How to start a food truck business

Mobile food trucks serving gourmet meals are the current food trend. If you’re considering opening a restaurant, stop for a moment and think about the advantages of first opening up a food truck. Your location won’t be fixed, so you can make it to the festivals and be wherever the party is at, you can test out your menu options on a smaller and less risky scale, you can start building a customer-base, and easily get your brand out there with literal mobile advertising wherever you go. Now that you’ve realised what you actually want to do is start a food truck business, here’s how to do it.

A licence to grill

As fun and exciting as running a food truck is, it’s still a business. This means all the usual business licenses registrations, permits, and insurance. Then you need to include parking permissions, truck licensing, food safety certifications and clearing health inspections. With all these legalities out of the way, you can start coming up with your business plan.

Bangers ‘n Business plans

Your business plan should include some of the following: funding for the entire operation from licensing to groceries and equipment, staff requirements, menu options and consistency, pricing, location, competition, point-of-sale payment options, business hours, brand logo and a catchy name. It seems like a lot but don’t be quick to give up. This is still easier than if you were going to open up a restaurant and the rest of what you need to do is fairly simple. Once you’re up and running, you’ll remember why you’re doing this. All for the love of food.

A Ford Falafel or Toyota Tortellini

Now the time comes for financing a recreational vehicle that you can transform into your mobile meal maker. Caravans, trucks, mini-buses or campers are all viable vehicle options for your food truck business. According to your business plan you will know how much space you need depending on the amount of staff required, the size of equipment you’ll need for your specific menu and how much space you will need up front to keep up with the demand of consumers.

Once you’ve chosen your vehicle, you need to think about your brand colours, logo and vibe. Grab some paint, or hire a professional, and start personalising your food truck to suit your business identity. The brighter the better because it is bound to stand out amongst the rest. Add a frilled or canopied covering above the “counter” to keep the customers in the shade and to add character to your van. If you choose to do your business at night, bring in some lighting features like fairy lights or hanging lanterns. Decide whether you will have a chalkboard menu on the outside of your food truck or if you have a fixed menu, paint it onto the truck.

Make your logo and business name large, visible and memorable. This way customers are likely to take selfies and photographs that will be posted on their social media, which is free marketing for you.

Curious cuisine

Finalising your menu is an important step. You need to know and be sure of what type of food you will be making and selling. You need to get creative. “Gourmet” is the new standard and everyone is looking for where that curiously delicious looking basket of food comes from. Make sure you are aware of the competition and bring the people something new to try. A goat’s cheese and beetroot ice cream is such a mind boggling combination for a dairy treat but trust that it’s this curiosity that will draw customers to you. Just make sure whatever you produce is still edible and the flavors are complementary.

If you’re looking to get into the food business, it’s assumed that you can cook. The flexible opportunity that comes with owning a food truck is being able to try new things and get immediate feedback as to whether it works or not. If not, simply change the menu.

Social media spices

A big part of successful food truck businesses is word of mouth. Word of mouth in today’s era means social media. With a business on wheels, people need to know where to find you. Start a social media story and keep the world updated. If you change your menu, update your status. If you have graffiti added to the artwork of your van, post a photo. If you’re on the move from one location to the next, start a live video and let them know where to meet you. Make the most of what social media marketing has to offer and start a company hashtag that customers can use and they will end up marketing your business for you.