Food trucks are the latest trend in the food service industry. Are you debating whether your restaurant should start a food truck? Or maybe you don’t have a restaurant at all and want to start a food truck by itself?
Well, there are both advantages and disadvantages to owning a food truck so it is up to you to determine the correct path for you. Food truck laws vary from city to city, and there is huge debate on what is actually legal, making it a very gray area. Although laws and regulations are constantly changing for the mobile part of the industry, food truck laws are moving more and more towards actual restaurant regulations. For example, health codes. Many cities are now requiring health inspections of all food carts. Like that of a restaurant, you must obtain higher then a grade C to remain in business.
Unlike a restaurant, there is very little overhead involved in opening a food truck. While opening costs can range all across the board and can very based on a large variety of factors, an average free standing casual dining restaurant can cost around $1 – $1.5 million to open. That’s a much larger chunk of change then the average $50,000 it can cost to open a mobile food truck. You also don’t have to invest in as much commercial equipment for a food truck. Make sure you check out Restaurant Source though if you are looking to purchase any restaurant/catering/food truck supplies and equipment.
Of course, your truck design is also important since that is what the customer will see first. Customers may not care as much about the look of a freestanding restaurant, but they will care about the appeal of your food truck since food trucks may still have a less sanitary stigma for some people.
You must take into account location for your mobile business. Some cities have events specifically centered around food trucks, sometimes food trucks are present at farmer’s markets, and sometimes they are just parked on the street late at night when the bars are just letting out. Whatever location or concept you choose though, it is extremely important that you obtain the correct permits.
If you are looking to expand your restaurant and enter the food truck industry, you probably already have a concept or theme in tact, but if you are starting from scratch, it is important to determine what type of cusine/items you want to concentrate on. Since food trucks are small, they often have a much more limited menu. You will also have to make sure that you obtain the correct permits for your truck. Failure to obtain the correct permits could make you an illegal business which can result in a large fine or worse.