So you want to start your very own food truck business? Prepare your favorite food and sell it to your customers with a smile? Am going to show you how and still keep it simple.
But first, some facts:- Did you know that according to the IBIS World, the food truck business generates revenue of more than $804million annually? Or that the business can bring in $500,000 annually to your pockets?(now that’s a whole lot of zeros).
What better way to add some fuel to the fire and keep you motivated towards this venture than to give you some advantages of starting a food truck business.
ADVANTAGES OF STARTING A FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS.
Easier on your pockets:- Start-up capital is a major issue for entrepreneurs out there but luckily, this venture is kinder towards your pockets. Yes, there may be some substantial amount of money needed but you have to admit that it is cheaper than starting a traditional restaurant.
Continued Profits:- You can be safe knowing that people won't ever stop eating, so you will always have customers. In addition to that, your profit margins won't get narrowed as with a restaurant where the landlord might increase the rent based on your growth.
Flexibility and Larger Customer Base:- This has to be one of the reasons why this business exists. See more customers somewhere else? You don't have to watch through your window as others make profits, start your engine and follow them!
Uniqueness:- Grow off from the traditional mentality in your area where restaurants are the only viable way to eat away from home. Food trucks give you the chance to bring in something new.
Now let's get right into the ‘how-to' that brought you here:-
1. Get to Know more about the business.
There is a lot of knowledge on the Food Truck Business out there. Go on Google and just type the keyword Food Truck Business.
- I’d recommend that you look for testimonials from people who are already out there in the market.
- Look for tips and know just how these businesses operate. There are guides and articles on food truck businesses.
- You can even get out on the streets in your town and approach one of those successful food truck owners, order something and get them to feed you with some good ideas and tips on how you can succeed in this field.
But there are important questions you have to ask yourself:-
Can you handle the workload?
You might be thinking that it might be easier operating a food truck than a restaurant. While that is true, you need to be someone who is ready to get your hands dirty, get sweaty and at times be on your feet for hours on end. There’s more to it than just selling food, you have to arrive at the location on time, do some cleaning in your truck, cook and prepare your food, wash utensils and after closing your day, sit down and get your records straight. Apart from your Monday-Friday routine, you might have to go to work on weekends where most of the events are.
Are you willing to earn your profits one customer at a time?
This is nothing like a get rich quick scheme. You need to be ready to earn your profits a few dollars or even cents at a time. But just like any other business once it picks up pace, you will be in for a treat.
2. Choose Your Food Truck Business name and Logo.
You want something that will be catchy and fun. A name that describes your unique selling point. Now am not talking about a lengthy name but something that will make you unique.
Here is an already used name that just caught me I Don't Give a Fork. And guess what? What the food truck owner means is that the kind of foods that she offers do not require utensils, for example, Sandwiches.
A piece of advice to have in mind as you pick out your name is to be careful not to violet any regulations by using a name that is already taken by a restaurant or food truck. I'd recommend you use the free USPTO online research tool.
When it comes to creating your logo. I’d recommend you visit 99designs.com and for around $299, hire freelance professional designers can make you something beautiful.
3. Find Your Start-up Funds.
Ehem...This has to be the most touchy subject here. How much do you need to start a food truck business? Approximately around $40000 to $250,000 putting in mind that you might have to buy a new truck, register your business and get your permits and licenses. Need affordable loans? Check out Kabbage
4. Get the Right Truck.
Now I don't know how you might actually be planning to start a food truck business without actually having a truck. You should also know that most food trucks aren't going to be shopped straight from a motor shop, most of them are customized for just the food business.
A low-end truck can be bought for around $45000, a middle-end for around $100,000 and the high-end ones which are actually have very neat designs go for about $230,000. Pop your eye around Food Truck Empire and Prestige Food Trucks
Now there's a more than one way to get pickles out of a jar. You don't always have to buy a new truck. Yes, your own truck might be quite useful if you intend to operate for a long time, customize it as you want and save on costs.
But you also have the option to rent a truck, this is best if your pocket is a little tight on capital or you plan on operating seasonally.
5. Prepare Your Menu.
If you are not so much of a business fan, this I believe would be quite fun for you. What type of food will you be bringing to the table(no pun intended).
I know you are probably thinking about some of the fast foods like burgers, fries, and pizza but can I interest you in Organic/health food? People have started to mind about what exactly they are putting into their mouths and are now going for healthier options. Another idea is you could offer is food that isn’t an everyday option in your town, we all love trying new bites once in a while.
About the menu board, don't flood it with dollar signs as people tend to be concerned about their pockets just as much as they are concerned about their stomachs.
6. Prepare your Business Plan.
Like any other business, you will have to sit down and get to work. A business plan is crucial for your business as it can be one of your main documents when going to apply for your loan whether it is to start or expand your business. Here are the must-have things in your plan.
Description:- Am talking about the businesses theme, objective and concept. In short, what am talking about here is your ‘why?’ and of course your values.
Market strategy:- Get your specs on and take a look at the market trends currently sweeping the food truck business in the world or even in your city. And no, am talking about getting to know your customers alone, am talking about competitors too.
Business operation and management:- How will your business run? Operating hours, locations of business and will you be the sole worker or will you have to employ two or more people to help you.
Products offered:- Little tip here, specialize in offering food from a specific line like maybe pizzas or smoothies. What will be the cost of preparing food from buying of the ingredients to cooking? How much will you sell the food? Personally, I’d recommend that you get to buy your ingredients in bulk so that you get good discounts and as a result more profits.
Marketing Strategy:- How are you going to get your food truck known out there? People have to know that there is a new diner in town! Am talking about coupons, maybe even promotions as you start out, social media, create a website, word of mouth or send out postcards to people's homes. Want to get your first clients easily? I’d recommend you try social media as more people spend more time there. For exclusive social media management see 99DollarSocial
Funding:- You have a business idea? Great! Where are going to get the capital to get your food truck business on track? How is your financial status in regards to this?
Don't worry we've got you covered check out what ways you can get that much-needed capital here. 17 Proven Start-up Capital Sources
Financial projections:- Where do you want your business to be 3 or 5 years from now? What will be your expenses, profits, and losses? Most importantly, how will you keep track of this? I know that accounting books aren't all that fun that's why we have software just for that, take a look at QuickBooks
7. Set legal issues straight.
What am talking about here are the licenses,insurances, and permits you might need to get your food truck business online.
As for the business license, am sure it is pretty much a requirement in every city or town. For permits such as parking and food service regulations, they may differ from state to state. You might have to visit your state's website or visit their offices physically to know how the process goes. For further guidance on legal matters see LegalZoom
WHY YOUR FOOD TRUCK BUSINESSES IS LIKELY TO FAIL.
It is important that I tell you why entrepreneurs start out on this venture for 3 years and at the end of the third year, you find them putting price tags on their trucks. In fact, according to restaurant MBA, 60% of food Truck Business fail within 3 years of operation. Here is why:-
Poor business management:- I know you would be like ‘of course, that’s a problem for most businesses But you have no idea just how much this is ailing this industry. Am talking about proper financial planning and operation practices.
Tough regulations:- Legal regulations tend to tie a tight knot on food trucks as compared to their counterparts, the traditional restaurants.
Inefficient trucks:- Most of those who failed in this venture have been reported to have bought second trucks.
Am not saying second-hand trucks are bad but if you want to save up on extra maintenance costs that within two years would be enough to get you a new truck. Then why go choose the hard way?
Failure to do good marketing:- Get out there and book! book! book! Most entrepreneurs think that once they have got their trucks out in the streets, customers will just start flocking, that's not the case. You'll have to get to attend food truck festivals and events and get to where customers are.
HERE IS HOW YOU ESTABLISH A FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS.
I already said this, specialize on a certain food type, don't try to mix up all menus available to customers. Give your customers the best, and they will follow you for it.
Market your business. Competition is real and quite tough, you need to find more ways to reach out to customers even more personally.
Get a fine mechanic. Take a look in your area for the best food truck mechanics, not only will this boost the quality of your product and services but also save you on costs.
Plan regular maintenance not only for your truck but also for YOU! Yes, this is a catering industry, no matter how tiresome this job might be, nobody wants to get served by a cranked up person.
Establish a relationship with your customers. Nobody wants to feel used just because of their money. If barbers and bartenders do it why not you? Why not sell out food to your regular customers with a ‘hello and how is your day going?’
To wrap this up, a food truck business, just like any other business needs proper planning. But don't venture out just because it is the current trend in the economy.
To play the game, you have to know the rules. Join support associations like national Food Truck Association, news sites like Mobile Food NewsandMobile-Cuisine, and don't be afraid to pick up a book that covers on this business The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Food Truck Business. Remember that many entrepreneurs perish because of lack of knowledge! Good luck on your business and let me meet you smiling all the way to your bank.