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Starting a Food Truck Business? Some Tips You Need to Know

— October 18, 2021

With the food truck industry rapidly growing, now is the perfect time to start your own.

Did you know that there are over 32,000 food trucks currently operating in the United States? This number is expected to grow in the upcoming years. With the food truck industry booming, now is a great time to chase that dream you have always had. Before pursuing your food truck journey, there are a few things that you need to know to make the process as smooth and profitable as possible. Below are some tips to help you on the way to starting your own food truck business. 

Establish a Concept

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on what type of food you’re going to sell, as well as a name for your business. This is entirely up to you. With food trucks growing in popularity, you will want to be creative so you stand out from the crowd. Many food trucks have a punny name or slogan that helps attract customers and also helps them remember you. When creating your brand concept, go for something that encompasses your personality as well as your food to really showcase who you are before your customers even make a purchase.

Create a Business Plan

Your business plan is going to outline the vision for your food truck from the beginning stages of development all the way to your first day of business and beyond. This document will be what you present to potential investors or banks in order for you to receive the funding you need. If you are unsure of how to create a business plan, there are many online resources to walk you through the process. Make sure to be as detailed as possible to take any questions off the table when presenting your plan to a potential investor. 

Identify Funding and Budget

Table with laptop, plant, pen, notepads, and a sign reading “Finance: Funding, Saving, Benefit.” Image by Rawpixel, via
Table with laptop, plant, pen, notepads, and a sign reading “Finance: Funding, Saving, Benefit.” Image by Rawpixel, via

The average cost of starting a food truck is around $55,000, but can go all the way up to the hundreds of thousands. That is a pretty big chunk of change to come up with on the spot. When starting a food truck, or any small business for that matter, it’s absolutely essential that you create a budget and establish your funding source early on. You may want to look into a small business loan or a personal loan from a bank or credit union. If you are a homeowner you could also look into mortgage refinancing as a way to get some cash based on the value of your home and current market trends. Whichever method you choose, the amount received will set the foundation of your budget. 

Find Your Truck and Equipment

There are a few options when it comes to finding the right food truck for your budget. If you have the funds for it, you might decide to buy a brand new custom food truck. Keep in mind this is the most expensive option and the process can also take several months to complete. However, the truck will be built to your exact specifications and have everything that you need. Your second option would be to buy a used food truck. This is a more budget friendly option but can come with the same draw-backs of buying a used vehicle. A third option is to rent your truck. This is the most cost effective option but at the end of the lease, you will not actually own your truck. 

Get the Necessary Permits

You can’t legally operate a food truck without first having all of the permits that you need. The permits required to operate your food truck will depend on which state or city you are operating out of, however, you will need a food service permit as well as a business license at minimum. It is important that you take the time to research your current city’s requirements so that you do not run into any legal trouble down the line. 

Research Popular Locations

Once your food truck is up and running, remember these three words: location, location, location! Where you decide to park your truck and operate your business is crucial to the amount of profit you will be bringing in. You will need to know the areas where employees will be taking their lunch breaks every day. You will also need to stay on top of special events in your city so that you can make sure to be present for those as well. These events will have maximum customers to help you make maximum profit. The best part about operating a food truck is that it is on wheels and you can go to where the customers are.

Market and Advertise

As with any small business, it is important to promote your food truck, especially when you’re new to the industry. When you are running a food truck that is just starting out, you will not have a customer base established. Therefore, there will be minimal word of mouth advertising between your customers and their network of people. Also, since your truck may be in different locations on different days of the week, it is important that you advertise to consumers where you will be. An effective and fairly simple way to advertise your food truck is with social media. Post daily updates on Facebook and Instagram announcing specials and your current location so that people will know where to find you. You may also want to partner with local bars or restaurants for some mutual marketing. This way you can both work together in bringing customers to one another. 

With the food truck industry rapidly growing, now is the perfect time to start your own. By following the correct channels to get your business off the ground, you will have minimal issues along the way. Good luck and happy food trucking!

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