Essentials For Starting A Food Truck: What You Need to Know

photo of a blue vintage food truck parked in front of urban building on a city street

Everyone’s journey to the food truck industry is different, but there are certain things that every food truck owner needs to incorporate. Whether you’re coming to the industry as an entrepreneur, a chef or a restaurant owner, don’t forget these essentials along the way!

7. Research the Industry

You might know a lot about business, the food industry, or running a kitchen, but before starting a food truck you still have to research the food truck industry itself. You’ll be lucky to see success if you jump right in by purchasing a food truck without doing any research to lay the groundwork for a successful mobile restaurant venture.

You need to take some time to scope out your competition, learn best practices and find out how to be successful in this industry. Learning everything on the job is an option . . . but it’s not the best one. The more you learn ahead of time, the better off you will be.

6. Come Up With A Concept & Name

Your food truck concept will define your product and your name is what people will associate with your food. Getting these two things down will help you stand out and have a better chance at success.

Like all things in the business world, coming up with a winning concept and name is not easy. You might go the classic route with a nostalgic name and serve family recipes, or you might branch out and come up with a concept that is unique in your area—the choice is yours.

Take some time to really brainstorm these ideas. What can you see yourself cooking every day, and what can you see people buying? Is there a niche in your area that hasn’t been filled yet? Don’t worry about nailing down your entire menu right away. One cool thing about the food truck industry is you can try out new menu items more easily, as people expect food truck menus to be unique and interesting. Even fusion food combining different cuisines is welcomed.

5. Plot Out Your Business Plan

Every business owner—including food truck owners just starting out—needs a business plan.

This plan will also everything out so you aren’t going at this venture with your eyes closed. Having a good business plan can even lead to you getting funds for your business, as you use it to secure funds from financial institutions or to convince financial backers that your plan is profitable.

While many chefs want to jump right in, a good business plan will help you decide what’s possible, and it will also be used as an essential guide along your way.

4. Licenses, Permits, Etc.

Having the proper food truck licensing and permits is essential. Without these ingredients, you will not be able to run your business—they are non-negotiable. Be sure and find out the different requirements in your area, as they can change based on where you’re planning on operating your truck. Do your research!

3. Locations

During the journey of setting up your food truck business, you’re going to have to start looking for locations for your truck. You can always enter food truck events and offer a catering service to spice things up and add another stream of income.

Just remember, while your location is very important, you can find multiple locations to set up shop, since your business is mobile. No matter where you decide to set up shop, it’s ideal to find places that are high in foot traffic. Just make sure that you have the proper permitting and follow all local laws when choosing where you will park.

2. Online Marketing

Many food truck owners want to focus on their food and day-to-day business at their food trucks and that’s it.

However, marketing needs to make an appearance if you plan on being the most successful food truck owner you can possibly be. A couple essential things you need on the online marketing front are a quality website and engagement on social media. These avenues will help keep your customers informed about important details, like hours and locations, while promoting the more exciting parts, like your menu and weekly or daily specials.

While your food truck is being built, you should be starting to get these types of things in order and making sure they are ready before you start serving food at your mobile kitchen. Build some hype before you hit the streets with your new business.

1. Build Your Food Truck

Along with all these things, you, of course, need a food truck. This is the foundation of your business. Be sure to use an eye-catching design that prominently displays your logo—your truck will act as a mobile billboard promoting your business wherever you drive it. Make sure you think through how you want your kitchen organized to minimize disasters and to ensure you have the ideal setup for running your food business.

Now Get Going!

There are many different things a restaurant owner will need to start up a food truck business, but the seven ingredients above are essential. Now that you have a place to get started, why not take your first step today? Fill out a quote request and one of our experts will help you build the truck of your dreams.

Want an idea of what your food truck could look like? We encourage you to check out our recent builds.