One of the fastest-growing niche businesses in North America is the mobile food truck business. These rolling gourmets are essentially restaurants on wheels. The idea behind the mobile food truck business is simple: instead of trying to get customers to come to the food, why not bring the food right to the customers? It’s a modern and convenient way to make money by meeting one of the most basic of human needs.
“Food trucks” are usually set up in renovated commercial vehicles. Cube vans are the most commonly-used, but you can also find rolling restaurants in refurbished minibuses, full-size school buses, panel vans and RV’s.
Usually the entire interiors from just behind the front seats to the rear are stripped bare. They’re replaced with smaller, lighter versions of the kinds of cooking appliances you’d find in a regular restaurant (ovens, fryers, refrigerators, stoves, etc.) plus sinks with running water and everything else necessary for food preparation.
The benefits of running a mobile food truck business are tremendous. Some of the main advantages of this kind of businesses are:
* Reduced overhead costs: Used vehicles are significantly cheaper to purchase than stand-alone buildings or leased space in a mall or commercial building. Even with ongoing cost of vehicle maintenance, a mobile food truck is less expensive to own and run than a traditional restaurant.
* Reduced staffing costs: A mobile food truck business typically requires fewer employees than a conventional restaurant, another way that you’ll be able to save (and therefore, make) money.
* You aren’t bound to a particular location: Many traditional restaurants fail not because of bad food or service but simply due to poor location. With a restaurant on wheels, if you don’t like your location you can just find a new one!
If the mobile food truck business appeals to you, here are five tips that will help you decide if this niche industry is really for you:
1) Mobile food trucks tend to make more money where lots of people congregate and/or during customary meal times. Are there areas nearby that are conducive to these factors, like popular public parks and beaches? How about high-traffic, downtown locations in major business districts?
2) Are mobile food trucks legal in your area? Not all municipalities allow them. Those that do usually restrict them to specified areas. Make sure you research the area where you are considering doing business to find out if it’s legal and feasible.
3) Make sure you get the proper license(s). You’ll most certainly need a business license. You may also need one or more special types of permits which will allow you to park and do business in certain locations. Be sure you know well in advance of starting up what kinds of licenses/permits you must have.
4) Be food-safe. Rolling eateries are subject to the same food-safety and preparation regulations as conventional restaurants. So make sure that you get the proper training, certificates and food-safety inspections as per the law in your city, state or region.
5) Consider multiple income streams and secondary uses for your vehicle. Your business is going to be limited to certain areas and certain times of the day, so think about how you can generate business elsewhere, outside of those parameters.
Some mobile food truck business owners cater events during their off-hours. Others partner with non-profits and do fundraisers. There may be lots of ways that you can make money besides serving your regular lunch and dinner crowds.