8 Things to Consider Before You Start Running Your Own Food Truck

starting a food truck

Are you looking to start a burger catering food truck? There are some factors you need to consider before starting. Making sure you’re aware of all the costs and legal obligations associated with running your own food truck is the best way to ensure it’s profitable.

Here are 8 things to consider before you start running your own food truck.

1. Industry Experience

How much experience in your industry do you have? Sometimes it’s best to own a restaurant before owning a food truck. Why? This gives you experience with learning how to manage a team and manage expenses. It gives you vital skills to be able to tackle the hustle and bustle of a food truck.

For example, a customer at a restaurant expects to wait 15-20 minutes for a dish. But on a food truck, that amount of preparation time will leave you with bad reviews and unsatisfied customers. You’ll have to design your menu and train your team to perform tasks efficiently and effectively.

2. Your Niche

Let’s assume you want to start a burger food truck. Do you know what your competitors are doing to bring in customers? Do you know how well you fit in or how much you stand out from them? What unique burgers are they serving?

Knowing all about the competition gives you an edge. You’ll be able to develop creative marketing techniques that no one else is doing to set yourself apart. You’ll also be able to calculate your food truck’s potential profitability by comparing the data from other food trucks.

3. Food Truck prices

Food trucks can cost up to $100,00. Why are they so expensive? They require the same rules as restaurants, and you’ll need special equipment that tends to be very pricey. It is possible to find a food truck between $20,000 and $40,000 that already has all the necessary equipment.

You want to make sure the truck you choose is suitable for your business. For example, foods that need to be prepared on-site such as pizza, will require a larger truck and cost more money. However, if you prepare the food back at your restaurant and you just need to keep it warm, this won’t require as much space.

You wouldn’t want to spend more money than you need to, so it’s essential to know how much space and equipment you’ll need.

4. Financing

What is your plan for financing? Startup costs for a food truck can be well over $80,000. Food truck loans are considered high risk. The loan amounts tend to be too low for banks to make a grand profit, so they are often rejected by traditional banks.

But don’t be discouraged. Some lenders actually specialize in these types of loans. It all just takes careful planning and being realistic with how much you can afford.

5. Licensing

As easy as it would be to just drive a food truck and set it up wherever you want, it isn’t practical. There are specific requirements on a city-to-city basis that you must follow. These include health department certificates, parking restrictions, and food truck permits. Sometimes cities will even put a cap on the number of permits they issue. You can be on the waiting list for as long as 15 years!

It is crucial that you know your city’s licensing requirements before running your own food truck. You wouldn’t want to go through purchasing your truck, financing it, and not even being able to use it.

6. Location

Have you scoped out possible locations with a lot of foot traffic? Is it easy for people to wait in line for food, or is it too crowded? What time of day do people in the neighborhood seem to be busiest (or hungriest).

Just like finding the right location is important for a restaurant, it is also important for food trucks. You need to make sure that you can find a spot in common places like at shopping malls, tourist locations, or festivals. The more people you can attract who can comfortably wait for their food, the more profitable your food truck will be.

7. Parking

Even if you think you’ve found the perfect location for your food truck, you may discover some parking issues. Food trucks can be large, and the bigger they are, the more difficult it may be to find parking. You need to make sure that if you have off-street parking, for example, that it will be safe overnight.

Also, some health departments have a requirement that you must park only in approved facilities. These facilities have refrigeration and electricity. If all else fails, you might be able to rent a private parking space for your truck. This ensures safety and accordance with the law.

8. Long Hours

Did you know that the typical food truck owner works 10 hours a day and rarely gets any day off? Are you and your team prepared to handle this? It takes a lot of hard work to run a successful food truck. This is another reason it’s recommended that you have experience in your industry first. You will be better equipped to handle these situations.

You may be thinking that those 10 hours a day are solely dedicated to time on the truck serving customers. That isn’t the case. You also need time for marketing, advertising, scouting out new locations, and cleanup.  Unlike a brick and mortar restaurant with a large team helping out, you will likely only have 2 to 4 people.  You need to consider all the time and effort that needs to be put into the business.

Conclusion

Considering cost, location, and experience level are crucial before you start running a food truck. These factors influence success and profitability of your business.

Are you considering owning a food truck franchise? One of the best franchise opportunities for your burger truck, Zac’s is a great choice. They offer franchise opportunities with plenty of support, which will be useful if you’re new in the business.

After you’ve carefully considered all of the things, it’s time to get on the road and get cooking!

Zacs Food Truck

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