State of the Food Truck Industry

Before 2005, the concept of food trucks related to hotdog and popcorn carts.

Since then they have been skyrocketing, and the food truck industry is forever growing with a new food truck coming out every week in most major cities.

However, a large boom usually leads to periods of stagnation.

So, is the food truck industry still something worth getting into?

In this article, I’ll share with you some insightful and exciting statistics about the food truck industry. For research purposes, we have relied on data from IBISWorld and Statista.

Fierce Competition

It’s interesting to note that while the numbers below might seem low, and show plenty of growth, according to IBISWorld data food trucks are not the same as street vendors. The numbers for street vendors are in-fact three times as high for street vendors than for food trucks. That is except for growth, which is considered lower for street vendors. To put it in numbers for every food truck there is 30 restaurants/street vendors competing with it.

Number of Businesses

There are 23,872 registered food truck businesses in the US.  With 314 cities with a population of over 100,000 this comes down to 76 food trucks per major city. To put it another way, there is one food truck for every 14,000 people. Compare this to the 660,000 restaurants operating in the US, clearly, there is still space for food truck businesses to grow.

Number of Employees

The food truck industry employs 28,916 people. This is an average of 1.2 employees per food truck, which indicates that most food truck business and single person run operations. This probably isn’t a surprise to people who often frequent food trucks, but if you’re planning a food truck business it does help you when it comes to planning the size of your food truck.

Annual Growth

Annual growth for the food truck industry is expected to be 6.8%. This is an exceptional amount, and it means that food truck business should keep booming for the next couple of years.

Food Truck Industry Worth

The food truck industry is estimated to be worth $1billion dollars, which means it’s worth approximately $40,000 per food truck. However, some estimations say that in reality, it’s closer to $2billion which sounds much more attractive; especially as I know multiple food trucks making over $100,000.

The Millenial Generation

The primary target for food trucks is people age 18-34, with an even split between males and females. Of the millennial generation, 47% have said they have visited food trucks, and 90% of those that visit enjoy the experience. The main reason for choose food trucks is for: experience, fun, joy and to try something different.

Sea of Regulations

Accordingly to FoodTruckNation, starting and maintaining a food truck for one year generally requires an entrepreneur to complete 45 separate government-mandated procedures and spend $28,276 on permits, licenses and ongoing legal compliance. Portland is one of the ripest cities to start in with a 9% population growth and a $7,287 startup cost. On the other hand, Chicago is one of the worst with a $35,174 start-up cost a 0.4% population growth.

Minimal Investment

One of the reasons that people start food trucks versus restaurants, is due to the lower startup costs. Starting a food truck range from $25,000 to $75,000 while a normal brick and mortar restaurant could require anywhere between $250-$500,000. Put simply it can be up to 10 times cheaper to start a food truck! Of course, there are many restaurants that start food trucks and food trucks that open restaurants.

Conclusion

On the whole, the food truck industry is still set to grow. So if you’re looking to get into the business then don’t hesitate and get into it.

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