At first glance, ninning a food truck may seem like an easy way to make money. You simply purchase a suitable vehicle,
stock it with food, drive to a suitable location, and wait for the customers to start lining up. But when you delve more deeply, you quickly realize that there is more to the mobile restaurant business than meets the eye.
Operating a food truck can indeed be lucrative, but access is far from guaranteed. If you want to make your first foray into the mobile restaurant business a good one, you need to plan carefully. Here are a number of things to think about before driving away in your new food truck.
Startup Costs Getting a new business off the ground can be an expensive proposition, and owning a food truck is no exception. Running your own mobile restaurant may be less expensive than opening a brick-and-mortar eatery, but startup costs can still be significant.
In addition to the cost of the truck itself, you will need to budget for fuel, propane, and other essentials. And that is before you buy a single piece of food or deal with licensing fees and other associated costs.
Before you hit the road, you need to do a thorough assessment of just how much your food truck business might cost. Armed with those numbers, you can determine if it makes sense to move forward.
Parking Restrictions Food truck owners cannot just park their mobile restaurants anywhere they like. These are large and cumbersome vehicles, and they are not welcome in many neighborhoods.
When your food truck is not in operation, you will need to
find a safe place to park. Then there is the problem of where to park the truck at night. Many homeowners associations frown on large vehicles parked on the street or in residential driveways, while others restrict commercial vehicles.
The last thing you want to do is invest in a food truck, only to find out that you have no place to park it. Having to park your food truck in a commercial space or storage lot will add a new layer of expense to the operation, one you may not have anticipated.
Staffing Difficulties If your food truck business is successful, it may quickly grow beyond a one-person operation. Even when your food truck businessis relatively new, you may need some help during busy periods, and you may need even more staffing if you plan to attend local festivals and street fairs
Finding qualified workers for your food truck business could be harder than you think, especially when the economy is strong, and unemployment is low. If you have kids, you may be able to hire them, but you will need to make sure
you do not run afoul of local labor laws.
Local Competition The food truck business is a popular one, so much so that competition is fierce in many parts of the country. If you are new to an already busy market, you could find yourself crowded out, especially if area customers already have their favorites
It can be difficult to stand out in such a competitive marketplace, and you will need a plan to make it happen. That plan should start with a thorough assessment of the local food truck scene, and you may want to attend a number of food truck festivals before deciding to jump into the
Licensing and Health Inspections Food trucks are essentially restaurants on wheels, and that means they are subject to the same health inspections and safety regulations as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.