The production of food industrial vehicles is booming.
This industry is poised to grow to $2.17 billion in the United States by 2017 – an almost four-fold increase from $650 million in 2012.
For many entrepreneurs, a food truck business is a great way to make money while doing something they love – creating fresh flavors and bringing them to a hungry audience.
In order to start a modern industrial vehicle manufacturing food, you’ll need a couple of things that truck itself – a website to inform visitors about your location and menu of the day, and a convenient way to collect payments.
In this post, we will show you everything you need to start a food truck business.
How to Start Your Food Truck Business with
As an entrepreneur, starting a truck food business is a really interesting idea. But you can’t just buy a truck, find a parking space and start spending the delicious fare. There are a number of legal issues you have to take care of – licenses, permits, insurance, etc.. – before you can hit the road.
We have broken this guide into four sections:
- Decide on a concept for your food truck
- Obtaining permits, licenses and regulatory meeting requirements
- Purchasing and equipping the truck with food, hiring employees, etc., will be carried out in accordance with the rules of the country.
- Operation and promotion of your food truck
Let’s take a look at each of these in detail.
Deciding on a Truck Concept Food
Food trucks are very different from restaurants to all intents and purposes. You are limited by space, equipment and customer expectations. Most food entrepreneurs find that this business is all about a balance between what you can provide vs. what you want to provide.
There are three things that you need to consider before you start:
- Space: Space constraints means that you cannot fit all the equipment you want inside the truck. It also means that you can serve a limited number of customers every day.
- Time: Most cities allow trucks to operate only 2-4 hours in a day, usually around lunchtime. If the food you want to serve takes too long to cook, you’ll have trouble making a profit.
- The demands of the customers: Since food trucks usually serve lunch, customers prefer dishes that are relatively light and affordable. Since there is no dining room or for the proper cutlery, they also prefer foods that are easier to eat.
The production of industrial food vehicles attracts a lot of adventurous people – both as chefs/business owners and customers. As such, there is a tendency to offer more adventurous food outlets. Think fusion food, ethnic cuisine, and fresh takes on old classics.
Start by identifying a clear, wealthy niche. Then evaluate your cooking skills and passions. What kind of kitchens gets you excited? What foods do you like to cook (and serve)? Can you find a way to make these different foods and easier to eat?
Do a survey of popular food trucks in your city. Evaluate what they are selling the dishes, what price they are selling for, and what kind of equipment they are using.
Doing this job will make a long way to make your food truck a success.
Obtain permits and licenses
Most cities treat food trucks like traditional restaurants. This means that they have to meet various regulatory requirements, comply with fire safety and health standards, and have all the necessary permits and licenses.
For many food truck owners, this is the hardest, and the most time consuming part of the business.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to start your food truck:
Understand Local Requirements
The first step in starting a truck of food is to understand (and meet) local city requirements.
While most cities have guidelines for restaurants made of brick and well-defined mortar, food trucks usually operate in a gray area. Smaller cities sometimes don’t even have any fixed guidelines for their operation.
Start searching for your city’s local needs. Use a query like this:
For example, New York City has a well-designed guide for mobile food vendors (what New York calls food trucks).
You may also need to meet some state requirements. Your city’s website should tell you what these requirements are and how to deal with them.
Finally, search and see if your city has a local association of food truck owners. Most large cities have at least one such association. Here is one in New York, for example.
These local associations can be a huge source of help in understanding and meeting local needs. These requirements can be very detailed for some cities; not meeting them can compromise your license/ permit.
For example, L.A. city rules clearly state that food trucks must:
- Always face the sidewalk
- Having a clearly marked trash can next to the truck can
- Have the door at least 7 feet above the pavement
- Have a bathroom letter of an acceptable bathroom nearby
Your local food truck association can help you meet these often complex needs.
Embedding your business
Most cities require some form of business proof before they give you a permit. This proof can be in the form of:
- A trade certificate (for a truck of food owned by an individual)
- A partnership certificate (for a partnership involving two or more people)
- Proof of incorporation (such as a LLC or company)
Although you can start without incorporating (I.e. running the business as a sole proprietorship), we strongly recommend starting a LLC. It limits the liability and makes accounting, taxation, etc.. Easier. In a joint venture like food trucks, this is a must.
Check out this article to learn about the difference between an LLC and a company and how to start a, and understand the difference from the tax point of view.
You may also need to submit a “Doing Business As” (DBA)form in some states. This form identifies what your food truck name works like, and whether it is different from your legal entity (individual or company).
Obtain basic licenses and permits
Almost every city has two basic legal requirements for food trucks:
- A license that legally authorizes a person to operate a food truck
- A permit giving a permission owner licensed food truck to run the food truck
It is necessary to obtain a license before you can obtain a permit. There is no waiting list to obtain a license, although there are several requirements you must meet before applying.