Around the 1960s, ice cream and cooked foods were being dished out from mobile trucks in cities and towns across the country. Since then, food trucks have become front and center in street food and are part of a more significant food revolution. If you wish to take your place in the history of the mobile kitchen industry, there has never been a better time.
Due to the rise in the popularity of mobile kitchens, there are currently more than 32,000 food trucks operating in the U.S. today. If you’re interested in starting a food truck business, there is plenty of room in this very trendy industry. Similar to any other establishment in the restaurant industry, however, there are some challenges. Operating a food truck business can be an arduous process, and it might be a struggle to find success at first. Just like all businesses, there will be risks with opening up your own food truck. There are plenty of opportunities for success, though. Let’s take a look at some steps for operating your mobile kitchen.
Find a niche.
One of the reasons why mobile kitchens are so popular is that they provide unique foods and dining options to customers and foodies. Your first move towards becoming a successful food truck vendor is to find your niche. While you will probably be comfortable with a specific type of cuisine and technique, you’ll want to find a lane within that comfort zone where you can offer a unique product.
Unlike brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trucks don’t have ambiance and appeal to rely on to keep customers coming back. They can’t offer the thrill of watching major games like at a sports bar or create intimate candlelit meals. A food truck owner must appeal to customers with the quality and innovativeness of their food. Once you’ve found a niche where your food truck can thrive, you’ll need a solid menu. Like any other restaurant owner, the success of your establishment will be dependent on the strength of your menu.
Create online order options.
It will be vitally important to create a digital and social media presence for your food truck. You’ll want to have accounts on social media platforms and create your own website. These efforts will help to generate some exposure and excitement for your mobile restaurant business and provide diners with information about your menu and promotions. Additionally, as part of building your online presence, you should consider offering an online food ordering system. While you may be taking phone orders, partnering with a platform for online food ordering and delivery will help you reach even more hungry customers. Offering online ordering and food delivery will appeal to busy business customers and those that can get by your truck.
Pick a spot.
One of the biggest things that you’ll need to figure out is where to park your truck. There are usually trucks that roam and mobile kitchens that operate in a set location. If you’re interested in being a roaming food truck vendor, try to set a consistent schedule so that customers will know where to find you. If you plan on parking your truck in the same spot, you’ll need to carve out a suitable place early on. Some cities even have dedicated parking lots or areas for permanent food trucks with seating and amenities. Business districts are great places for the lunch hour rush. Places like breweries and winery tasting rooms are great locations, since they attract lots of hungry customers and usually don’t offer food.
Starting a food truck business will be comparable to opening a small restaurant. You’ll encounter the need for a restaurant business plan, appropriate licenses and permits, and be subject to food standard regulations. In addition, it’ll be important to find the right niche for your menu items, partner with an online food mobile app, and pick a prime spot for your truck. With some hard work and research, you can operate your own successful food truck.