Owners Share Secrets to Starting a Food Truck Business

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It’s always helpful to hear tips and tricks from people who are already in the food truck business.  Here is great article from Roaming Hunger – 61 Owners Share Secrets to Starting a Food Truck Business.  I have only taken snippets from the article and posted below, please follow the link for the full article.

HOW TO PURCHASE THE BEST FOOD TRUCK

Your business starts and ends with the food truck itself. When it’s on the road and working great, you’re making money. When it’s in the shop for repairs or the generator gives out on you, you’re losing money. Consider the wise advice from the owners below on how to set yourself up for success from the get-go.

Ashley from Not As Famous Cookie Company
Get a truck that meets all of your needs. Research equipment and power needs to avoid taking losses.

Ken from Kebab Food Truck
Get the right size food truck. My current truck has a 15′ cargo area. I would never have another one less than 18′ and I’d prefer 20′ or 22′. And I’d find a wider body than my current 80″.

 

Andrew from Em’s Ice Cream
We actually started with ice cream carts. They were much less expensive initially and allowed us to test our concept before making the larger investment into a truck.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE HITTING THE STREETS

Getting your food truck business started is one thing, surviving and growing is a whole other ball game. Whether it’s finding locations or making it in a small community, planning and research before you hit the road can make a huge difference. The owners below give some incredible insights into what to think about and do before starting your business.

From Linkz Express
Do research on food trucks in your state. The whole food truck movement hasn’t been in Georgia very long, so being in the first stages has been difficult.

Sean from It’s Bao Time
It is a common mistake to try and learn the ropes by trial and error. Although you can’t be afraid to make mistakes, and mistakes will definitely happen, it is well worth it to nail down some fundamental processes that will eventually form the way you operate.

Take your time to learn your customers, your own weak points, and learn your strengths as well. There is always time for innovation, but if you rush into serving food, you might alienate initial customers and never get repeat business.

CREATING THE BEST MENU FOR YOUR FOOD TRUCK

The menu is often the most important aspect to a food truck owner starting out in the industry. After all, it is the passion for food that drives them to start a business in the first place. It is also a very personal thing for any chef to share with the world.

As outlined in the advice below, creating a menu is a balancing act between complexity and simplicity, between making amazing food and making food people will eat and share. A food truck is a great way to build a business and feed your fans, but it’s not always the best way to share exotic or hard to make foods.

Dan from Cool Beans
I would have had a focus group answer some questions to help us decide on menu ideas, and also on the truck’s exterior design.

Amber from Engine 1 Pizza
Find a popular food that food trucks don’t normally do.

 

Make sure when serving high-priced or exotic commodities that you offer supplemental items to help balance your food cost. We featured our spin on an egg salad sandwich, and it became one of our biggest sellers.

FUNDING TIPS TO THRIVE IN THE FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS

While food trucks can be a low investment opportunity compared to brick and mortar restaurants, funding can be an issue for anyone who doesn’t plan accordingly. When it comes to starting your food truck business, cash is king.

Richard from Daddy’s Bonetown Burgers Truck
I probably would want more capital to begin with. We started on a shoestring budget and had nothing saved.

UNDERSTANDING PERMITS AND REGULATIONS

The legal side of the food truck business is often out of the owner’s control and can be a great source of stress. Make sure you do the proper research on the city and state level. Although only two trucks that talked to us mentioned permits and regulations outright, we’ve worked with many food trucks that had to figure out how to overcome unfriendly mobile food regulations. Check out our article called “Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Food Truck”, where Mustache Pretzel owner Greg Golden goes into more detail about this.

Jorge from Arepas House
Learn about all the regulations from the county and the fire department in order to get a food truck that’s well equipped with what you need to meet codes.

INVEST IN MARKETING

Most food truck owners believe that if the food is good, the marketing will take care of itself. While this may work sometimes, it’s not something you want to depend on when getting your business off the ground. Learn about and invest in marketing so you can jumpstart your business from the start. Just make sure your menu, staff, and kitchen are ready to handle the customers.

Eric from Not Just Q
I would have spent more money in marketing to get started. We had a slow start, which almost broke us.

Marc from Ninjas with Appetite
I would push social media harder.

HIRE GREAT EMPLOYEES
The people you work with can make all the difference. In the case of succeeding in the food truck industry, finding reliable and experienced employees will be a huge advantage. Take the time to build a team that will be passionate about building your business.

Calvin from Paddy Wagon Sliders
If I could start over. I wouldn’t have hired my close friends to work for me as it was hard to separate friendship and business.

THIS IS A BUSINESS: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Believe it or not some owners are told that starting a food truck business is not very hard. In our experience that is a great mindset if you want to be out of business in less than a year. If you’re serious about it, you’ve got to roll with the punches and keep solving the problems that inevitably come up.

Christine from Toum Food Truck
The food truck industry is not as easy as it looks. It’s very cut throat and you need to constantly roll with the punches. You’ll make a lot of sacrifices just to keep afloat.

Pat from Empanadas Aqui
Don’t stress about getting lunches and events on the calendar, they will find you.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

To start a food truck you have to be a doer. Anyone who overthinks every single decision will get lost in all the meaningless details. As a small business owner, you have to plan, execute, and adjust. And no matter what, you have to believe in what you are doing.

Gilbert Villa from G’s Taco Spot On Wheels
Believe in yourself and your concept. Believe that although there are many food trucks in the area, there is only one you. Which means that the quality of your food, your customer service, and presentation is what separates you from the rest. Understand that your concept is truly up to you. There are no right or wrong ways to what you do.”

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