A food truck is a heavy-duty vehicle meant to prepare food and sell it to the public. These trucks can be found in large public areas like parks, sporting events, learning institutions or in facilities like hospitals and the surroundings.
Some mobile food trailers are designed to offer facilities for preparing both food and drink, while others are only designed to sell food and drink that has already been prepared elsewhere.
The history of Catering trucks
Believe it or not, the history of food trucks date back to the age of the dining tradition when vehicles had not been discovered.
When the civil war came to an end, urban workers and cowboys bought their meals from chuck wagons and push carts. Surprisingly, these chuck wagons were fully furnished with features that would allow their owners to store food, drinks, utensils and even wash them. Because of this, the modern day custom food trailer is a true reflection of the chuck wagon.
These pushcarts followed the hungry men across the plains. They would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cooks who were responsible for preparing chuck wagon meals and drinks would wake up as early as 3am to meet the increasing demand of men who grew hungry as a result of the work they were subjected to at the time.
The chuck wagons were designed in such a way that they would facilitate cooking and storing pots and other cooking utensils. What’s more, they would offer cleaning facilities to enable those operating the business wash their cooking equipment in readiness to serve the hungry men.
However, when automobiles were discovered, the food vendors took advantage of the opportunity, so they came up with modified vehicles that were fitted with all the bells and whistles meant to make their work easier.
In the wake of the 60s, the ”roch coaches” were already out in the streets in numbers. They were given this ridiculous name due to their substandard way of preparing food at the time. They actually set up ”restaurants” in dirty construction lots and alleys.
Thankfully, the millennium came with major changes where food service truck business was involved. Decent parks were erected in strategic places around the city. These areas would serve as cooking spots where food could be prepared in a hygienic manner. It could also be served and packaged in the same manner, and this entirely transformed the world of lunch truck business.
The food truck industry is happily growing even if the economy is slow. The reason is that people are looking for inexpensive lunch or breakfast on to go. Also the time is another very important reason why people will stop by a food truck to get their lunch or breakfast, The lunch hours are getting shorter as the work hours grow.and having your food right outside the door? You can’t ask for more than that. The food is budget friendly because there is no rent to pay, no waitress and no bussers to pay. The food is delivered fast, usually between 5- 10 minutes.You will not have to wait 30-45 minutes until you barely have time to eat your food because the lunch break is over.
The biggest advantage of a food truck business is that if your business is running slow you just pack up and move to another location that can generate more business:
Type of food trucks
Of course there are countless types of food trucks out there. So when thinking of getting one, you should first know the type of food you want to sell to your consumers. Once you know what you want to offer, you can explore the various types of vehicles to figure out which one meets your specification.
(a) Mobile food carts
These are carts attached to a vehicle so they can be towed to the intended destination. Because they are not large, they don’t allow vendors to do a lot of things where food preparation is involved, but they are less expensive.You can purchase a used one around $2.500. These are the hot dog carts and the ice cream carts.Usually, this types of trailers do not require as much licensing as a full size trailer.
(b) Mobile food trailers
These are fully-equipped food trailers that come with a kitchen and an eating area for customers. Vendors can decide to prepare food here, clean their utensils and even prepare drinks for their customers as well. There’s nothing they can’t do with such trailers. Starting from tacos and burgers and ending with healthy food or not so healthy barbecue the can prepare almost anything in between. These find the most business in big corporate parks where the access to the restaurants is limited. If previously the food trucks were mostly owned by an independent business owner, today, more and more big food chains are building special food trucks for their brand. some of these are Sizzler and Californa Pizza.
Food trucks can be classified in 2 groups depending if the food is prepared inside the truck while the customer is waiting or the ones that sells the prepacked food and not prepared by them in the truck. The price on these two also varies, but the ones that have the option to prepare the food on the spot are more expensive. Their price tag is between $30.000 and $100.000.
The amount of money one can make out of this business
The start up costs for a food truck business are different depending on the truck you want to invest in, what type of food you want to serve, the extra products that you offer.The price can start from $3.000 investment in the truck, $500 initial food investment, Other expenses like permits, marketing, attorneys, cleaning or other miscellaneous costs can all add up to $5.000.
Of course, if you want to invest in a more expensive food truck and sophisticated equipment your expenses star around $50.000 ant the total expenses can rich to $80.000 Even at this investment you are way under the start up budget of a restaurant.
It also depends how much you’re willing to put in the business and whether the location you choose has consumers. For instance, if you put in $10,000, you will want to serve 50 dishes at $8 for 25 days a month.
It might sound easy, right? How about adding elements such as drinks, side dishes and desserts? It can quickly generate a decent amount of revenue for your business.
Examples of Concession food truck businesses that have succeeded in the past
A few examples include Easy Slider (Dallas), The Fat Shallot (Chicago), The King of Pops (Atlanta), Korilla BBQ (New York), and so on. The list is endless.
Where to buy a food truck
You can buy a mobile food truck for the price of $50,000 up to $200,000. This is quite a lot of money for someone who is just starting.You can make your purchase online or in Bay Area.
So, is leasing a food truck a good idea?
If you’re starting a food truck business, you definitely want to lease one for a cost of $2000 from companies found on the web.
You can rent hot food trucks online and still get companies supplying you with the food to sell your consumers. Also, used mobile food trailers tend to be a good option due to their affordability. Look for some cheap hot dog trucks online and you should be able to land a good deal.
If you want to start this business, simply gather enough capital to help you acquire a food truck equipment. You also need food truck permits from the local authorities.
How to start a catering truck business: The good and the ugly
The benefit of running such a business becomes apparent when you are your own boss. Of course you will sell more food and drink during special occasion or events in your neighborhood. Again, there are very few legal requirements to meet. If you can meet the various health and hygiene requirements set forth by the local authority, you’re good to go.
The ugly side is that you will heavily invest in food truck supplies only to realize very little profit during off-peak seasons. Sometimes you may also be forced to close business due to disease outbreaks.
The local authorities need you to have a license that shows you’ve met all public hygiene standards. The permits allows you to operate this kind of business in your chosen location.