Food Trucks: 4 Tips to Launch a Successful Mobile Food Business

by Edgar R. Olivo

Mobile food vendors bring a lot of flavors to corporate events, celebrations and public hang-out areas. Food trucks are an essential service to any community and, since 2008, boomed onto the food and beverage scene across the country with unique creations. It’s hard to escape videos on social media of people enjoying food creations from diverse chefs and food entrepreneurs.

According to the National Food Truck Association, there are more than 23,000 food trucks in the United States with more than 30,000 employees who generate more than $2 billion in revenue annually. This segment was projected to grow an average of 5.4%, outpacing the general restaurant industry. Food truck enthusiasts enjoy the fast serving times, convenience, high-quality, food safety and low price of the food.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted thousands of small businesses, and food trucks have managed to come back in demand as more vaccinated people attend outdoor spaces.

Starting a food truck business has its benefits and can be a steady source of income for anyone interested in mobilizing their culinary skills. Here are five fundamental tips to grow a successful food truck business.

  1. Develop your concept. The concept you decide for your food truck will be a part of your brand and will play a big role in your success. Make sure to research trends and align your concept with your experience. The world is your oyster, pun intended. Then, you can work on designing how your food truck will look and what kind of branding style you want to showcase.
  2. Figure out your startup costs. Like any business, this is an investment, and you need to think about how much things are going to cost. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opening a food truck is more affordable than starting a restaurant and can cost about $55,000 to open one in the U.S. Your costs should include permits, supplies, payroll, insurance and advertising.
  3. Get your food truck permits. The licenses and permits you need to operate your food truck will vary by state and city. But generally, you will need a business license and food service permit. Your truck will need to be inspected by the health department, and they will provide you with instructions on how to meet their guidelines. For a complete list of resources by city in Arizona, visit the Phoenix Street Food Coalition for more information. You will also need to explore parking permits and regulations as well as securing a commercial kitchen, if necessary.
  4. Have a business plan and book events. Developing a strategy before starting is important because it helps you create goals to succeed. Your plan should include a description of your food truck business, market research, your team, product line, marketing plan and financial projections. Create a solid booking strategy by networking with other food vendors as well as tourism associations to learn about events and keep your calendar busy.

A food truck business has many benefits, such as controlling your own schedule and meeting new customers with every new event or town. This industry is expected to grow alongside social media influencers’ appetites for new adventures.

EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor, and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a nonprofit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.

Para la versión en español de este artículo, haga clic aquí.

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