Food trucks have become increasingly popular in the US in recent years. The popularity is based on the advantages over brick-and-mortar restaurants, including overhead costs being less, the mobility to participate in popular events to drive business, and the ability to relocate if business is slow at one location.
You also have the flexibility to work when and where you want. And through social media, many food trucks have developed a following, so customers may be lined up and waiting for you when you arrive.
If you are thinking about opening a food truck, here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Create a concept
Food trucks have limited prep and cooking space, so you need to come up with a limited and manageable menu of options that you can quickly make on the fly. Also, choose a concept that aligns with your talents and experience and fulfills a need in the marketplace. Whether that’s tacos, vegetarian bowls, Tai food or the best BBQ around, do your research before you settle on your niche.
Determine your costs
Operating a food truck is less expensive than running a restaurant, but it still has a lot of costs to consider. These include the cost of the truck and any food preparation equipment, ingredients and supplies, permits and licenses, a Point-of-Sale system, payroll, insurance, advertising, fuel consumption and more. You’ll also likely need to rent a commissary kitchen on an hourly basis to do all your prep work ahead of time, so consider that in your costs as well.
Create a business plan
Write out a detailed business plan that includes how your food truck will operate, what it will serve, what you will charge, a market analysis, financial projections and more. The Small Business Administration has helpful advice and templates for writing a business plan.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely need some funding to cover your initial costs and help you stay afloat until the business becomes profitable. You can look into a secured vehicle loan (similar to a car loan), open a line of credit, or look for angel investors, potential partners, or seek out help from family or friends. Your business plan can be a valuable tool in securing a loan or investor.
Get your licenses and permits
At a minimum, you’ll need a business license and a food service permit to operate. Check with state and local authorities on other regulations or permits that may be required. Additionally, research and inquire about any parking restrictions for food trucks in your area.
At Park City Culinary Institute, we support your culinary pursuits no matter what they are. Check out our Professional Certificate in the Culinary Arts, Cuisine Certificate, or Pastry & Baking Certificate programs to prepare you for a culinary career on the road, at home, or anywhere. Our programs are available online or on campus in Salt Lake City. We welcome people with all experience levels. Contact us or give us a call at 801-413-2800 to learn more.