The food truck industry remains the fastest growing branch of the food service industry, growing from $650 million in 2013 to a projected $2.7 billion in 2017. The recession of 2008 pushed talented chefs and restauranteurs out of their brick and mortar structure to idealize their talents and expertise into a more mobile and less risky business model, a food truck. The love for food trucks is historic and date as far as following the Great Depression when Americans ended selling produce and meats on the streets. Beyond an exodus of restaurant professionals, the food truck boom offered a second chance for numerous entrepreneurs passionate by the food service and customer service industries.
To start a food truck, you will find some interesting literature like “The Food Truck Handbook, Start, Grow, and Succeed in the Mobile Food Business” by David Weber and “Running a Food Truck for Dummies” by Richard Myrick. Like every new business, it takes a long, intense and thorough planning process in order to put together the perfect business plan with financial planning, market study and product elaboration.
Do you believe that running a food truck is easy?
Don’t be fooled by the movie Chef that portraits the ideal food truck success story, although lots of things are left out. If you plan on owning and operating your food truck, you should expect work days approximating 12 to 16 hours as you will be in charge of every part of the business. The daily routine of a food truck operator is long and tedious: planning, shopping, prepping, marketing, cooking, selling, cleaning, storing, bookkeeping, forecasting, scheduling, advertising, etc. You will soon become an expert on many domains of the restaurant business, adding to this the joys of mechanical situations and weather hazards.
Where should I start?
Start with your business plan. Grab your favorite pen and a paper pad, and start writing down all your ideas to establish a business model and a brand. Financial planning is key, and beyond the construction and built out costs, you will need an operating budget to cover the first difficult months on the road. Networking and consulting is key as it will help avoid errors that would be inevitable if you were launching yourself in the adventure with no consul.
What should I know?
You must be aware of your local and regional regulations, including permit and certification needs to get your business started. Education is key as the food service industry, as rewarding as it seems, is extremely detailed and exhaustive. Food trucks operators are not only responsible for the happiness of their customers, but for their safety as well. Research is crucial, on the legislative side of the business, but also on the operational aspect of the mobile food venture.
What will make me successful?
Passion. Nothing else can make you successful. If you are passionate, you will be thorough and exhaust every outlet possible to avoid traps and become profitable. You will need to remain organized, cold headed and overcome the daily situations that make the food truck adventure unique and exciting.
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