Before You Start Your Food Truck Business, Do These 5 Things

Follow these tips to get your food truck off the ground.

Did you know the market size for the food truck industry was more than $2.2 billion in 2023? That number is expected to continue growing well into the future. So, if you’re dreaming of starting your own food truck, you’re in the right place.

There’s plenty of room in the market for more trucks because people are eating out like never before. Convenience is key, and your new food truck can leverage this trend.

Before you start your food truck business, you want to do these five things.

#1: Conduct the Research

Before crossing the threshold and purchasing a food truck, you first want to conduct some market research. Why? You want to make sure your target market wants what you’re proposing to sell. In addition, you want to research the food truck scene in your city.

Consider the following:

Check out the competition. You want to create a list of all the food trucks in your area along with the type of menu they offer and where they generally are located.
Take this a step further and research the restaurants in your area. Does anyone have a menu like yours?
What is the demographic you are targeting? Where are they located in your city?
Look for spots where food trucks can set up and sell food.
Research other high traffic spots where you can gain customers.

Bottom line – you want to know if there is demand for your particular menu, or if you can create demand because no one else is offering anything like it.

Next, you want to create a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis to show you where the opportunity exists for your food truck.

#2: Create a Business Plan

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to embark on your new business venture, it’s time to create a business plan. This helps you organize your next steps with a plan to move your business forward.

It can feel intimidating to create a business plan, but it doesn’t have to be. Your business plan can be as simple or complicated as you’d like. (tweet this) If you need financing, you’ll want to be more formal. If not, your plan is your roadmap, and you can create it how you’d like. Here are the steps to follow.

Include an overview that describes the concept of your food truck. Think about what makes your business unique, and why you want to start the business.
Your name and your logo should be part of this.
Make sure to also include your proposed menu. This should detail your entire menu including how much each item costs to make, how much you’ll sell each item for, the time it will take you to cook and prepare each item, and your profit margin.
Add a section that includes your projected start up costs. This includes everything from the purchase of your truck, the design of it, equipment costs, gas, food costs, and more.
Next, you want to include a section on your target market, the demographics of that group, the total number of potential customers available to you, and a description of your perfect customer (think buyer personas).
List the locations where you will park your truck.
Include a list of any permits or licenses you need along with their costs.
You also want a section on your branding and marketing strategy. How will you promote your food truck, and what is the cost of each marketing tactic? For example, include things like your website, photography, video, social media, digital ads, flyers, etc.
Add the design of your food truck and how you’ll outfit it.
Include a section on how you’ll manage your food truck, how many employees you’ll hire, etc.
Finally, add information on the sales you forecast, expected costs and revenue, overall expenses, seasonality information, etc.

With this business plan in hand, you have a road map to success as well as something you can take to the bank or investors.

#3: Take Care of Licenses and Banking

Next, it’s time for some business legwork.

Since you are starting a business, you need to register with your state and set up your business legally. An LLC may be the way to go to protect your personal assets in case someone decides to sue you.

You want to research this beforehand, so you know what the costs are to doing this.

Check your county and state to see if you need any other licenses to run a food truck.

Finally, open a bank account and get a credit card in your business’ name.

Food trucks are big business, and with the right plan, you can thrive.

#4: Raise Money for Your Food Truck

If you need money to get your food truck off the ground, you want to do this before you open your food truck.

This is your chance to get some help with the startup costs from either a bank, crowd funding, or investors. In addition, you can expect your costs to be anywhere from $25,000 to $200,000 depending on what your business plan looks like and whether you’re buying new or used.

Here are some of the things you will need to purchase:

Retrofitting or repairs to the truck
Branding the truck
Vehicle inspection
Kitchen appliances
POS Software
Paint or Truck Wrap
Food costs
Utensils and paper goods
Website design
Office supplies and equipment
Any professional or legal fees

#5: Create a Marketing Plan

The next thing you want to do before you start your food truck business is create a marketing plan.

Advertising and marketing are the only way you can promote your food truck since you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location. (tweet this)

Here are some must-haves for your marketing plan:

Create a logo that pops.
Build a user-friendly, fast website that highlights your daily locations and menu.
Create social media accounts and use them regularly. These should feature photos and videos of your food, your people, and where you are each day. This is the key!
Find community events to participate in.
Take flyers, business cards, food, and coupons to businesses near where you park your truck so they can learn about you.
Have T-shirts and hats people can buy. Let your customers do your promoting for you!
Create a loyalty rewards program.
Make sure you have a great-looking menu board.
Work with local influencers.

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Final Thoughts on Your New Food Truck Business

Now that you have our five tips for starting a food truck business, you’re ready to embark on an amazing journey.

Moreover, you can have a successful food truck as long as you’re a go-getter who likes to work hard. Profit is right around the corner with the right plans, the right truck, and the right menu.

Is your website ready for your new food truck business? At Restaurant Engine, we can create a food truck website for you that provides the pivotal spot for your digital marketing. Your website is the centerpiece of your online marketing, and it needs to look and perform well to increase your online sales. You can count on us to create an amazing website that presents a unified brand for your food truck and works across all digital platforms. Let us help you make the perfect site that draws customers in, improves customer engagement and your conversion rate, and enables you to grow your business! 

 Are you ready to take your restaurant to the next level with a new website?

Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Rejoice Denhere and Nathalia Segato on Unsplash

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