food truck business

Crucial Things to know while starting a food truck business

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Venturing into business is quite an idea but knowing which type of business will be profitable to you is another. Imagine going into the food industry and trying to make the best use of it. The food truck business as a section of that industry has proven to be one of the most successful areas to venture into.

Hi everyone my name is Timileyin and in this post i will be talking about the basic things to be aware of before starting a food truck business.

Let me explain what a food truck means, a food truck is simply a large vehicle that has food in it for sale.

Different kinds of foods can be sold there but when setting up one, you need to be very much aware of the laws and policies guiding that kind of business or activity in that area.

It is important to note that the food truck business isn’t as it’s used to be in the past where you can only get little set of varieties to pick from. Nowadays,  you can get pretty much anything you want from cup cakes to pizza of many kinds.

You can make your food truck business more prominent by engaging it on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, snap-chat and many more. Via this platform potential customers can know the foods you have available at every period and their prices.

Given the fact that food truck business often move from location to location, they tend to have more customers and publicity. Leveraging on your social media platforms, your potential customers can know when you are in their neighborhood.

Before you start thinking of starting a food truck business, below are some of the things you need to be aware of.

1. Food trucks are always mobile

Just like i mentioned earlier on in this post, i said food trucks are all about location. Finding the right locations to explore can go a long way when determining the success of your business.  While moving your truck from place to place, you need to have a sort of licence or permit to operate and this differs from place to place.

Being aware of this now, it is important for you to always make your research about the next place you are going to or the place you are presently in to fully maximize every opportunity and information you have at your disposal.

2. Food trucks aren’t just about the basics

You may be wondering what i meant by “basics”. The basics in this context happens to be sandwiches and burgers, lol.

While food trucks try to maintain the basics, it’s also important to take a step further to explore other variety. In this present day and age, most food trucks alongside the normal sandwich and burger, they make other dishes like sushi, cupcakes and many more.

In a nut shell, they make their customers feel at home.

3. They dominate social media platforms

One major way to get customers is through the social media platforms. There are communities on social media to explore like the food community , you can get potential customers and you can also see different dishes to add to your menu.

Via the social media platforms, you can also build a brand and be known across board. This helps your business scale very fast and you can also get to know other food truck vendors in which you can form a community together with.

While leveraging this platform, you can take pictures of your dishes and post them on your pages tagging their prices on them.

 

How to start a Food truck business

 

As you probably know, it’s not as easy to start a food truck business as buying a truck and cooking up some food.

Even before you get into the specifics of the actual project, there is a lot of planning and preparation needed for any new entrepreneurial venture, and especially food businesses.

That being said, before we break down our steps on how to specifically start a food truck business, let ‘s address briefly some of the behavior that you’ll want to take first — when you start a food truck, or any other business:

1. Write a business plan

While you may want to get your food truck up and running as quickly as possible, a well-thought-out business strategy will definitely benefit you in the long term.

By thinking ahead of time about your long-term plan, you’ll have a guide to follow as you continue through your food truck startup process.

2. Choose your business legal structure

You’ll need to know how your company should be legally organized before you start talking about cars, cooking and where to park.

Will you be working as a corporation, a sole proprietorship? A lawyer or online legal service can be helpful in helping you make the decision.

3. Register your business

After you’ve decided your legal framework, you’ll want to register your business name as well as federal, state , and local tax registration, if necessary.

You would more than certainly need to receive from the IRS an EIN, or an employee identification number.

4. Get a business bank account

You’ll want to open a business bank account after you’ve registered for your taxes as the first crucial step in separating your business and personal finances.

This account will provide you with the basis for managing and organizing your funds as you go through the process of starting a food truck.

You ‘re going to be in good shape at this stage, to really get your company off the ground.

So let’s break down the way we start a food truck:

Plan 1- Estimate your cost and find a truck

First of all, you have to think about the costs.

How much does it cost to start a food truck? Unfortunately , it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of start-up costs as there are so many possibilities to get started in what you will need.

Next, you’ll need to find the best truck for your company and you’ll possibly need to have it custom-made to suit your needs, which can range between $20,000 and $40,000 anywhere.

Even, you’ll want to weigh costs like:

  • Food and Ingredients
  • Salary and workplace benefits
  • Insurance scheme
  • Software for truck service
  • Content and Promotion, and more

And, as you might expect, your actual truck would be the largest and most important cost you’ll have to pay for.

That being said, you will want to have a few layout options before settling on a truck, bearing in mind, of course, what you will need specifically for your food truck business.

You might want to visit different food truck vendors or other business owners to get a sense of what different formats look like, and what one would work best for you.

It is also important to bear in mind that things appear to break a lot more on a truck, so you’ll want to make sure you take that into account in your preparation process and have enough resources on hand in case the unfortunate happen.

Plan 2- Get vetted by the board of health

First, to find out how to get a food truck running, you’ll have to go through the rules and regulations you’ll have to abide by. There will certainly be more considerations to take in that regard as a food-based company.

Therefore, you’ll probably want to decide first what rules you need to obey from the health board.

It’s also not shocking to hear that the same goes for food trucks, just as health department inspectors test food at restaurants.

Most inspections are carried out to check, at least, the following:

  • Evidence of vehicle registration, description and license
  • Proof of District-issued Food Manager Identification Card
  • Food is prepared and held at correct temperature
  • Food records acquired
  • The safety and fire codes are complied with

Plan 3- Get the necessary licenses and permits required

The next step involved in how to operate a food truck is to get the requisite permits and business licenses once you have sorted out your health needs.

Again, since starting a food truck business involves handling food and serving it to customers, there is likely to be a range of laws and criteria for permission to go through.

Furthermore, the different licenses and permits that you need will primarily depend on your state and area.

Indeed, some cities, including New York City, have restrictions on the number of truck licenses issued at one time.

Therefore, you’ll want to visit the website of your city and find out exactly what you need to do in order to get the correct paperwork.

However, that being said, you’ll want to bear in mind that this will may take time and will possibly require fees and evidence of a license from a health department, tax approval, and coverage of liability.

Plan 4- Have an idea on how your food will be prepared

When you’ve worked out the specifics behind the scenes — permits, licenses, laws, costs — and, of course, settled on your actual vehicle, it’s time to consider your product.

After all, a key part of learning how to start a food truck company is determining what kind of food you ‘re going to produce and sell, how that process is going to work, what you’re going to need and how your menu looks.

When you think about these things and begin making choices, you’ll want to note that a food truck has minimal space, unlike starting a restaurant with a brick-and – mortar location — so it can be hard to cook food inside.

And you’ll want to consider whether it’s better for your company to prepare food in advance before going out for the day’s work or whether you can feasibly cook it on site.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure that the food on your menu can be repeated in large quantities when perfecting your recipes, taste consistently good, be easy to serve, eat easily and travel well.

Plan 5- Hire employees to help you with the orders

Bearing in mind a food schedule, the next thing you need to do when you start a food truck is think about recruiting workers.

Clearly, in a small setting like a food truck, you won’t be able to get too many workers, but you’ll want to consider recruiting help depending on the food, procedure and the demand you may face.

You may be able to work with friends , family or a partner when you first launch, but if your food truck is rising rapidly, some part-time or full-time workers are likely to be of assistance.

Plus, when it comes to employees of food trucks, you’ll need to go beyond the usual recruiting and onboarding cycle of a team member.

Plan 6- Get a parking space

The mobile-element is one of the advantages (and challenges too) of starting a food truck company.

Your company is mobile, meaning you have the freedom to go (to some extent) to where your customers are, as opposed to a brick-and – mortar restaurant that’s confined to one location.

To be effective as a mobile company, however, you will also need to find out where the best places to be to draw customers, and maybe just as importantly where you can and can not park your truck, too.

As with licenses and permits, the parking requirements for your food truck will be unique to your area, so you’ll want to check your local regulations.

Plan 7- Start marketing your food truck business

The next crucial aspect of learning how to operate a food truck company is marketing and advertisement, with the legislation and organizational tasks taken care of.

First, you will need to plan and implement a few marketing campaigns to educate the local community about the presence of your food truck.

You may be planning a “grand opening,” or seeing if you can attend a local event to draw attention and customers.

You will also want to consider starting a website and the presence of social media, as well as advertising around town.

In addition, as a mobile company, whose location can change on a daily basis, it is vital to keep your customers aware of where you are going to be.

Whether that means having a fixed schedule on a weekly basis or simply keeping your customers up-to – date with your website or social media pages, that is something you will need to keep in mind.

For example, the Kayes typically go to the same spot every Monday and Tuesday, using Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram to build a loyal client base.

Plan 8- Employ the use of a Point of sale (POS) system

Although you may very well be able to use a paper-based order system and a cash drawer to run your food truck, you might consider investing in a point-of – sale system to automate the process.

You’ll be able to handle orders with your food truck POS system, accept payments (including credit cards), monitor inventory, build loyalty programs and more.

There are currently a number of POS systems on the market, specifically built for food trucks.

You will be able to handle everything in one place by using one of these programs, speed up and simplify the processes and therefore better serve the customers.

This is especially important for food trucks, which sometimes encounter a flood of customers a few short hours a day — meaning customers will end up standing in long lines.

In this scenario, you can consider using a pre-order program to help your food truck cope with this sort of business rush.

Plan 9- Get used to the day to day activities of the business

After all these measures completed, you’ve learned how to get a food truck started — and now that you’ve got things up and running, you ‘re going to want to start perfecting your regular schedule.

How exactly does that mean?

Well, according to Kaye, it’s much more difficult to run a food truck business than people think because most people see food trucks only operating during lunch hours.

So you’ll want to think about how your everyday looks — how you’re going to work with your employees, where you’re going to be from day to day, which days will require more time or investment than others.

By planning ahead of time, even if you are only at the beginning of each week, you will be able to maximize your time and hopefully also your business.

You may also want to think along these lines if your plan is simply to park around town or if you are going to consider engaging in local activities, or even start catering.

Read, practice and share

Regards.

Komolafe Timileyin is a passionate entrepreneur that loves to solve entrepreneurial issues. He is also a blogger and an upcoming Engineer.

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