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Self-employment Opportunities & Skills Development

Food Truck Business

Food Truck Business

Most consumers place convenience high on their priority list when shopping for food and beverages. It also drives peoples’ preference for quick-service dining over formal sit-down restaurants and preparing simple meals at home. 

Overall the quick-service take-out restaurant segment is making a significant impact on away-from-home food expenditures. The resurgence of traditional food trucks add to the convenience factor by taking the quick-service option closer to the consumer.

Typical venues include corporate parks, fairs, carnivals, sporting events, public beaches, and places that have limited access to restaurants such as construction sites, zoo and public parks.

Greater availability inevitably leads to increased consumption. However, most consumers—while appreciative of the convenience factor—are concerned not only that the retail price should be affordable but also consider the health aspects of the cuisine they are purchasing and consuming.

A well-equipped food truck kitchen can prepare and serve a wide range of take-out food, including sushi, pancakes, sausage rolls, sandwiches, burgers, cupcakes, kebabs, falafel, pita, salad rolls, shwarma, fish and  chips, pies, soups, bagels, and any of a hundred other walk-and-eat meals and beverages.

Food trucks are also ideal to take fresh produce like fruit, vegetables, eggs, baked goods and dairy products to remote areas. An economical alternative to starting a food business on wheels is a food cart, to sell ice cream, pizza, sausage rolls, waffles, pies, or hot dogs.

Most consumers today are more likely to support food merchant’s that are environmentally aware, and expect to be given either recyclable or compostable eating utensils or packaging.

Patrons’ alternative dietary needs should be catered for, such as gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low-GI, and dairy-free. Parents demand healthy organic foods/drinks with nutrient and calorie levels specific to young children.

Find out from your local Municipality if operating a Food Truck Business is legal in your town or city. Assuming your Municipality grants you a license or permits to operate your food truck business identify a good location to operate from and find out if local ordinances will allow you to park in this designated area.

Before you set up shop in a busy area or business park, make sure it is legitimate. No matter what type of food you plan to serve, make sure that your food truck meets all local and state health and safety codes.

In order to obtain a food truck license or permit, your truck will need to pass a fire/safety and health inspection. Inspection criteria depend on the ordinances in your area. However, basic conditions stipulate that a number of fire extinguishers, a sprinkler system and fire

alarms be fitted in the truck, as well as food safe surfaces on prep areas, walls and floors.

Outfitting a food truck is similar to designing a commercial kitchen for a restaurant. You need designated areas for cooking, chilling, storing and serving. Since space is at a premium in a food truck, you will need to utilize every inch of space.

Much of your food truck design will depend on the meals you plan to serve. Will you be preparing bulk food in advance (e.g. sandwiches, pies, pita bread, bagels, cupcakes) or will food be prepared on site (e.g. pizza, fried or grilled food). If you plan to sell pre-made sandwiches, you will need ample cooler space.

  • Be sure to check with your local licensing agency before finalizing your food truck design.
  • Choose a name for your business that reflects your menu, theme, or concept.
  • Write a detailed Business Plan, especially if you need to apply for funding from a bank or private investors.
  • Outline where you want to be in a year, five years, and 10 years.
  • Perhaps operating a Food Truck Business is your first step toward owning your own formal restaurant or full-service catering company, to supply food for evening and weekend events, including dinner parties, holiday parties, weddings, children’s birthday parties, corporate functions, picnics, fairs, and sport events. Having clear goals will keep you motivated and focused.
  • Devise a Menu that is written on a menu board and to-go leaflet menus for customers to take.

It is vital that the meals you provide are consistently of a high standard, tasty and well presented to ensure patrons have a positive eating experience on par with eating in a first-rate restaurant.

Find funding to buy or lease a used or new food truck. Allow for extra expenses if the truck needs to be customized to meet your particular needs. Enclosed cabinets or cupboards are necessary for storing paper goods, dry goods and other non-perishables. Make sure cabinet doors are locked while driving.

Built-in work surfaces should be made of a food-safe surface such as stainless steel. Cleaning products and other hazardous materials must be stored separately from food and serving utensils to prevent contamination.

Any coolers, refrigerators, or freezers should be bolted in place for safety. The Food Truck must be proper ventilated. Electrical outlets, ovens, grills and deep fat fryers must be well-maintained.

Grills and stove tops need a hood with an extraction fan and sprinkler system, properly vented to the outdoors. Your food truck will need at least one large window and counter for serving customers. The outside counter must be broad enough to hold napkins, condiments, and flatware. An awning over the window is a good investment for both rain and hot weather.

Research wholesalers to buy the ingredients and accessories you need to start your meals-on-wheels business. It is important to serve food in containers that are bio-degradable. Place a large refuse bin a distance away from the truck.

Get the word out about your Food Truck Business. Employ a good sign writer/graphic artist to decorate the truck, to serve as a mobile advertisement. Distribute pamphlets to businesses and residential homes in the area.

Use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to build a good customer base. Create an Emergency Fund to cover costs such as maintenance and unforeseen vehicle or equipment repairs. Be prepared to work long hours, which encompasses ordering ingredients and serving items, preparing food and cooking, cleaning, and serving meals.

What You Need:

  • Business Plan
  • Clear Goals for the Future
  • Financing
  • List of Wholesale Suppliers
  • Permit or License
  • New or Used Food Truck
  • Clear Restaurant Food Truck Concept
  • Fantastic Food Truck Menu
  • Memorable Food Truck Name
  • Truck Signage
  • Printed Pamphlets {including menu]
  • An Emergency Fund

Contact Theresa (ecottage@gmail.com) to create a Business Plan and menu.

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