A Guide to Getting Started in the Food Truck Business
As far as businesses go, restaurants can be tricky to manage. This is especially true during the first year in the industry when startup costs soar high. On top of that, capital investments, like restaurant equipment, continue to require maintenance for years.
Despite this, food service establishments remain some of the most viable businesses out there, mainly because these offer food, one of man’s basic needs.
With this in mind, you may be looking for a way to try your luck in the industry without shelling out massive capital. The answer? Food trucks.
Although challenges will still exist, food trucks offer an unconventional way of entering the business. In fact, they offer plenty of advantages over traditional restaurants that make it hard for enterprising individuals to resist its appeal.
In this article, you will learn the different advantages of running a food truck business and how to start one with success.
The Food Truck Draw: 3 Advantages
Most of the time, famous lunch spots also serve as parking spaces for food trucks trailed by dozens of people queueing for a bite. But what is it exactly about the food truck business that makes it so appealing?
Here are three key advantages you can look forward to once you decide to start a food truck business:
1. Perfect location all the time
Finding the right location is a crucial aspect of running a food business. After all, there’s no way you can reach your target market without being in the right place, at the right time.
For food trucks, you will get to enjoy being in the best location, every single time. Unlike restaurants with permanent brick-and-mortar venues, these mobile food service providers have the advantage of not being limited to a single location.
If you have food trucks, you can even bring your business to where the customers are rather than the other way around. You can test out several locations at different times to see which ones offer you the most business at specific times of the day.
2. Free advertising
Do you recall driving down the road next to a food truck and being able to determine the food truck’s name, its specific products, and even its Facebook and Twitter handles from the vehicle’s body art and design? Everywhere the truck goes, the people who encounter it will be able to see its branding, and if they are interested in trying out the food, they may be inspired to look up where the business will be headed next.
Food trucks provide free advertising for a brand. This is equivalent to roughly 7 to 8 percent of additional revenue saved.
3. Low operational costs
Another huge draw that might convince you to start a food truck business is its low operational costs. From the very beginning, you will spend less to get the business going than if you were running a traditional restaurant. Plus, trucks also offer opportunities for expansion with significantly lower costs compared to other food service establishments.
How to Start a Food Truck Business in 4 Steps
Now that you know why food trucks can be an advantageous business option, it is time for you to start the grind. To make your food truck business as profitable as it can be, you have to find a business strategy that suits the specific type of business you chose. This means you would need more than just a truck and a handful of recipes to get started.
To help you out, below are four steps you need to take to launch a food truck business:
Step #1: Research
Doing research on the food truck business means digging up information on three important things: your target market, the available space, and the competition.
Specifying your target market begins by identifying the group of people whom you think would enjoy your food truck business best. This could be office employees, college students, and even schoolchildren. The key is to pick a specific group according to the demographics you set.
Once you determine who you’re going to sell your food to, the next thing you should consider is the available space where you can meet them. As you already know, mobility is a major advantage food trucks have over other restaurants. However, you still need to have a specific area of business in mind so patrons would know where to find you.
For instance, you can establish a home base near a school or university if your chosen market include schoolchildren or college students, respectively. However, you must remember to familiarize yourself with local food truck regulations first, especially if you’re planning to park your business on a busy street.
Step #2: Create a memorable concept and offer unique food
An exemplary concept and unique food are two more crucial aspects of a food truck business.
When thinking about a concept, you must make sure that it has that “recall” factor that people will want to talk about. Keep in mind that word of mouth is your best friend when it comes to the food truck business, so take advantage of it while you can.
You have to come up with a clever brand name and cohesive design. If you are unsure about how to create a memorable brand, you should consider getting help from a reputable branding agency.
Also, you must make sure that you have an offering that is unique from that of others. Check out the most popular cuisines in your area and steer clear from those.
For this particular type of business, it will do you good to go against the grain to bring in more customers. You have to find something that nobody else has ever offered before.
Step #3: Gather your tools
The next step in starting your food truck business is to gather the tools you will need for your startup. This covers all the tangible things that you require, like the food supplies, utensils, equipment, and packaging.
Obviously, you would need to have a truck where you can sell your food. Aside from the most apparent necessities, you also need to gather pertinent business tools, like a POS system specially designed for food trucks and inventory systems, among others.
Step #4: Craft a business plan and get the necessary licenses
Like other businesses, food trucks also need to follow a specific business plan. Coming up with a strategy to reach the right customers is the single best way to determine whether you have achieved your goals or your food truck business needs a revamp.
Some of the elements a food truck business plan should have are:
● Business description – This covers an outlook and future possibilities of the industry in your locale, its concept, your chosen theme, and other industries or markets that may have a direct impact on your business.
● Market analysis – This should include trends in the food truck industry, the target market, and an analysis of existing competitors.
● Organizational and management chart – This should explain how you plan to run your business. It includes staffing, task and responsibility distribution, and standard operating procedures.
● Product line – Your product line covers details of your menu, ingredients, and preparation procedures. It should also indicate the different costs of each dish and how much you plan to sell it for.
● Marketing plan – This entails the different strategies you will employ to make potential customers know about your food truck business. Aside from word-of-mouth, you may also use influencer and social media marketing.
● Funding proposal and request – This covers the amount of funding needed to launch the business. It should be specified, especially if you’re applying for a business loan.
● Financial projections – This is the breakdown of estimated expenses, revenue, and possible losses for your first three to five years in the business.
After completing these, it is time for you to get the necessary licenses and registration for your business. This will vary depending on where you’re establishing your food truck, so be sure to do some more research before you proceed.
Attract Success with Food Trucks
Finding success with a food truck business is possible as long as you are clear about what you want to serve and who will enjoy your offerings the most. Understand the benefits of running a food truck and make the most out of them all by using this article as your guide.
Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing foodtech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries. Today, Foodics has extended to new markets across the MENA region, processing over 1 billion transactions, and offering the latest technology in POS and restaurant management.