Want to get into the food truck business?
By Chris in Blog
Here’s some useful tips that we might have blogged before but it’s always good to be reminded! Enjoy the read!
Want to get into the food truck business? Here’s what you need to know – Article sourced at Bona
Want to start a restaurant or a catering business but don’t have the capital to rent a space? A food truck might be your answer. If you work in a business park or drive past a cluster of business parks you’re bound to come across one of the many mobile food trucks popping up.
From informal vendors trading out of converted caravans in front of construction sites to students serving coffee from tiny three-wheeled stations at festivals and other live events, food trucks are gaining popularity and can be a worthwhile supplementary income or a valid business opportunity for budding entrepreneurs. But where do you find a food truck to invest in and what other aspects do you have to keep in mind?
“Trucks differ in size and the type of equipment they’re kitted out with and all of these variables are determined by their function and influence their price,” says Francois Labuschagne, Product and Marketing Manager for Junk Mail.
There are various companies supplying fully equipped and ready-to-use trucks or you can investigate buying into a franchise model. Another option is to purchase a second-hand vehicle and to kit it out yourself.
A big consideration is budget and the start-up cost of financing the business. “Entry level food trucks include economic tuk-tuks that are customised for food offerings such as fish and chips, pies, pasta, curry, sushi, frozen yoghurt and coffee and they start at R60 000 and go up to R100 000 per vehicle,” he says.
Another option can be to purchase a second-hand food truck and renovate it. Second-hand trucks vary from R120 000 to R180 000. “Previously owned smaller vehicles such as mid-sized buses, combis and campers can also work and they’re priced at about R40 000, but keep in mind that you have to invest in their upgrade and the fitting of equipment,” says Labuschagne.
Purpose-built food trucks start at R300 000 for a demo model and R450 000 for a new vehicle. “Here the advantage is that they’re ready to deploy, but you may want to update the exterior with your logo and contact details, which will be an additional cost to keep in mind,” he says.
It seems as if everyone can get in on this trend, but here are some other aspects to consider:
You’ll require permits such as a business licence, health and safety certificate, liquor licence and possibly a licence for the playing of music. These requirements may vary from one local municipality to the next.
Decide whether you want to trade at lunch time or at parties, weddings and live events where your service is booked in advance.
You’ll have to obtain permission to park your truck at a specific location. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself about the requirements if you want to move it to a different location if business is slow.
Marketing your business on social media is key to let customers know where you are, where you’ll be next and what’s on the menu. An active social media presence will help bring in new customers.
Word-of-mouth plays a big part in marketing your service, therefore customer satisfaction is very important.
People eat with their eyes, so not only should your food be visually appealing and appetising, but your food truck needs to be beautiful and in a pristine condition.
Decide how you’ll be staffing your truck and the level of skills you’ll require, whether it is a gourmet chef, chef-in-training, mid-level staff or students.
Food trucks have fewer overheads than running a restaurant and because they’re mobile you can move them to where there is a market need. “They can be a fitting business venture for those who are passionate about food and people, but make sure you invest in the right vehicle for your business from the start,” he says.
Starting a Food Vendor Mobile Business at Fairs, Carnivals and Festivals – Article sourced at Chron
If you cook, food vending is a satisfying job. There are a few things to know when starting a food vendor mobile business at fairs, carnivals and festivals.
If you enjoy cooking, being outdoors and meeting a wide variety of people, mobile food vending is a satisfying way to make a living doing seasonal work. There are a few things that you need to know when starting a food vendor mobile business at fairs, carnivals and festivals. A mobile food business can be a simple operation vending once a week at a small neighborhood farmers’ market, or it can be a full fledged concession with an army of employees providing food at the county fair.
Because mobile food vending venues can vary so dramatically in scale and they can be so dramatically affected by inclement weather, it is good to plan a mobile food business that you can easily scale up or down, depending on demand.
Create a Menu
Create a menu for your festival food concession. The more food you’re able to crank out, the more money you’ll be able to make, so it is important to plan a menu based on items that you can serve to your customers quickly, with a minimum of fuss. Choose items that use a minimal number of ingredients and can be prepared and served in just a few steps. Use ingredients that can be incorporated into multiple menu items, such as refried beans that can be part of tacos as well as burritos. Offer drinks and dessert as well as savory offerings.
License Your Booth
If your menu requires advance preparation, you will need to lease and license a commercial kitchen as well. You will also most likely need to purchase a separate temporary food service permit for each event where you vend. However if you have a self-contained unit such as a truck or a hot dog cart, you may be able to license the cart or truck itself, and then you can legally operate it at multiple locations over time.
You will need a vehicle large enough to carry all of your gear, as well as a pop-up tent, stoves, tables, utensils and coolers. Design and print signs that will grab customers’ attention and also provide clear information about what you are offering and how much it costs.
Contact Festival Organizers
Choose venues that are appropriate to your menu and focus. For example, if you base your menu on local, seasonal ingredients, speak to organizers of local food events and harvest fairs. Choose events that are suitable for the scale on which you can operate using the equipment you have purchased and the menu you have created. For example, if you buy a basic two-burner stove and can only make six hamburgers at a time, don’t sign up for a booth at your county fair.
Items you will need
The Average Salary of a Person Who Owns a Concession Trailer – Chron
The average salary of a person who owns a concession trailer varies widely. A concession stand owner may operate the stand or may hire someone to operate the stand. Depending on the size of the stand, you may need from one to three people working it. To maximize earnings, work the stand yourself. But if the stand is large and busy enough, you may have to hire a helper. Any other persons you hire cut into profit.
Initial Costs of Business
Costs of doing business decrease the salary of the owner. These include initial costs, such as the purchase of the concession trailer and licensing for your county and state. Some areas require you to obtain a city license or a special concession license if the concession trailer does not stay in one location.
Ongoing Costs of Business
Ongoing costs of doing business also eat into an owner’s salary. Ongoing costs include fuel to move from place to place if the business is not in one location, fuel for the stove, refrigerator and freezer, ice, food products and paper products. Another expense that could be large, depending on the size of the trailer or whether you work the business yourself, is the cost of employees. The average prepper/server, as of 2008, makes about $8 an hour. You will also have rent for parking a trailer in front of an existing business or fees for the privilege of selling at local events.
Average Owner Salary
The average owner salary of someone in other amusement and recreation food service industries was about $45,650 in May of 2008. The amount you can charge for each item varies by region. You must also take into consideration the products you offer — dessert items or dinner items — and how many other concession stands or trailers are in the same location. Also consider whether other trailers or stands are selling the same products.
When planning your business, determine whether you are going to park the trailer in one place, such as in front of an existing business, or move the trailer around to attend events that come to your area. Keep the food items simple — offer only a few and choose something that not every competitor offers. If you want to do sausages, choose a product that will sell well and a way to make the sausages different from other vendors’ products. This could be a certain brand or you could offer certain toppings. If others charge for toppings, you might offer toppings for free or create a specialized topping.