Piaggio Food Truck
A timeless Icon of Italian Style
Italian Piaggio Ape are a classic street sight in Europe for ice cream and coffee concessions. In Italy and other parts of Southern Europe you can still even see them around for “normal” day to day use hauling supplies in their tiny truck bed. The name comes from the Italian word for bee – “Ape” – correctly inspiring notions of a small, happily buzzing worker that gets the job done day after day.
As a food truck they are versatile – it is no surprise they are mostly popular for selling gelato and espresso. Put a real barista behind the coffee machine and there are few solutions more iconic for a food truck serving Italian food.
That is not all though – there are many other possible versions from wine bars and mobile beer taps to a small Mexican food truck or a purely promotional vehicle. Let us guide you through all the options and help you find the perfect fit for you.
What are my options when choosing a Piaggio food truck?
When choosing a Piaggo food truck there are two major items to decide on: the original body to use and the necessary box or truck bed superstructure. Karpatia offers the following base types of chassis for a Piaggio:
- Revisions (gas) of any vintage model, such as the Piaggio P401, MP 500, AC 3, AD1T and many more.
- New Ape 50, Euro 4 standard (gas), 50cc 2-stroke engine with silencer
- New Ape E-City electric models
- From $8300 (€7500) for revision of a vintage Piaggio.
Our price includes complete necessary revisions of all mechanical, electrical and engine components, paint work or vinyl wrap and service guarantees.
- You can find many used from as low as ~$1500. We can source the vintage vehicle for you, or you can find and bring your own if you prefer. As most customers are US based and these tuk tuks abound in the EU it is often easier for us to source your unit, but the preceding link to Autoscout lets you find your own.
- From $14500 (€11500) for a new Ape 50 or Ape E-City
Deciding on vintage vs. new and gas vs. electric is both a personal and a business decisions based on the product you are selling, operating parameters and your budget. Newer units have a lot going for them: they are more reliable and require less maintenance, more economical with fuel with their Euro 4 standard engine removing the necessity of obtaining an exemption for low emission zones, cheaper to lease as a new vehicle and more robust with a higher load bearing capacity and torque allowing a heavier or larger superstructure.
The simple surface area of the bed, the torque and load bearing capacity restrict all the possibilities of a Piaggo food truck to approximately 1100lbs (500kg) in weight and ~8ft 2’in (250cm) in folded-out width.
A lot is still possible in that range – especially as we make as many parts as possible out of aluminium and fiberglass to reduce the load.
For vending and concessions within city limits you can get around autonomously using the 50cc or electric engine without issue. But you are not taking this thing on the interstate unless it is on the back of a trailer.
Given you are traveling with a trailer and pickup or van anyway, your Piaggio set up can be expanded with all sorts of attributes to haul along – like a semicircle bar or seating arrangements with the Piaggio acting as the centerpiece and prep station.
We recommend Piaggio food trucks for:
- Coffee and hot drinks
- Ice cream
- Sweets like cotton candy and crêpes
- Prep- light food such as wraps or hot dogs and bratwurst
Pre-Configured Piaggio Food Truck Solutions
Coffee Piaggio - from $14700
Freshly roasted and ground coffee beans served from a real Italian premium espresso machine by a professional barista – and all that presented using the cute and stylish Piaggio Ape – what’s not to love?
A great low-cost solution when you have dreams of setting up an independent coffee shop, you can build your brand and get the name out there while finetuning your skills and coffee recipes. And once you’re all set for brick and mortar the Piaggio is great to keep outside the door to attract even more customers or for doing events.
Not just for bright-eyed startups, a coffee Piaggio is a big asset to both coffee producers and coffee chains for their marketing and mobile sales, with some franchise coffee concepts even completely set up using mobile vending
Sales and Promotional Piaggio - from $12700
Put a banner on it and park – simple as that. Great banner design on a well-placed cute Piaggio is going to draw eyeballs at lower CPMs than Facebook.
Not that it has to be so simple – if you are launching a new product or doing a brand activation campaign Piaggio’s are a great way to scoot around from place to place and hand out samples or sell retail goods.
An added benefit is that they often qualify for moped classification in most US states and are always classified as a moped for EU member states. This allows you to have younger staff without a driver’s license operate a Piaggio food truck independently and keeps your promotional costs down.
Ice Cream Piaggio food truck - from $14700
Although you can do any kind of ice cream from a Piaggio there is only one that really fits – premium Italian gelato scoops.
Get that golden permission slip from your city for mobile vending and you can make hay while the sun shines any day that the thermometer is on your side. Go to parks, sports venues, busy office lots and beaches to make bank.
Not just for independent vendors – existing ice cream parlors with a name can greatly extend their reach and have a handy resupply point ready in their regular store, or the Piaggio can be parked outside on those extremely busy days to break up the queues ensuring nobody leaves the line without being served.
Hotels, restaurants and resorts can also make use of these mobile vending units to great effect for boosting F&B sales.
Beer Tap Piaggio food truck - from $16970
Most mobile vending concessions and licenses outright ban or are extremely tight on selling alcohol from a food truck. You can only sell at private events, catered events and occasionally special events open to the public such as food truck festivals. On top of that many of the larger open-to-the-public events often hog the alcohol sales to themselves.
If freely selling beer on street corners is your dream, you can generally forget this anywhere except select parts of Eastern Europe and Russia.
Festival operators or proprietors of larger establishments with an alcohol license for their entire property can do very well with them though – the Piaggio makes for a very easy and mobile bar that can relieve pressure from the main service points and increase total orders.
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
Is a Piaggio food truck the right solution for you?
Frequently Asked Piaggio Food Truck related questions
Yes, both our vintage restorations and our newbuilt European units are 100% DOT-approved (and ITV, RdW, TÜV) road legal units.
Due to their engine capacity, however, they are often classified as mopeds and there will be limits to what roads can be used in addition to speed limits.
Modern Euro-4-compliant Piaggio’s certainly can, as well as the electric models.
For older ones, check with your city.
Cost depends on your state – there is a lot of USA out there meaning the overland transport is nothing to scoff at. Contact us using the form for a no-strings-attached quote and we will specify the estimated shipping cost on our offer.
Containers go everywhere, and all units can always be shipped to the nearest port. We might not have a local forwarder in your country (yet), in which case we will find one together with you.
Karpatia has no showroom – but of course, we are always happy to show the workshop. You can make an appointment through our contact form and try before you buy.
Generally – Yes, of course!
The foundation of a good build is using the right unit for your conversion. We recommend getting a new Piaggio as pricing is fair and it guarantees a quality product. But if you want a vintage unit for DOT purposes, aesthetic or other reasons – we are still more than happy to take on your project.
If you have already found one that is great and we are happy to assess the work needed to get it back in shape and work using that particular unit.
The exception is if during our inspection, we find you had particularly poor luck and bought a unit that has a disproportional amount of problems and work necessary to bring it back up to our standards. In that case we inform you that you unfortunately made a bad purchase and look for other options together.
Alternatively, if for instance for sentimental reasons you really want to use a particular unit as the base of the conversion, it is of course possible – we can and have restored some real car wrecks – so we will still restore it if you really want to do so for non-business reasons even if it is not the most economical path to take.
Used ones without revisions are commonly around $1500-$2500.
A restored vintage Piaggio Ape will start around $7500.
Premium converted Piaggio food trucks usually end up north of $30k.