While building out a food truck might seem a lot easier than building a full brick and mortar location, there is still a lot that goes into it and you need to make sure you have everything essential for running your business successfully.
In our Food Truck Basics series, we first looked at selecting your food truck. Once you’ve found a suitable food truck, you’ll want to start working on your food truck equipment list.
Your equipment list will differ somewhat depending on what type of food you plan on serving, but there are certain pieces of equipment every food truck needs. So whether you are buying a fully furnished food truck or you are building one brand new, you need to check to make sure you have all the right equipment.
Here is a basic food truck equipment list w recommend.
Counter space and work tables
While all food trucks should have some built-in counter space, you should also add some work tables made of stainless steel or a sturdy wood if there is enough room for it. It is important that you measure out exact measurements because if the tables are too big they could mess with the total workflow of the truck. Good examples include a 12” x 30” filler table or a two foot square table.
Make sure you examine the counter space situation in your food truck carefully so you and your staff have enough room to prep the food for the day without constantly getting in each other’s way.
Sinks for Cleaning Up
Every food truck needs at least one sink for cleaning up dishes and washing hands. There are several options you can choose from depending on what works best in your truck configuration.
When you have small kitchen space, a simple hand sink with side splashguards will suit your needs best and will easily be approved by your local health department because the splashguards prevent contamination. For a Zac’s Burger Bus, you’ll need a 3-hole sink and a hand sink.
In general, food truck experts don’t recommend getting an industrial dishwasher for the tight space of a food truck because it uses a lot of water, but a single-rack ‘reach in’ dishwasher could help you tackle those daily dishes more efficiently.
While a walk-in cooler is not an option for a food truck, there are different refrigeration units that work well in a food truck. Consider a single glass door refrigerator to hold your waters, juices and sodas. If you need to store a lot of perishable items, then a two-door reach-in fridge might be better, but it will take up more space so keep that in mind.
If you need freezing capability as well, then you will also need a one-door reach-in freezer. Food truck experts advise against getting a two-door freezer for a food truck.
There are a lot of styles when it comes to fridges and freezers as well. Under-counter versions or ones which have a worktop can really help you save space in your food truck like a “Sandwich/Salad Table” or lowboy refrigerator.
For your Zac’s Burger Bus, you are required to get a single door upright refrigerator and a matching single door freezer to store all your menu items.
Zac’s Owner Pete Politarhos walks through requirements for a Zac’s Burger Bus
For a Zac’s Burger Bus, you need at least a 3 foot grill, but we recommend a 4 foot grill to best accommodate busy times throughout the day. You will also need an exhaust hood, approximately 18 inches wide to cover all of your equipment.
Most other food trucks are equipped with a gas range. There is the standard stove top and oven combo, the 6-Burner Stove, and then you can go smaller with a 4-burner plus oven for tighter spaces or if you have a larger food truck, you can go as large as a 10-burner stove plus 2 ovens. If space is really tight you might just want a single hot plate.
If you choose to run a Zac’s Burger Bus, you will need a milkshake area with a 3-spindle blender. Zac’s prides itself on offering their customers real hand-dipped ice cream made-to-order.
French fries are usually a staple on most food truck menus, so make sure you add a deep fryer for French fries to your equipment list. For a Zac’s Burger Bus, you are required to have two fryers and a cheese machine so you can offer cheese fries to your customers.
Point of Sale
Make sure you have an area designated for all your point of sale transactions. Not only does this make things easier for you and your customers, it also opens up new avenues of revenue from those customers that simply don’t carry cash anymore. In our digital age, credit and debit cards are becoming more and more commonplace as the customer’s preferred method of payment.
If you are doing more than just burgers and hot dogs, you might need to invest in some specialty cooking equipment as well like a single gas wok range for Asian cuisine or a pizza oven. If you like using a brick pizza oven, but worried about space issues, then a double deck pizza oven can also get the job done. If you want to offer Mediterranean fare like kebabs then you will also want a gyro rotisserie grill.
If you have extra space on your counters, you can also get an induction burner to keep food warmed up, a toaster, waffle iron and Panini grill. A soup kettle/warming station can also make serving easier. You just need to make sure you have enough space on your countertops and in storage (cabinets) for these items.
Our food truck equipment list includes just the main pieces of equipment you will need for your food truck. It is a good idea to also talk to current food truck owners to get some tips on other things you might need that will help you run your truck efficiently. And don’t forget to consider your ideal work flow within the truck when selecting and setting up equipment.
Burger food trucks are especially popular right now. For more information about getting started in the burger food truck business, contact Zac’s Burgers today.