So you’re thinking about opening a food truck. Maybe it’s always been a dream of yours, or perhaps it’s in response to the ‘no indoor dining’ ordinances in your community. Whatever your reason may be, running a food truck can be a rewarding and fulfilling way to share your food with a diverse group of customers.
Before you launch your food truck business, however, there are some important points to consider. Here are just a few.
Go to your customers
One of the most significant advantages of having your own food truck is the ability to drive to your customers instead of having them come to you. Stopping near a park or an area where people gather can help you introduce your food to a new audience and make it easier for your regulars to access your food. Parking at a local park has worked well for food trucks that set up in Remington Park in Colorado Springs, CO.
Get creative with your menu
Some meals on your regular dining menu may not be easy to create on a food truck, but this gives you a fun opportunity to change up your menu and add some new dishes to your repertoire. Creative additions to your menu can help attract new business and keep your regulars coming back to see what’s new.
Get your name out there
Use the ability to travel to different neighborhoods to your advantage. When moving around, attract attention in the community so that when the time comes to reopen your bricks and mortar location, you’ll have name recognition within the community.
Keep operating during dining restrictions
Does your community allow indoor dining? If not, running a food truck can be a great alternative to just offering takeout or shutting down altogether. One restaurant, The New Scenic Cafe in Minnesota, recently found success adapting to a food truck model for this very reason.
Check local zoning ordinances
Make sure if you are going to get a food truck, you are allowed to operate one in your community. Next, learn where and when you are allowed to operate your truck. This may require a special permit, so be sure to do your research beforehand. Recently, in South Padre Island, Texas, a judge struck down a local ordinance limiting the number of food trucks allowed on the island. If your community has this type of ordinance, it may be worth it to try and lobby your local government to overturn this rule.
Understand truck maintenance and responsibility
Just like any vehicle, your food truck will require maintenance like oil changes, new tires, new wiper blades, etc. It also requires a lot more gas than a regular vehicle. Make sure you are prepared for these expenses to keep your truck running smoothly.
Your truck will also need a driver. It may be difficult to drive a large truck, so make sure you and your staff are comfortable with driving a vehicle of that size.
Revise your menu as needed
Due to the type of equipment and the size of your food truck kitchen, it may be too difficult to cook some menu items, so you may need to curate your menu to a truck and takeout-friendly business model. Serving convenient foods like hot or cold sandwiches and burgers are easy, diner-friendly meals, but they may not be your most popular menu items at your bricks and mortar location. The good news is that if done correctly, you could earn some new fans and may even find some new menu items to add on once your bricks and mortar location reopens.
Watch the weather forecast
Unfortunately, we can’t control the weather, and food truck owners may need to prepare for inclement weather hurting their sales. Thankfully, designers like Jungsoo Lee are dreaming up food trucks that will account for weather, keeping customers who want to dine alfresco warm and dry.
Food trucks are a popular trend in dining, especially now that indoor dining is restricted in many areas of the country. Owning a food truck can be a rewarding experience if you consider all the factors involved in making it a success.