Mini Food Truck
Mini food trucks offer a lot of choice
A small food truck can be a price-conscious starting point for your business and career in the food industry, to test the waters and refine your concept. You can always go big later, and by opting for a mini food truck now you can start immediately, without having to save up for years.
We also see customers where that is not the case at all and you simply have a brand or concept in mind where a tuk tuk or mini food trailer just fits the imaginary bill to a T. Scaling your concept can then be done at greater speed and with substantially smaller capital expenditure. Getting multiple units in at once is also a great way to test out concession spots much faster than the competition, allowing you to learn, iterate and pivot before they do.
Add to that the many extra concession opportunities that open up in malls and retail spaces when you have a small unit, with even more if you go electric – and you have an excellent business case for buying a mini food truck.
When exactly is a food truck "Mini"?
That really is up to you. We start by presenting the only real mini food truck – Japanese keitora with a custom food truck box.
If you are interested in a small food truck, it might also be worth considering getting a tuk tuk food truck, food bike or food cart to suit your mobile vending needs – and we just happen to have some great models stocked for those solutions too.
PROPER MIni FOOD TRUCKS
Suzuki Carry - Asia's Mini Food Truck Star
Japan is the origin of many great small trucks, but they are popular for food truck use all over Asia. Mitsubishi or Isuzu build similar models of kei truck or keitora, but by far the most common mini food truck conversion is a Suzuki Carry – so much so that we have a standardized cargo box to go on top that is wholly engineered and designed for food truck use.
Our premium mini food truck solution is sourced straight from Suzuki truck export in Tokyo and converted into a food truck using the famous Carryboy box extension or one of our custom upfitting solutions if the Carryboy is not suited to your goals. We simply mount the box, insulate to US or EU food-grade standards, and install all necessary gas, electric and water lines to code as well as all the equipment you have ordered from us.
These units comply with all major metro emission zone requirements and are road legal in all of the EU and USA.
Worried about the finer points of international export-import and registration? It certainly is a tonne of work and very confusing – but that is exactly why you have Karpatia to handle it all. Regulations are followed to the letter and registration and licensing takes the very minimum of hassle on your part.
If your concept features Asian street food there are very few trucks equally authentic as a Suzuki Carry. Best part? Prices start at $30k EXW.
Check out this unbiased review of a mini truck on YouTube – note his remarks on rust are something we of course take care of for you, no spots on ours!
A Suzuki Carry is the Perfect Mini Food Truck for Ice Cream
Selling packaged ice cream, paletas or pops does not require a huge inventory – so why get a big box when a small food truck at a smaller budget will do?
Our custom box superstructure can be fitted with a sliding concession window or a hatch and the aerodynamic front addition to the cab provides extra height so a single driver-operator can move from behind the wheel to serving customers without needing to exit the truck.
A range of solutions can be fitted inside – ideal for packaged ice cream but equally possible is to fit the truck with a small scoop and serve ice cream counter, crushed ice and Hawaiian shaved ice, soft serve or any combination of those.
Not that the Suzuki Carry is limited to ice cream – selling ready made meals, a mobile store on wheels or a full blown kitchen – although one size does not fit all it certainly fits a lot.
OTHER SMALL MOBILE FOOD SOLUTIONS
Mini Food Trailer
Starting from $4970 EXW, our mini food trailer is based on the popular budget roundtop model made in China. Offered by popular demand, we realize ours is significantly more expensive than buying it straight from China – and with good reason.
Karpatia imports only the top cabin and we do all the gas, water and electric work locally in addition to installation of stainless steel countertops and mounting the cabin on a premium Big Tex (US) or a TüV-compliant trailer we handbuild locally (EU).
Is this the best trailer out there? No. We offer much higher-end concession trailers, made using better materials, facilities, production techniques and expert craftsmanship. But those start at $20k and we do dare to stick our neck out and say as far as this model is concerned, ours are the best compromise on price to quality for a trailer available in the $5-10k range.
Don’t take our word for it – ask over 100 satisfied customers every year and call any of the dozen customers that bought elsewhere and had their food trailer fixed by us over the years.
Fascinated by this model? Check out all the options here.
Food Tuk Tuks, Piaggio Food Trucks and other Triporteurs
Stretching the definition of a food “truck” a bit further than the trailer is the popular decision to make a tuk tuk food truck – be it a classic Italian Piaggio Ape or a modern electric, silent and fun premium tuk tuk made in Holland.
Tuk Tuk food trucks enable you to sell street food in a modern style, stand out from the crowd and be a welcome guest to many indoor venues and events. We offer both show models and 100% road-legal DOT-compliant electric or gas powered tuk tuk food trucks.
Note that being road legal does not mean you can take them on the interstate or Autobahn autonomously – you will need a small car hauler to go along with it.
Food carts and stalls
From hotdog carts in the US to Asia’s countless pushcarts – hawkers all over the world have successful street food concepts that started out from, or still operate as, a modest stall. And why not? A cart can help you whether your vending is done indoors from a mall with limited space available, at fairs and events, or simply by hustling the streets and pushing that cart out day after day.
For most US and EU customers cart vending is not a given – local councils are not keen to give you a food vendor license and rarely a food truck license and many health departments will not let a cart pass inspection. Do not let that deter you – success is a marathon and if you DO get that vaunted corner concession the ROI of a cart-based mobile vending business is insane.
What’s more, even if licensed selling in public is made harder and harder each year, you can still make a good living using the food cart for catered events and commercial privately owned concessions where legislation allows.
For restaurants, hotels and other businesses looking to add a unique service point, buffet carts can work wonders too.
An (electric) food bike combines the advantages of a cart with an easier time getting around the city. Many European cities and some American ones will approve mobile vending concepts with a food bike that would not be greenlighted if they used carts.
Most food bikes serve up ice cream or coffee as a result of the limited inventory and prep space and lack of certified ventilation, which makes them ideally suited to other limited-inventory low-prep foods such as drinks, popcorn and cotton candy.
We have seen popular fries concepts and BBQ bikes too, though, so let your imagination run wild. Especially if your resupply point is nearby, there is no reason not to.
Electric food trucks?
A lot of people reach this page looking for fully electric food trucks – while we do a lot of specialty vehicles and can put solar panels on regular trucks and trailers, if you are looking for a full EV food unit we recommend our Colorado based competitor Gallery Carts.
By assessing your dreams we come to a shared understanding of who we are building for and why
Exploring multiple design options lets us find the solution that best suits your business goals
We refine the concept and provide you with a detailed design that meets your needs
Close monitoring during production ensures we meet your standards. You can always fly or drive in and take a look!
We offer a range of extra services to support your operation, so you can keep your focus.
WHY BUY WITH KARPATIA?
We will provide you with the best kitchen equipment and customizations such as full body wrap or painting – fast and easy.
We also provide additional services to help you get started – from financing to food truck websites, and not unimportantly – all the logistics of international import and export so we do the paperwork and you can just start operating the truck.
Is a Mini food truck the right mobile vending solution for you?
Frequently Asked Questions about Mini Food Trucks
No, we can convert any (mini)truck to a food truck as a custom for you, ranging from an American schoolbus to a Soviet KAMAZ. Surprise us!
If you are getting a mini food truck, though, the Suzuki Carry is simply the most common, practical and value-conscious choice.
YES! Many times “export” is not the right word as several small models such as hot dog carts are made in the States, not exported.
This is a complicated question-and-answer because there are a tonne of mini food truck options and many different state and county rules.
Generally, mini food trucks, carts, tuk tuks and food bikes are both perfectly legal and situationally restricted. Meaning e.g. you can run a mini food truck in all states except California and you can operate a concession perfectly well using a food bike unless you happen to be in Lousiana (and we are sure there are a few other choice rules in all jurisdictions).
For that reason we do a thorough consultation with you before any work starts.
We sell the Suzuki Carry with Carryboy Box starting at $30k.
Bikes and carts can be done very cheaply – some carts are under $1000.