Last week, I had a chance to help out a friend at an event, selling food from his truck. As a street-food lover, I always find this concept to be fun and interesting. However, after spending the whole day behind the wheels, I started to wonder, is food truck a good business?
What should a newbie expect out of this job? Let’s get into some nitty gritty details, shall we?
The Challenges of a Food Truck Business
1) Complying to Regulations
Every country, cities and towns have different rules regarding the setup of this type of business so what works for someone in San Diego may not be necessarily be the same for someone in New York.
You might be surprised that some of these rules aren’t food-truck business friendly. For example, your parking distance from the mall or the location’s accessibility to a bathroom (strange but true).
Most of the time, navigating through these laws just to obtain a business permit, can be very confusing. If the whole process is very frustrating, you might want to hire an attorney to help you out.
2) Huge Capital Investment
The next big question to ask is, how much does it cost to operate a food truck business? To give you some perspective, you are actually running a mini restaurant in which you’ll need to build a kitchen inside a truck. Acquiring the vehicle will likely be your biggest cost, followed by cooking equipment, utensils and supplies.
How much can this mount up to? Experienced truckers say it varies, but you can expect to spend between $50,000 to $100,000, if not more.
And that is only the amount to get things started. You also need to consider maintenance cost for the long haul – gas for fuel/cooking and paying the staff. The overall investment is going to be huge and way more expensive than you thought, so you want to make sure that you can stretch your finance in that aspect.
3) Lack of Team Power
Although you are starting small, you still need to have at least 3-4 staffs helping you to man the truck. It doesn’t matter if they are part or full-timer; what’s more important is that they work fast and enjoy serving people on the go. If they have knowledge and skills in cooking and food servicing, so much better.
There’s no point having a nice looking truck that provides slow or poor quality service. Therefore, hiring a team that can work efficiently is important to grow a successful food truck business.
4) Multitasking and Long Hours
Most people don’t know this, but being the boss doesn’t mean that you just sit behind the wheels and smile at customers. You actually have to go down to the field and do the hard work yourself too.
You have to source for the ingredients, you have to cook, you have to serve and when the day is over, you have to clean up, just like everyone else. That is, if you don’t have to troubleshoot for vehicle or equipment malfunction.
Sounds like a lot of multitasking, right? Well, the experienced truckers advice that you better be prepared for it.
5) Active Marketing Required
Here’s another task that I didn’t mention earlier. You’ll also need to find ways to advertise your food truck business.
How are you going to get people to know about your delicious menu and the affordable prices? Are you going to park in the middle of a crowded area OR are you just going to rely on the words of mouth?
Certainly there’s a better way to do this. Ever heard of online marketing? Well, here’s where I can actually help you. What you need to do is to create a business website with WordPress and add all this content to your site;
- Introduce the background of your business and your team.
- Share the food menus and pricing.
- Inform customers about your location schedules.
- Interact with your customers via social networks.
- Create columns for reviews and feedback.
- Offer other services such as catering or events.
Having this information on a website will make your business more transparent and create brand awareness among new customers. It’s not uncommon for food truckers to own a business website these days because they are fairly easy to set up and to maintain. If you wish to build one, check out the SiteRubix platform to learn more.
So, Is Food Truck a Good Business?
Like any brick and mortar business, a food truck business can thrive if you have good planning, patience and perseverance. There is always a potential to set up a chain restaurant out of a truck if your brand has the market and popularity in a certain locality.
However, if you are not ready for such a huge commitment, especially in the area of financing and management, then you are probably not ready for this business – yet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t monetize from the food industry.
A Low-Risk Yet Profitable Business Opportunity
Ever heard of affiliate marketing? It’s a way of doing business online, without having to spend a chunk of money that you can’t swallow.
For less than $400, you can get a good website up and running, get the right training and recommend good products to other people through affiliate blogs. By referring customers to Amazon for example, you’ll earn a sales commission whenever they make purchases online.
Here are some of the food/cooking related product categories that you can recommend or perhaps, you’ve even used them before.
- Cutlery and Knife Accessories
- Food Service Equipment and Supplies
- Home Brewing and Wine Making
- Kitchen and Table Linens
- Kitchen Utensils and Gadgets
- Small Appliances Parts and Accessories
- Storage and Organization
- Travel and To-Go Drinkware
- Water Coolers and Filters
- Wine Accessories
In this list, I am sure there is at least one product that you are good at using to create a meal. Show your readers how to do that on a blog and refer them to Amazon instead. You don’t even need to sell anything.
With this monetization technique, your income is recurring because your blog is going to be out there for a long time and it’s going to help thousands of people learn more about cooking skills. So, instead of a ‘food trucker’, you are going to become a food blogger.
How’s that for a career makeover? 🙂
I hope this valuable piece of information has helped you understand the food truck business a little better and the advantages/opportunities that are available to you online.
If you wish to learn more about starting an online business of any kind, then I highly recommend that you check out Wealthy Affiliate as they have one of the best programs out there. I will be in the training area to help you out, so just give me a shout.
Do you have any thoughts or questions about this topic? Feel free to leave your comment below and I shall get back to you.
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