Food is one of life’s simplest, yet incredibly satisfying delicacies. There are so many types of cuisine for everyone to enjoy and your goal is to help them experience a small part of various cultures. So, what better idea is there than to start your own food truck business? A food truck is a small restaurant on wheels. You can serve up delicious entrees, appetizers, and drinks pretty much anywhere you want. However, there’s plenty involved with starting a business, especially when it comes to the restaurant industry. Pay attention to the many nuances involved, and give yourself a leg up on the competition. In this post, we’ll be covering everything a passionate foodie needs to open a food truck business.
Start by Creating a Business Plan
As with any kind of company, you need to have everything planned out. Opening a business is not only complicated, but also time-consuming. With the right plan set in motion, however, you can minimize business risks and the process won’t be as bumpy than it is without. First-time business owners may not know what’s incorporated in a business plan. Below is a detailed list of what every business plan should have:
- An executive summary with a short, but comprehensive description of your entire business.
- How much money you’re going to be investing into your company
- A comprehensive analysis of your target market and your competition
- The name and logo your business will have
- Your mission statement
- The marketing strategy you have in mind
Everything we’ve listed is important, but if we had to pick the most critical factor, it’s the finances.
Secure the Necessary Funding
Money is what will ultimately help you accomplish your goals, and as you’re aware, opening your own business is quite the investment. Compared to a traditional restaurant, starting a food truck business is considered cheaper. But you still have many different expenses to budget for. There are two loans you need to apply for: business loans and a personal loan. The latter can be used for anything, but given the cost of this entire excursion, it’s mainly to help you free up money for your company and have a better grasp on your personal finances. It very well could be that both will be needed. Likewise, if you have savings, that could be utilized as well. Lenders often like to see a business owner have ‘skin in the game’.
The business loans can help you secure the money you need to get your company started. One expense you’ll need to pay for is a truck. This is, by far, the most expensive investment you’ll make as a food truck business, as it can cost up to $150,000. These trucks are typically made from scratch as they must be equipped with the proper technology and equipment. Furthermore, food trucks often are branded and unique. Perhaps you want a custom wrap job, or some outer design that signifies your original and unique ‘food on wheels’…. Think ‘Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile’.
Choose a Suitable Location
One of the oldest sayings in real estate goes like this: “location, location, location.” This simple phrase holds so much merit and impacts so much. The location you choose to run your food truck in can make the difference between making a profit and not making anything at all. Although you can go virtually anywhere with your food truck, there are specific areas you should start off with. Your goal is to gain recognition among the public, which is why you need to be in an area that’s very populous. Here’s a quick list of the most populous areas:
- Outside of bars and nightclubs
- Downtown areas
- Shopping plazas
- Business districts
- Large neighborhoods
- Farmer’s markets
- Gas stations
- College campuses
These areas typically have the most people wandering around, which can greatly increase your chance of making a sale or two. Just make sure you pull all proper permits, and get approval for wherever you set up shop. The last thing you want, is expensive tickets, or your business license getting yanked.
Research Your Competition
We briefly mentioned how you need to analyze your competition, but it’s more important than you might realize. Although you may have a fantastic business idea, you’re not the only one in the food truck industry. Business is, unfortunately, a complex game and it’s one you must give 100 percent if you want to win. Your competition will be doing their own research, so they can get an idea of what you’re up to. That’s why you must do the same and always stay ahead of them no matter what. You’d be surprised how many established business owners put their own creative spin on their competitor’s marketing strategy. After all, imitation is two-thirds the cost of innovation.