How to Start a Food Truck Business?

how to start a food truck business

Feeling hungry and need a quick lunch? Office too far from restaurants? Want an affordable but equally delicious meal? The days of traditional dining out or bringing a packed lunch are behind us, and the food industry today is providing us a wide variety of options. One area that is especially booming is the food truck business.

The key advantage of food trucks for consumers is convenience. Food trucks will come close to its audiences to win their business, whether that means driving to a busy area of town where businesses are located or driving to a local fair or festival.

Although it’s popular and there is a big upside for entrepreneurs and operators who do it right, starting a food truck business is not easy. It is true that it requires low overhead, but the competition is so intense that you need to stand out from the others. Success isn’t always guaranteed but with the right mix of creativity and protection from unforeseen events, a growing and stable mobile food business is not impossible.

Here are the key things every food truck operator needs to consider to stand out from the crowd.

Be memorable

You might be serving delicious cuisine but if the outside of your truck isn’t inviting, people won’t notice you. Businesses in the food truck industry need to find ways to tell passersby what type of food you serve and a bit about your brand. If your food truck doesn’t look sharp and interesting, people will won’t think twice about stopping and will just keep walking by.

When it comes to how to own a food truck business, consider getting your vehicle wrapped. A food truck wrap is a huge vinyl sticker that covers the outside of the auto. These are usually made by large format printers and owners can customize how they look and feel. From colors to graphics and lettering, use imagery to communicate what you offer.

  • Food truck wraps costs anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the design.
  • Consider getting partial wraps for smaller sections to minimize startup costs.
  • FYI, wraps don’t affect the paint of your vehicle and they should last between 3 and 5 years.

Be mobile friendly

Many people think that all food trucks only accept cash as payment. But with the majority of people carrying less than $20 in their pockets, how can you reach those who are fond of using a credit card or mobile apps for payment? As a business owner, you need to provide alternative payment methods to become the first choice for hungry workers. Accepting mobile payments such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and the like will definitely increase your customer base.

Similarly, consider adding a mobile ordering system to your food business. In today’s fast-paced world, everything needs to be quick and speedy. Allowing people to order their take-out meals online reduces the waiting time and it benefits you by taking additional orders without adding to the line.

  • Research mobile ordering applications and make sure the one you choose is compatible with your truck.
  • Choose an app that goes hand in hand with your POS to lessen logistic tasks.
  • Dedicate someone to monitor and keep an eye on your mobile ordering system.

Offer delivery

When you are looking at how to start a food truck business, convenience is the name of the game when it comes to running a food truck. Today’s workforce doesn’t have the time to go out and spend a lunch break outside the office. Millennials, in particular, would rather order food and wait for its delivery than wait in long restaurant lines.

Offering delivery will surely require additional logistics but think about the vast amount of orders it will bring to your small business. You can opt to partner up with logistic companies to lessen the burden but keep in mind that a certain percentage, typically 10-20%, will be subtracted as a form of commission. While this might not be the best option for startup businesses, bicycle delivery is another alternative.

Bicycle delivery requires minimal capital. Add bicycle billboards on the food basket or rear-wheel cover as a form of advertisement to increase your brand visibility. Bikes can escape traffic congestion so can always be on time and deliver on your promise.

Cater events

Another option for food truck owners is to offer catering services for parties, festivals, music concerts, and even weddings. Unlike a commercial kitchen, food trucks provide choices to attendees and provide a variety of options that are sure to please every individual.

There are many events where you can offer your menu items. You can provide catering services for corporate activities, conferences, conventions, birthday parties, reunions, exhibits, community events, school fairs, housewarmings, and all other special occasions. If you’re considering this option, remember to:

  • Plan the food preparation ahead of time since events are always scheduled to avoid rushing.
  • Market your catering services by adding a call-out number to your menu or stickers to the truck.
  • Inquire to third-party agencies that specialize in food truck catering to help find customers.

Properly insure your food truck business

Last on these tips on how to own a food truck business, always insure your business to avoid costly lawsuits and unfortunate events. Not every day is a good day, one day you might be generating thousands of dollars of revenue and the next day you could be sued for food poisoning. Also, doing business on the road makes you vulnerable to risks such as accidents and bad weather conditions.

Aside from the licenses and permits that you need to operate, be smart and safeguard your food truck venture from various liabilities. Having business income insurance secured in place will help protect your trade against uncontrollable circumstances. It provides coverage of natural disasters such as fire, wind, vandalism, damage from vehicles etc. that might result in financial loss. Other policies tailored for food truck businesses are:

  • General liability to protect you against claims resulting from slip and fall accidents.
  • Product liability if someone complains about your food or other products.
  • Inland marine to protect your goods from losses while on constant road travel.


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