are hard to come by. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves.

You’ll Do A Lot More Than Just Cooking

Stephanie from Seabirds Truck (Costa Mesa, CA) 

Seabirds

A few months into starting the truck, I realized that in order for us to grow, I needed to remove myself from the truck to have time for answering emails, booking stops, developing new menus, promotion and marketing, etc. 

With doing that, I had to pay about three people to replace me, and I noticed that the quality of product and service dropped. For instance, sometimes menu items would be served that were under my standards or we would open our doors for service later than we had on our schedule.

John from Capelo’s Hill Country Barbecue (San Francisco, CA)

CapelosHillCountryBarbecue

The food truck business is not just about your passion for food. It’s a crazy combination of business, time management, marketing and most importantly making people happy with your product. How you spend your time is extremely valuable to the success of your food truck business.

Food Preparation Is Surprisingly Time Consuming

Christina from Son of a Bun (Los Angeles, CA) 

SonOfABun

Before I got into the Food Truck Business, I wish I knew how time consuming it was to get all my product. It is difficult for food trucks to receive product deliveries, because a last minute event may pop up and you won’t be able to stay there to receive it. Now, I spend extra time in the mornings just driving around in my cars, shopping for ingredients

My advice: engineer your menus to be simple and don’t use too many ingredients or specialty items.

Want to learn more about shopping for ingredients? Click here.

Guy from Nana G’s Chicken & Waffles (Atlanta, GA)

NanaGsChickenAndWaffles

The amount of time you’ll spend shuttling food. I feel like I’m always at Restaurant Depot, Sam’s, or the local grocery store.

Scott from Streetza Pizza (Milwaukee, WI)

StreetzaPizza

Owning a food truck is a much greater time commitment than most potential owners think. Especially when you are making things from scratch. 

The amount of prep and post sale time is actually about equal to the service time. Something to take into account when you are estimating your labor costs in your P&Ls.

Being Your Own Boss Is A Major Time Commitment   

Paawan from The Chai Cart (San Francisco, CA)

TheChaiCart

I wish I had known that this business would really limit my ability to take vacations. I run three chai carts in downtown San Francisco and chai is something people have everyday. There are really no options for authentic and/or good chai in San Francisco.

My customers expect us to be open every day. It’s great to become part of people’s lives, but it does add the pressure of running the business seamlessly, without any breaks.

Nick from Slider House Burger Co. and Tortally Tasty (San Diego, CA)

TortallyTasty

I wish I would have known that it’s an endless cycle of long, long hours day in and day out. As Jacob Bartlett of the Mastiff truck said, “We don’t work full time. We work all the time.” And it has been my family business since 1926 so I have a very unique view on it that has kinda been warped by the online business world. 

There are tiny-ass margins and way too many people to deal with. And what I’ve found in this industry is that the most successful truck operators are the ones who 1) have a passion for food and 2) love people and interacting with them daily.

Matt from Scratch Truck (Indianapolis, IN)

ScratchTruck

The one thing that I wish I knew before I started is that the time it takes to make a truck successful. I am sure it is the same in any business, but I didn’t realize it would be seven days a week, 11 hours a day. 

If my eyes are open, I am working on the business in some capacity. It is all-consuming. I love it, but didn’t realize there would be so much to do all the time.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Jamie from Where’s the Fire (Apple Valley, CA)

One thing I wish I knew before starting this business is how much work goes into it. I mean I didn’t think it would be easy, but most outsiders just think “Oh my goodness your job is so easy, you cook on your truck for 5 hours and you’re done.” 

No! It takes so much time cleaning, shopping, prepping, menu changes & development, driving, on site cooking & cleaning, emails, interacting with coordinator, marketing, increasing catering sales, etc. 

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Networking Can Make Or Break Your Business  

Kenneth from Devilicious Food Truck (Temecula, CA)

Devilicious

We have learned that this industry relies on the cooperation of other food truck owners, local businesses, and suppliers. There is more to the back end of the business which we didn’t realize before starting it. 

There is networking, finding reliable suppliers, and food preparation. Lots of food preparation. Basically owning a food truck is your life.

Timothy from Flatiron Catering Group (Los Angeles, CA)

FlatIronTruck

The food truck world is just like a restaurant, it’s dog-eat-dog, and no one is going to help you figure it out. The way to succeed is to earn respect from your fellow food truckers.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published.  

Booking And Working Events

Make food so good it sells itself…almost. Finding the right events and taking advantage of those opportunities is an art in itself.

Watch Out For Hidden Fees    

Stephanie from Seabirds Truck (Costa Mesa, CA)

The nature of the food truck industry relies a lot on chance and luck; you roll the dice every time you go to an event without a guarantee of sales. Sometimes you score big and other times you lose money. 

You have to rely on a lot on the word of event organizers that may exaggerate a little to get your truck to come. Or they may want a fee or percentage for you to be at their big event. You never really know what to expect, but with time you can start to understand the patterns a bit better.

Lisa from Two for the Road (San Diego, CA)

TwoForTheRoad

Fees are high to attend events ($200-$900) and many places you stop will require that you give them up to 20% back of your sales.

Mike from Garliscapes Food Truck (Orange County, CA)

Garlicscape

Booking, booking and booking. The ability to book the right events is the single most important piece to this “food truck” puzzle. 

When we started, I thought, “If we have great food, they will come”. That is true, but if you’re at a bunk event because you booked incorrectly, you’re out of luck.

Rhea from Neri’s Curbside Cravings (Los Angeles, CA)

NerisCurbsideCravings

Oh, how I wished I would have known right away which locations and events make the most! When we decided to get into the food truck business, we were ready for all the hard work that any business entails. 

Being in the food industry (having a family run business and my own share of restaurants in the previous years), I know that this is a business that requires a lot of patience, long hours and diligence.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Account For Prep Time When Planning 

Dustin & Kristen from Dusty Buns (Fresno, CA)

DustyBunsBistro

We wish we could’ve known the amount to prep for each new gig. After our first year, we started building charts and learned that wisdom only comes with time and trials. We hope to keep up with the ever-changing market and improve each year!

Jim from Jimmy Ray’s Bar-b-que (Woodburn, IN)

JimmyRaysBar-B-Que

Being at street, farmers markets, fairs, festivals, or special occasion vending are what adds to the fun of your business and definitely help in the bottom line. 

Try to make setup time, after you reach your site, a quick and somewhat easy chore. It takes us roughly 45 minutes to an hour to setup. Other trucks in the Association are setup in 5-10 minutes. We cook outside our truck, on a large grill, while all the others cook inside their truck.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published. 

Scout The Area To Find The Best Locations

Michael and Cheryl from The Burger Bus (Denver, CO)

TheBurgerBus

If possible, try to secure some locations to park your food truck. Find as many as you can, they don’t always work out.

Fishlips Sushi (Los Angeles, CA) 

FishlipsSushi

The one thing I wish I’d known: how to find the good location for serving!

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published.

Maintaining Your Truck

We’ve covered the food side of the food truck business. What’s left? Oh yes, the truck. From temperamental transmissions to wonky power steering, your truck is both your best friend and your greatest adversary.

Become Your Own Mechanic 

Nancy from Kurbside Eatz (Houston, TX)

KurbsideEatz

One thing I wish I knew was that, I needed to get a job as a part time mechanic, if not, an electrician. I’m sure most will agree!

Justin from Bernie’s Burger Bus (Houston, TX)

BerniesBurgerBus

I would have become a diesel mechanic first.

Andrea from Border Grill (Los Angeles, CA and Las Vegas, NV)

BorderGrill

We designed and custom built our trucks. This has been incredible. Learning how to create a super efficient cooking machine. We can produce just as many orders out of our trucks as a restaurant kitchen ten times the size. We love the trucks!

Nic from Blue Sky Dining (Durham, NC)

BlueSkyDining

Be a better truck mechanic! Anyone can make a pan gravy, but can anyone replace their power steering pump?

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published.

Research The Best Equipment  

Nathan from Oh My Gogi! (Oklahoma City, OK)

OhMyGogi

We are going into our fourth week now and my Gogi truck is a 1987 Chevy StepVan. She has who knows how many miles and a countless number of people who have tried to rig her to run. Me being a car enthusiast, I want the old girl to run properly. 

That being said she really needed a lot. Replaced the entire transmission, the driveshaft, tires, brakes, wiring, re-customized the interior, had the engine tuned up. But even now I am having some engine issues. 

The thing I wish I knew before starting would be to know which trucks run longer, have the quickest available replacement parts, which is easiest to maintain, and the pros/cons of diesel vs gasoline. The cooking, cleaning and serving are the fun part, even if I’m working 18 hour days. Sucks being stuck on the side of the road thinking about all the profits being lost on a Saturday night.

Joel from St. John’s Fire (Houston, TX)

StJohnsFire

Since I have been in the restaurant business for over 30 years the easy part was the menu and food. I think what I need most was some guidelines on the build of the truck

For example, what size of fresh water tank is needed for a two shift day? How much propane is need for a week? Generator size? Does an air conditioner really make a difference in a 130 degree truck in Houston summer? 

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published.

Adam from Food Shark (San Antonio, TX)

FoodShark

I wish we knew that Honda EU 2000 generators were the way to go with generators. You can take them tens of feet from the truck, so you won’t get gassed out. It’s more for a place where you’re gonna set up and be for awhile with some space around, like we pretty much always are (not for a mobile city unit unless you have them mounted on top but then what a bitch to have to climb up there and start them every day). 

If you have a big loud generator on the front or rear bumper, you might give yourselves carbon monoxide poisoning which over time is not too good not to mention the noise. Anyway, portable, quietish, dependable generators which you can move fairly far from the truck will keep the occupants healthier, at least for Food Shark.

Splurging On Quality Equipment Is Worth It  

Wendy from W.O.W! (Atlanta, GA)

WOWFoodTruck

I wish someone had told me not to cut corners. I wish I had gotten a newer truck. We had so many repairs the first year we were in business. 

We had to replace the engine, transmission, all tires etc…if I had just taken that money and bought a better truck in the first place we would’ve been much better off.

Ryan from Dashboard Diner (Indianapolis, IN)

DashboardDiner

We should have built two food trucks instead of one. We have had great success since launching the truck in the fall of 2011 and are currently in the process of getting ready to build another one in the future. The food truck business is the future of restaurants.

Maintenance Will Be Time Consuming   

Julie from Sam’s ChowderMobile (El Granada, CA)

SamsChowderMobile

The one thing we wish we knew before starting in the food truck business is the amount of maintenance/repairs that would be required for our trucks. A typical restaurant deals with ongoing maintenance for the facility and kitchen equipment. With a food truck, you have those same maintenance issues, but in addition, you have all the maintenance issues that come with owning a heavily used vehicle. 

Our trucks serve the entire San Francisco Bay Area, as far north as Napa, and as far south as Monterey. Being headquartered in Half Moon Bay, they put on a lot of mileage, and there is constant need for them to be serviced, which gets expensive, and causes them to be unavailable for periods of time.

Evangeline from The Buttermilk Truck (Los Angeles, CA)

ButtermilkTruck

The one thing I wish I would have known is all the extra maintenance that comes with owning and operating a food truck; including, but not limited to generator maintenance, equipment maintenance, vehicle maintenance, etc.

Note: This food truck has closed since this article was published.

Connecting with Your Customers 

You’re nowhere without your customers. And your super-fans are the lifeblood of your business. Becoming a master of ceremony is just as important as becoming a master chef.

FT In Blog Opt In

Use Social Media To Your Advantage

Chef Heidi from The Flip Truck (Orange County, CA)

TheFlipTruck

The one thing I wish I had known before I began my business would is how critical a big social media push would have been to help launch the business. I would have put way more focus avenues like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the likes – connecting, announcing, introducing, giving offers, specials and a better communication effort to the world of social media. 

I didn’t realize the enormous community that relies on social media and had I started that focus three years ago, I feel like we would have come to a certain level of success long before we did!

Want to learn more about effectively using social media? Click here.

A Strong Brand Yields An Enthusiastic Response 

Mark from The Hogfather BBQ (Pink Hill, NC)

TheHogfatherBBQ

The one thing I wish I knew prior to operating The Hogfather BBQ food truck is that I never expected such enthusiasm for the brand

I thought people were honking at me because I was driving slow, but once they got up to the side and front of my vehicle they would take pictures, wave, and give me a thumbs up approval. It took some time getting used to that, especially when I was timid driving a large truck.

Want to learn more about building a strong brand? Click here.

A Strong Community Helps You Cope With Setbacks 

Beckie from Quiero Arepas (Denver, CO)

QuieroArepas

When disaster strikes you are convinced that no one has it so bad. Then, through talks with other owners, the knowledge you gain along the way and the building of an amazing repair person arsenal, you feel empowered that you have earned your place every day. There isn’t anything we’d rather be doing. We love our truck!

What Say You?

We’d love to read your response to the all-important question: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started your food truck? Please share in the comments. 

We so appreciate your continued input on this important topics because it helps to shape the future of FoodTruckr content. We’re here to serve your interests; we’re building this resource together. 

Images by pasa47, troismarteaux, meddygarnet, BruceTurner, Townsquare Media Albany, AlishaV, weeklydig, and Scott McLeod

About the Author

FoodTruckr is the #1 online destination for current and aspiring food truck owners looking to succeed in the mobile food industry. Self described “food truck devotees,” the FoodTruckr team enjoys reading about successful entrepreneurs, salivating over photos of burritos on Twitter, and long walks through food truck parks. Chat with FoodTruckr on Facebook or check out the FoodTruckr School podcast for more awesome tips to level up your business.

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Sign Up For National Food Truck Day (It’s Free!) https://foodtruckr.com/events/sign-up-for-national-food-truck-day-its-free/ Wed, 26 May 2021 22:23:42 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=24323 National Food Truck Day started in 2016 and – since then – the event has attracted hundreds of participating vendors each year. Now, the holiday is taking on special significance given the pandemic’s effect on the food industry. Fortune recently reported 10% of restaurants nationwide closed since 2020, 22.5% of which were mobile vendors. Now […]

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National Food Truck Day started in 2016 and – since then – the event has attracted hundreds of participating vendors each year. Now, the holiday is taking on special significance given the pandemic’s effect on the food industry.

Fortune recently reported 10% of restaurants nationwide closed since 2020, 22.5% of which were mobile vendors. Now more than ever, it’s important to support and celebrate the essential workers and small business owners who kept their service windows open during this trying year.

This year, National Food Truck Day (happening June 25) will become a weeklong celebration from June 20 to June 27.

For food truck owners who wish to participate, it’s FREE and takes 2 minutes to sign up.

Just visit this link and enter some basic information.

Unlock More Benefits!

Trucks can take advantage of an exclusive benefits package the food truck catering company Roaming Hunger is offering through their Apple Pay Program. Sign up by May 31 to take advantage of the entire package.

If you’re not yet on Roaming Hunger, you can join for free here: https://vendor.roaminghunger.com/

When you sign up for Roaming Hunger’s Apple Pay Program you’ll get the following:

  • Up to $100 to reimburse any consumer deals/discounts you offer if customers pay with Apple Pay (sign up by May 31st!)
  • You’ll be featured in TimeOut’s media channels (in select markets)
  • You’ll be eligible to have Influencers and Local Press come visit your truck (in select markets)
  • A display that you offer Apple Pay on Roaming Hunger’s map pages along with your location
  • PLUS Access a $25 bonus just for signing up & a chance to win $1,000 (sign up by May 31st)

NOTE: You do need a Roaming Hunger account to take advantage of this benefits package.

Once you have access to your account, please sign up for National Food Truck Day. The final step will lead you to sign up for the Apple Pay Program so you can unlock more benefits.

Signing up to participate in National Food Truck Day is completely free and there’s no requirement to be a food truck on Roaming Hunger.

Let’s make it the biggest National Food Truck Day ever! We want every food truck to own this special holiday and make it their own. We can’t wait to celebrate your truck!

The post Sign Up For National Food Truck Day (It’s Free!) appeared first on FoodTruckr | How to Start and Run a Successful Food Truck Business.

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3 Tips For Making Your Food Truck Stand Out In 2021 https://foodtruckr.com/uncategorized/3-tips-for-making-your-food-truck-stand-out-in-2021/ Mon, 12 Apr 2021 18:44:56 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=24075 It’s no secret that 2020 was a nightmare year for the American restaurant industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, 17% of all food service businesses in the United States – more than 110,000 of them – closed last year, and another 400,000 are in deep financial trouble. The coronavirus pandemic was a perfect storm […]

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It’s no secret that 2020 was a nightmare year for the American restaurant industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, 17% of all food service businesses in the United States – more than 110,000 of them – closed last year, and another 400,000 are in deep financial trouble. The coronavirus pandemic was a perfect storm for restaurants as they faced government-mandated shutdowns and a public wary of leaving their homes. It is no wonder those in the food industry are feeling bleak. Fewer than half of restaurateurs think their businesses will rebound in the months and years ahead.

Despite this catastrophic downturn, food trucks actually fared much better than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Food trucks nationwide reported a modest uptick in total revenues of .4 percent in 2020. In 2021, that number is expected to rise to 2.4 percent. That’s nowhere near as strong as previous years, but at least the numbers are going up and not down. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the most important is that it is relatively inexpensive to start a food truck compared to a traditional restaurant. Food trucks also have the luxury of being able to move to different locations based on demographics and shopping trends.

Of course, success with a food truck business is not automatic. Any company that doesn’t get off on the right foot is going to struggle, no matter how strong the industry as a whole may be. That is why it’s important for owners of these mobile restaurants to make sure that they are focusing on what matters most. Here are some basic things that aspiring mobile restaurateurs should think about when they are planning their next food truck.

Put Effort Into Your Design 

Even before people can see your food or even look at a menu, they can see your truck. And appearance does matter. You need to have a truck that looks like an appealing place to buy food. 

An old rusty trailer is not going to instill much confidence among diners, but one that is inviting and friendly will always make a good impression. 

StickerYou makes decals and stickers that can easily be placed on a truck to clearly identify your business and provide an attractive representation of what you have to offer. For only a few hundred dollars, you can make the plainest truck really pop and even impress patrons with customized products from StickerYou such as clothing and hats.

So what kind of stickers are available? The most obvious are large vinyl banners that people can see at a distance. This is a great way to stand out from the crowd because you have a colorful, interesting visual brand that doesn’t look like any of the other food trucks in your area.  Vinyl stickers can be easily be put onto your truck and just as easily removed if you ever want to switch up your brand or logo. You don’t want to do anything that could damage the paint and vinyl stickers easily peel off. 

But it’s not just big stickers that make a statement. You can order small stickers to place on your food boxes and even place them in takeaway bags as free gifts for your customers. If you want to order stickers, go to this link and use the discount code TRUCK15.

Know The Market 

There are an estimated 24,000 food trucks in the United States. You can find just about any kind of food – from simple hotdogs to elaborate gourmet fare. This kind of diversity is great, but the only way to make it work for you is to make sure that your preferred kind of cuisine has a built-in market in the area where you wish to open. 

Just as important, make sure that the area is not oversaturated with similar cuisine. A little bit of research can go a long way.

Build a Loyal Customer Base

In many parts of the country, food trucks tend to cluster. This creates the equivalent of an outdoor food court. With so much choice, hungry diners need to have a compelling reason to eat at your truck rather than someone else’s. 

Creating specials, instituting loyalty programs, and allowing customers to order on an app so they don’t need to wait are all good ways to build goodwill and keep your guests happy. Also, don’t forget to have an active social media presence and interact with your fans online. 

The Bottom Line

There’s no single magic bullet to making it in the food truck industry. There are a lot of factors that ultimately guide how well a business will do. But by getting ahead of the game and doing some early research and preparation, aspiring restaurateurs will put themselves in a much better position to succeed.

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Food Truck Marketing In 2021: 5 Quick Tips https://foodtruckr.com/marketing/food-truck-marketing-5-quick-tips/ https://foodtruckr.com/marketing/food-truck-marketing-5-quick-tips/#comments Fri, 09 Apr 2021 19:45:15 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=24043 This article was written by marketing expert Heather Cox. See her info at the end of the bottom. Whether you are starting a new food truck or are a seasoned pro, keeping your marketing approach up-to-date is the key to longevity. In 2021  – in the midst of a shifting marketplace – getting creative about […]

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This article was written by marketing expert Heather Cox. See her info at the end of the bottom.

Whether you are starting a new food truck or are a seasoned pro, keeping your marketing approach up-to-date is the key to longevity. In 2021  – in the midst of a shifting marketplace – getting creative about your approach can help your food truck thrive.

Many major changes we saw in 2020 are becoming a permanent part of our world. Remote offices are increasingly becoming the norm, telehealth is on the rise, and online shopping is more popular than ever. In short, the world is going to stay somewhat socially distanced for the foreseeable future.

Food trucks once relied on word-of-mouth and walk-in traffic to thrive. Now, your success is about creating a presence in a virtual space. Below, we will give you some guidance on how to adapt your marketing approach and succeed in a post-pandemic market.

Provide Contactless Menus

The use of QR Codes to create contactless menus for your food truck has increased due to COVID – and customers have come to appreciate the convenience of looking at menus on their personal devices. A QR code is a great way to let people know about your online menu and any other online services you may offer.

Ready to get started? Use this link to create a QR code with your logo and different styles to match your brand. Once you are done, you can also share your QR Code on your website, on your food truck and your social media platforms.

Link Your Bio On Instagram

A strong social media presence is more important than ever before – and Instagram is a particularly good option for those in the food industry. A good food picture can really entice a customer.

Using services like LinkTree or SociaTap is a great way to create multiple links within your Instagram profile. It helps direct people to different parts of your website to view your menu, purchase merchandise, see your locations, and more.

Want to really step up your game? Create a “Link in Bio” page on your website. Add buttons with your multiple links to increase traffic and improve SEO while creating calls to action. It’s a win-win!

Be Consistent On Social Media

A consistent brand is a recognizable brand. If you are a burger truck, you want consumers to picture your logo the second they start craving a burger for lunch. Being active on social media  – where your customers hang out in their free time – is a good way to embed your company in the minds of consumers.

Creating a consistent social media brand is a great way to let people know that your food truck is active during the spring season. Posting every day about where you are located, what specials you are featuring, and photos of your food truck food will show your friends, fans, and new customers that you are trustworthy and ready to serve! It will also let people know where and how to find you.

Run A Contest

These days, consumers are averse to traditional forms of advertising. A contest is more interactive, and customers get something in return for participating.

Running a contest is a great way to increase the visibility of your food truck and brand. Create a photography contest where the best photo of your food truck wins or create a giveaway on Instagram. Have followers tag two people to be entered to win a gift card to your truck or a free meal. This is basically a free way to get exposure and give your customers something to look forward to.

Make sure to check your local guidelines around online giveaways and contests, however. Some cities or states may have specific guidelines.

Collaborate With Your Peers 

Collaborations are all the rage in 2021. While you may be tempted to think of fellow food trucks as your competitors, partnering with other brands oftentimes creates a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.

Get together with other food truck owners for a food truck Friday in your local town. Or, talk to a local brewery and see if you can set up on the corner so patrons can get food and drinks in one place. There are plenty of creative ways to collaborate and elevate both your brands in the process.

Food Truck Marketing In 2021: The Bottom Line 

Going in 2021, marketing can feel like an uphill battle for those in the food industry — especially food truck owners. Traditional routes of reaching customers are no longer viable, but creativity and innovation can help you thrive.

Creating a sense of community in online spaces and finding creative ways to interact with customers are vital to a successful 2021 marketing campaign. The above tips and tricks should give you a rough idea of where to get started.

Have another marketing tip for other food truck owners? Drop a comment and let us know!

 

More about the Writer

Heather Cox is the owner of BGWD and an expert in Social Media and Web Design for food trucks and restaurants. With over 14 years of restaurant industry experience, she knows how to make you look great online and get you more customers using your website and social channels.

Her favorite Food Truck food is Cheese Curds and she enjoys going to Food and Food Truck Festivals in and around Delaware! Because what else is there to do in Delaware except to eat!?

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WEBINAR: Food Truck Branding 101 https://foodtruckr.com/branding/webinar-food-truck-branding-101/ Sat, 05 Dec 2020 02:09:43 +0000 https://foodtruckr.com/?p=23149 How strong is your brand? Time for a checkup!  Check out this free webinar on how you can take your food truck brand to the next level. Watch Now   A brand is about more than a cute logo and a catchy slogan; it is how you connect with your community on a fundamental level. For food […]

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How strong is your brand? Time for a checkup! 

Check out this free webinar on how you can take your food truck brand to the next level.

Watch Now

 

A brand is about more than a cute logo and a catchy slogan; it is how you connect with your community on a fundamental level. For food truck owners, hitting the streets with a strong brand in place is key to success. 

In this webinar, Ross Resnick (CEO of Roaming Hunger) and Ross Kimbarovsky (CEO of crowdspring) team up to teach you how to create an impactful brand. 

In this webinar, you’ll learn… 

  • How brands foster a sense of community and create intimacy with your customers 
  • The science behind logos and imagery, including how subtleties like color scheme unconsciously affect consumers 
  • Interactive exercises to help you identify and analyze strong branding 
  • Guidance on succinct copywriting with a clear CTA to inspire conversions 
  • Basic aspects of food truck branding including menu presentation, photo placement, logo creation, and more 

These two founders have helped thousands of food trucks get started, develop unique brands, and grow their businesses. You can trust their knowledge and gain invaluable insight from their guidance.

Check out the webinar here. (email required)

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