Food trucks offer an easier way to get into the food service industry without taking the risk of a restaurant failing, so learning how to run a food truck can be a profitable proposition. A restaurant not working out can drive you to bankruptcy; a food truck failing is bad, but not nearly that bad. Food trucks are a common sight in many cities, selling food from hot dogs to gourmet food.
Things you'll need to run a food truck:
- Business plan
- Food truck
- Social network accounts
- Write a business plan. A business plan outlines your short and long term goals for your food truck business. You also include information on the profitability of the venture, estimated cost of equipment and supplies, and operating expenses. You don't necessarily have to write a business plan, but it's helpful for focusing your ideas of the food truck business. Make sure to figure out what kind of food truck you want to run also. A taco truck has widely different expenses from a gourmet food truck. A business plan is also handy to have if you need to seek loans and financing.
- Purchase a food truck or catering van. This will be the most significant upfront expense of your entire operation. A food truck is a specially outfitted van or truck that comes with kitchen equipment. You can save money by taking a look at used food trucks, but make sure that you inspect it before purchase. Kitchen arrangements need to work with your planned food preparations. Consider how many people are working in the truck, and where all the food will be stored.
- Talk to your city's Department of Commerce or small business department to see what permits you need to run a food truck. You'll probably need to get food handler certified, a food service permit, and possibly specific food truck permits. Talk with the Department of Health for your city or county as well. At the very least the food truck is going to be inspected by Health Inspectors. The inspection process might be more involved than a visit or two, depending on the city.
- Get on social network sites and advertise where you are. Twitter is a very popular service for food trucks, as the short, live update format works perfectly with a moving food truck. A Facebook Fan Page is also useful for reaching fans that might not be on Twitter.
- Set up a website. Most consumers expect businesses to have a website, and if you're going to be on social networking sites anyway you might as well slap up a site with your menu on it. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, it just needs to let your customers know where you are and what you're up to.