Before You Begin: Steps You Can Take Toward Making Your Food Truck Dream a Reality

close up of an open sign hanging in a window with lights reflected in the background

Starting a food truck business can be intimidating, but when it’s your dream, you shouldn’t let the scary stuff stop you. Being afraid of the unknown can make you stall out before you even begin, so it’s important to start by taking manageable steps toward your goals.

In this post, we’re going to share a few ideas of easy things you can do to get going on your food truck business.

Brainstorm Ideas

Everyone has different ways of doing this. For you, maybe it consists of writing down all your scattered dreams in a notebook. Maybe it means sitting down with a friend or partner for coffee and bouncing thoughts off each other. Sometimes just talking about a dream out loud or getting it down on paper will make it feel more real.

Here are some things to think about at this stage:

  • Your menu. Do you know what kind of food do you want to serve at your food truck? What are some of your personal favorites? What kinds of things do you enjoy cooking? Are there recipes that friends or family have complimented you on?
  • Your brand. Most successful businesses have a recognizable style, whether it’s thematic or simply aesthetic. You could have a themed food truck based on the type of cuisine you will be serving, a place you love, or even an era in time that speaks to you. Or your look could be aesthetic only, defined by a certain color palette or design style. Whatever you choose, having a consistent brand will help customers pick your food truck out of the crowd.
  • Your quirks. Is there something unique you could add to your food truck to make it especially memorable? Is there anything you could do to make the customer experience stand out?

There are no wrong answers during the brainstorming stage, so you have nothing to be afraid of in writing your ideas down. Who knows? Something that might have sounded crazy in your head might just turn out to be your best idea yet.

Do Some Research

Simply learning more about the food truck industry will help you get a better hold on how you might go about starting your own truck. Find out what other food trucks are in your area and eat at them so you can see how they do what they do. Read blogs and listen to podcasts not only about food, but about the business side of the restaurant world.

Another thing you can do is talk to local small business owners and ask how they got their start. Find out how they got the funding to start their venture. Ask what mistakes they made along the way and what advice they would give to other small business owners who are just starting out.

Surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded (food or business wise) will help fuel your inspiration.

Find Out About Laws & Resources

Do you have any idea what kind of licensing and permits are needed to open a food business in your city? Contact your local health department to find out what specific food-related permits you will need to think about obtaining.

Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website and find out about all the legal things you need to get your business off the ground. You’ll eventually need to register your business name, get a business permit, open a business bank account, and get insurance to protect your food truck business.

Does your city, county or state have any resources for helping small businesses? Find out about any small business development centers available to you and take advantage of them. Schedule a meeting with an advisor who will be able to help you navigate all the mysteries of your local business world.

Set Aside Time for Planning

If you are so busy running around in your day-to-day life that you can barely think, you will never get your food truck dream off the ground.

Set aside a few hours every week when you will spend some concentrated time planning for your food truck. Whether that means sitting at a local coffee shop writing down ideas or hitting the pavement and walking around your town to find potential locations for your truck, setting aside time will help you make your business goals a priority.

If you really want to make your food truck a reality, this time should be sacred. Don’t let other plans push it out of the way. If something really important does come up, don’t just skip your planning time for the week altogether. Reschedule it for later in the day or for another day that week.

Get a Quote

How will you ever get your food truck business off the ground if you don’t have a specific goal that you are working towards?

Knowing how much your future food truck could potentially cost will give you a number to start saving for. Or it might give you the motivation to apply for a small business loan and see what the possibilities are.

Requesting a quote will help you hammer out details you may not have thought about before, because the food truck expert helping you will know all the ins and outs of different trucks and equipment.

Getting a quote will also help make your nebulous ideas more concrete. There’s no harm in just getting an idea of the cost! It doesn’t attach any strings, but it will nudge you that much closer to making your food truck dream a reality.

Ready? Go!

So what are you waiting for? Start moving on some of these ideas this week. You might be surprised at how much taking some small steps will help you put your food truck dream within reach.