Food trucks are trendy and quite popular right now. More and more of these whacky eateries open up every year. So, if you are looking to start up your own little food truck project, it is undoubtedly a great idea. Maybe you’re awesome at whipping up the most amazing sliders, sandwiches, loaded nachos, or fusion foods, but on the business side you’re caught a little off guard.
If that is your reality right now, don’t worry! We’re here with the ultimate food truck checklist to help you plan for the other side of opening a successful food truck business.
In the ideal world, you could have just packed up your brilliant creations in a merry food-truck and gone your way, selling your wares to the hungry masses. Sadly, in this world, rules and regulations must be followed before you can own and operate your own food truck. Depending on the city or state that you are in, there are rules and regulations that a food truck has to follow. So, before you get started on anything else, it is essential to check with the local municipal body to license your food truck.
However, this is a slightly tricky step as you will have to get licensed by the city, as well as the local health department. In some cases, you may also have to apply for parking approvals. While this may seem like a daunting and time-consuming task, it is the most necessary hurdle to cross to get started.
As a rule of thumb, it is always advisable to talk to a lawyer and an accountant before you set out with any business venture. The same is the case with your food-truck ambitions. Once you get help regarding the legalities and other nitty-gritty, you will understand what to register your business entity as. This step ensures that even if any problems arise in your business venture, your personal assets remain safeguarded.
Apart from this, since your business is related to food, you may have to get insurance that is specially certified by the health department. By getting legal help before you start up, you will be able to prepare yourself thoroughly.
Buy and Outfit the Food Truck
First of all, you need to set a clear cut budget for your food truck venture. When you have established this budget, buying and choosing the right food truck becomes easier. You can opt for a new or used model. Similarly, you will have to invest in hiring the right kitchen equipment. Think fryers, pots, pans, grills, refrigerators etc. Rather than buying expensive new versions of these things, you could save by buying second-hand from restraint liquidators. Make sure to really sit down and figure out the right quantities because you don’t want to overbuy or even be underequipped in the kitchen.
With that being said, there are some things that you should buy brand new. The lights and other electrical fixtures should be brought new to minimize and fire risks. Look for the best portable inverter generator as well, since your food truck will require a steady supply of electricity.
Branding and Marketing
The reality of success with food trucks is that your target audiences must find your brand appealing. Since the younger generations, families and students are more likely to come and indulge in a food-truck meal, you must find the right name and design for your food truck and other collaterals. Sure, you have to serve up fantastic food. However, you also need to find a name that connects, as well as a brand design that conveys the right message.
Additionally, given how powerful and influential social media can be, ensure that you have a robust presence of food-friendly networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp. Keep holding contests and have a loyalty program of sorts to build patronage. If possible, upload photos, videos, and even boomerangs to build a fan base. Remember, consistent communication and messaging are the keys to marketing success.
Additionally, think about other media outlets where you can push and market your food truck. For example, if you serve up Mexican food, try and get your brand visible to audiences that are likely to enjoy your meals. If you are overwhelmed by the prospect of handling all these tasks yourself, don’t be afraid to hire a professional or freelancer (if you are on a budget) to help you out. While this may be slightly more expensive than doing things yourself, it will help you get things right the first time.