Starting a food truck is no simple feat.
I completely agree. Having run multiple food truck businesses we know fully know that.
Luckily for you, in this guide, I’ll outline the steps to starting a successful food truck business.
In the coming weeks and months we’ll also bring out more in-depth guides on our blog to help you out, so make sure you sign up to our mailing list.
So here are 6 simple steps to start your food truck:
- Decide Your Niche & Brand
- Create a Business Plan
- Get Financing
- Get Your Truck
- Parking and Permits
- Grow Your Network
1. Decide Your Niche & Brand
The most important part of starting your food truck is deciding the niche. Others might say it’s your business plan or your food truck but unless you know what you’d like to be cooking, then it’s going to be impossible to figure those out. And, sure maybe it makes more financial sense to start a vegan delicatessen than a BBQ joint but if you love meat or cook a mean burrito, then clearly that’s not going to happen. As a side note, a successful niche varies by city and country completely so don’t take our word for granted.
Therefore, when it comes to choosing your niche, think about what you love. Since you’re reading this article, you probably already have some ideas.
To finalize your thoughts, create a host of food items for your friends and family to try out. While you have them around your place, get their help to brainstorm your brand. Once you’ve nailed your niche, your brand will be the most important thing as it’s what will get your recognized, and help people spread the word. “Hot Dog Stand #4” doesn’t sound nearly as attractive as “The Mega Hot Dog Haven”.
If you can afford it, hire a designer to create your branding – logos, menu, color schemes, etc. It might sound expensive, but you can find some extremely talented freelancers on sites such as Upwork and Fiverr.
2. Create a Business Plan
You now have your niche and brand in place, so it’s time to create your business plan. While it’s one of the most boring aspects of running a business, it is the most fundamental one. A business plan will help you create your financials so you’ll know how much you can expect to make, and how much it will take to get there.
Outside of financial planning, a business plan also helps create your growth plan. This includes everything from your online presence to customer relations and B2B growth. I can’t stress enough how important a solid, and well-planned business plan is.
3. Get Financing
With your niche, brand and business plan in place, it’s time to get financed. While this might sound hard if you’ve put the time and effort into your business plan, then it’s easier than ever before. If you’re family and friends aren’t able to help, then there are a host of options in the modern world. Unfortunately, while some options are easier than others, they might mean that you end up giving up a share of your business.
As with many of the other points on this list, going into depth on the topic would make this article too long. Luckily Nav has created a great list of financing options to help you out.
4. Get Your Truck
Once you’ve got your plan and money in hand, it’s time to get your food truck! There are multiple options for this; you can renovate, build your own, or the easiest way is to buy one from us.
Of course, this is biased, while we do think we have the best prices on the market, we do recommend you look around online to find the best deal. When buying your food truck you’ll need to consider what equipment you’ll need inside it, how much space you need, how large it can be, and a host of other options.
5. Parking and Permits
Once you get your truck, it’s time to find a location, you can’t exactly sell from your own driveway (well you can but that’s probably not the most profitable).
When it comes to food trucks, as the saying goes “location, location, location”. Have a look around your city look at where food trucks are parking. Furthermore, talk to your city council and asks where you can park and what permits you’ll need. Starting off in the popular spots might sound like a good idea, but usually, these are the most expensive for permits, and also the most competitive. You might be able to find a location that’s not as popular but cheap and you can dominate. Therefore always look around carefully to decide where to park, and when starting off try out different locations.
6. Grow Your Network
So now you’ve got your plan, your food truck and you’re selling – happy days, right? Unfortunately, no. Like with any other business, work doesn’t stop there.
Once you’re getting customers, it’s time to start getting more. Since we live in a digital age, it’s paramount that you run a website and social networks where people can follow you and share your content. Digital marketing is a whole new topic in itself, so we won’t be going into it in this article. However, you can find some useful resources here; Neil Patel, Hubspot.
In addition to growing your digital following, I’d also recommend that you cold call businesses in your area. Creating Business contracts can help you get catering and event contracts, both of which can bring in large bucks.
If you manage to do all of the steps carefully and accurately then you’ll have a thriving food truck business. While that’s easier said than done, it’s not an impossible task, and many have successfully done it before, and many will do so in the future.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article, if you’ve got any questions or comments then let us know in the comments, and most importantly – Good Luck with starting your own food truck!