The Basics of Starting a Food Truck Business

food truck festival with people picking food

It’s a Great Way for Aspiring Entrepreneur Chef’s to Get Started

Thinking about starting a food truck business? Maybe you’re an entrepreneur who’s also a foodie, or you’ve just graduated from culinary school and want to try something trendy and new. Whatever the reason, starting a food truck, like any business, can be exciting, frustrating, enjoyable and maddening, sometimes all at the same time! In this article, The Basics of Starting a Food Truck Business, we’ll take a look at how you can get started in the often lucrative and always interesting world of food trucks, and give you advice and tips for how to get started. Enjoy!

Food Trucks Have Been Around for Decades

Starting a food truck puts you in the company of millions of food-based entrepreneurs that have come before you. From the beginning of the automobile age, industrious men and women have been turning trucks into mobile restaurants, delivering delicious, freshly-made food to the people living around their towns, cities and communities. From french fries to pizza, pork, fowl and fish, and specialty foods from practically every corner of the world, if it can be eaten it’s likely been sold from a food truck.

The demand for quality food trucks today around the United States has not waned and, in most cases, has grown by leaps and bounds. The trucks are better, the menu is bigger and, surprisingly, there is a lot of experimentation in the food truck business. Testing out new, unique food combinations is much easier with a food truck because the overhead is smaller and you can create something new practically every day.

In short, if you’re an entrepreneur chef who’s daring, eager to learn and ready for a challenge unlike many others, starting a food truck business might be your perfect choice.

Choose a Food that’s Underserved in Your Area

One of your first tasks as a food truck owner, beyond getting the financial backing that you’ll need, is to choose what type of food will be on your food truck’s menu. This is where you should do your due diligence and get out in the public, looking at what’s out there. Taking surveys, asking questions and learning as much as you can about the food truck scene in your area of the country is your first and, some would say, most important task.

Once you’ve discovered what people want, and what’s missing in your area, you’ll have the knowledge to choose what kind of food your food truck, and you as the head chef, will be known for.

food truck festival with people in line

Choosing a Name for Your Food Truck Business

As silly as it may sound the name of your food truck can mean the difference between success and failure, at least in some cases. If you choose something slick and easy-to-remember people will be able to (and want to) talk about your food truck, thus spreading word-of-mouth that could help you quite a bit. Something catchy and short is always best. If you pick a good one and match it with a fun, eye-catching Logo you’ll be one step ahead of the crowd.

Using Your Menu Correctly

Today’s consumers don’t want to just be given food, they want an ‘experience’. You, as a newly-minted food truck business owner, are tasked with giving them an experience they remember long after the taste of your food has subsided.

That means using words on the menu that create a picture in the mind’s eye of every customer. That way, they can form a delicious picture in their mind even before the grill gets hot. For example, if you make an amazing hamburger with Angus beef, the sharpest Vermont cheddar cheese and locally grown, organic tomatoes and lettuce, tell customers exactly that on the menu.

Which of these Descriptions sounds better?

  • A- 1/2 Pound Cheeseburger
  • B- 1/2 Pound Angus Beef Cheeseburger topped with Vermont’s sharpest cheddar and featuring locally grown, organic tomatoes and lettuce

Hopefully, you can see how much more enticing option B is over option A. Also, keep in mind that the name you give your menu items can be a sales tool as well.

Which of these Names sounds better?

  • A- 1/2 Pound Cheeseburger
  • B- Momma Linda’s Handcrafted Vermont Cheddar Belly Burger

Naming your menu items adds a bit of flair and panache that will help sell many more of them than just a boring description.

blue food truck with menu

Start Things Right in the Top Right

If you’ve ever watched someone read a menu they almost always look at the top, right-hand side of the menu first, so make sure you put your signature item there to show it off and sell more of it. Adding a white ‘frame’ around it to make it stand out is also a great idea.

If you don’t have a menu, per se, to give out to customers but instead a chalkboard or sign, you can still use trendy, appealing names for all your menu items. It does work, and you will sell more.

Where To Store Your Food Truck Overnight and on Days Off

If you’re just starting out in the food truck business you will likely need a place to store your food truck on off days and at night. For example, you might be living in an apartment, or still at home with your family, and not have the space to park your food truck when you’re done delivering delish food to the neighborhood for the day.

If you have access to a big driveway that’s safe and secure, great, you’re all set. If you don’t, however, the best place to park your food truck would be inside a rented self-storage unit. It’s the easiest, most affordable way to make sure your business-on-wheels is safe, can’t be stolen and is protected from the elements. Your truck will last longer with fewer repairs needed if parked inside too, another great advantage of renting a self-storage unit.

Drive-up self-storage units are also very accessible and convenient. All you need to do is drive there in your car, pull out your food truck, park your car in its place and off you go! At the end of the day, reverse the process and take your car home after a satisfying day of satisfying your customers. Plus, since most self-storage units have 24-hour access there’s never a need to worry about when you start or end your day!

Indeed, as far as expenses go, a self-storage unit is one of the lowest but gives you the benefit of the safest place to park and protect your investment.

opening of blue food truck

In Closing

Starting a food truck business is a great way for young, eager and willing chefs and entrepreneurs to spread their wings, test new things, and sell food that sings with flavor.

We hope you liked this article and that it answered all of your questions. If you have more or would like to leave a comment please do in the space provided and best of luck with your new food truck business!

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