Before recent times, the idea of “food trucks” brought to mind images of questionably cheap, greasy food on dirty street corners in big cities. But times have changed, and along with them the image of what a food truck can be and what kind of food it can offer patrons. In today’s ever-growing mobile food world, everyone is getting a piece of the food-truck pie–from famous chefs, restaurant owners, to new-age foodies. What were once called “roach coaches” have slowly but surely turned into some of the most popular and sought-after eateries in major cities like New York, Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California.
If you’re thinking about starting your own small business but you don’t want to take the path most trodden (boutiques, coffee shops, and specialty stores) then a food truck may be just the untraditional option you’re looking for. But before jumping the gun and buying a truck, it is a good idea to look over the entire process of creating a successful food truck business and making sure it lines up with your available time, funding, and abilities. Food trucks and carts can be some of the most fun and rewarding types of businesses to run, but they come with a large amount of risk. Some of the more successful owners and operators work 60+ hour work weeks. If you have another job or lots of children to take care of, you may not have the time to work and keep up with your everyday life. If you do have the time and resources, the job and the rewards can be amazing. If all of this sounds good to you and you’re ready to learn more about the process, then read this list of steps to becoming a successful food truck owner and operator.
- Get Licensed & Insured: Cities are the best place for food trucks, and cities have lots of rules about when and where businesses can operate–especially food-related businesses. You must get truck parking permits, department certificates, and any other paperwork required of you. Prepare yourself for more obstacles if you’re trying to set up in a very busy area of a large metropolitan city. Since your business will be on wheels you will need a good insurance policy as well. Shop around for the best commercial vehicle insurance options on sites like Progressive.
- Purchase a Truck: A brand-new food truck can cost up to $100,000, so unless you have major money to throw at this dream, you may need to find an older model or a used truck that you can renovate and turn into the food truck you’ve always wanted. The trouble with older model trucks is that they are often in rough shape. You may need to replace the tires (check online retailers like Tire Buyer for all the best brands of truck tires) or get major repairs done on the engine before your truck is road-ready.
- Find Your Niche & Your Spot: These days you can’t just serve cold sandwiches and soggy tacos and be successful. Trucks now offer a stunningly wide variety of cuisines, including fusion menus and all types of modern foods. The right menu in combination with the perfect parking spot can help you climb the ranks of popular eat spots in your area. Choose a location where there is lots of foot traffic, decent visibility, and enough space for your patrons to order and enjoy your food.
Once you’ve taken all of these steps, you’re ready to become your town’s best new food truck owner and operator! If all of these goals seem like something you truly think you can achieve, don’t wait another day! Get going on your dreams of owning a food truck today.