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are food trucks profitable

So, you’ve watched a few episodes of The Great Food Truck Race and now you want to open your own mobile food business but before you start investing too much time and money into this dream, you want to know…

Are Food Trucks Profitable?

The first thing you need to do to begin answering this question is understanding the simple equation of total of expenses divided by average entree cost, which gives you the amount of meals you need to sell to break even every month.

Let’s say you have $10,000 of expenses and want to average $8.00 per entree, this means you need 50 dishes a day, 25 days a month. Sounds easy, huh? We haven’t even included drinks, side dishes or desserts yet. So what do you think? Are food trucks profitable?

Well, hold on before you jump in and answer the question there are few more costs involved. In addition to the $120,000 in operational expenses ($10K x 12 months) you will have to include your start-up costs.

Additional Start-up Costs

  • How much is the truck you are going to work in?
  • Does the equipment in the truck’s kitchen work properly?
  • Does the truck have a working generator?
  • Does the truck you buy meet local health code, or are you going to have to spend money to get it approved by the city?
  • How much is licensing to operate a mobile food business in each municipality you plan to work in?
  • How much will it cost to get your truck wrapped so it properly explains your brand?
  • Are you going to spend any money on marketing your new business?
  • Are you going to be working alone or do you have to hire employees right off the bat?
  • How much will it cost to hire legal and accounting help to get your business registered?
  • How much do you need in the bank when you start to make sure you have at 6 months’ worth in reserve?

The list can go on and on, but if you leave those items out of the equation, you may answer the “Are food trucks profitable?” question without all of the data needed to come to the correct answer.

Now don’t get too too discouraged, once you begin the process of laying out your business plan financial section you can start working on ways to reduce your operating and start-up costs.

There are pros and cons of most start-up situations; here’s what to think about so you can assess your options when answering, Are Food Trucks Profitable:

  • Should I buy a new truck which comes with everything new?
  • Should I buy an existing food truck and save on start-up costs?
  • Are there opportunities to keep the operational and start-up costs down?

If you go full out, buy a new food truck with all new high end equipment and technology, you’re looking at about $250,000 in operating capital and start-up costs.

If you go the other route and get extremely frugal and able to do some of the build out work yourself, you can probably get away with $50,000 to $75,000.

If this still sounds way too aggressive for you, then you may need to re-think things. Maybe instead of just street vending, you will have to include frequent evening and weekend food truck events and catering to supplement your revenue.

So what do you think? Are food trucks profitable? Have they been for you? We’d love to hear your story. Reach out to us via email at admin [at] mobile-cuisine [dot] com, or leave us a mess on Twitter or Facebook.

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cartopia portland

PORTLAND, OR - Southeast Portland’s Cartopia food cart pod, which was slated to be redeveloped into apartments, might not be closing after all.

In an email, Potato Champion owner Mike McKinnon wrote that he and other cart owners at the late-night pod were offered a chance to renew their leases for two more years. The letter was signed by all of Cartopia’s current tenants, including Whiffies Fried Pies, Perriera Creperie, Pyro Pizza and more.

In May, The Oregonian reported that developer Vic Remmers had submitted plans to the city for a four-story, mixed-use development on the site, at Southwest 12th Avenue and Hawthorne Street.

McKinnon said he didn’t know why those plans had changed. The Oregonian has reached out to the developer for an update. Stay tuned for more details.

Find the original article at aaa <here>

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springville ut city hall

SPRINGVILLE, UT - The food truck craze is making its way to Springville, and the City Council is preparing.

The council discussed Tuesday changing current laws to better regulate the rising trend in food on wheels. Springville currently has no ordinances specifically addressing food trucks.

“The food truck craze has been big for a while,” said John Penrod, Springville city attorney.

Some of the valley’s food trucks come to Springville occasionally, including Springville’s own doughnut truck, Art City Donuts. But most food trucks operate in Springville only when they are invited or on private property. Current city laws do not allow food trucks to park in public areas, Penrod said.

He said the council needs to answer questions surrounding food truck laws they plan to implement in the future. Those questions include whether the city will allow food trucks in public areas, on what streets they will be permitted, and how close they can be to a restaurant.

City regulations throughout the valley range from a simple restriction from sidewalks to requiring criminal background checks for drivers and specifying dimensions attached to food vehicles.

Find the entire article at heraldextra.com <here>

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food truck business plans

A business plan is vital for most new businesses but it is an absolute must imperative for a prospective mobile food vendor. By creating food truck business plans, you do two things:

  • Show prospective investors that you have a clear foundation for getting your food truck up and running.
  • Learn about the different aspects of running a food truck, as well as finding out who your local competition is and who in your market will be your potential customers.

A business plan is especially helpful to those new to the mobile food industry. It creates a blueprint for building your food truck business, and will tip you off to problems you may not have previously considered, such as the hoops you need to jump through for licensing and health codes.

While most business plans have the same general structure there are some sections of your plan that will be geared specifically to food trucks.

Here is a breakdown of all the key parts of food truck business plans:

Executive Summary

Start out with an overview of the meat and potatoes of your business plan. Think of it as the introduction. Develop it so it keeps your readers attention. Here are two tips for writing an executive summary geared toward a food truck business plan.

  • Give the reader (potential investors) the basics of your business concept. What is the style or cuisine of food you’ll be serving from your new food truck, the name of the business and your primary parking locations (parts of the city, events, catering).
  • Explain why you are well suited to operate a food truck. Do you have previous cooking experience in food trucks or restaurants? If not, do you have any experience in the food truck business? If the answer is no, then you need to be prepared to sell them on the idea that despite your lack of experience, you are still the perfect person for this new food truck business.
Company Description

This part of a business plan is sometimes referred to as a business analysis. It explains in more detail (than the executive summary) to the reader the operation location, legal name and the concept of the food truck you want to create. This is where you will give details on your local competition (food trucks and restaurants), population of the areas you will operate and other information you have gather during your research.

Market Analysis

This part of food truck business plan is where you lay out your marketing strategy. There are three primary parts to a market analysis:

  • Industry- Who will be your customers? Is your food truck going to serve business professionals at lunch time? The bar crowd on late nights? Explain your customer base and why they are going to flock to your new food truck, not the competition.
  • Competition- Who is your competition? Many people opening a new food truck assume everyone will prefer their truck to the existing trucks in the area. Don’t underestimate them. Many of them have already built a loyal customer base, and attempting to poach customers from them will not be easy. Find out as much as you can about your competition, including their menu, parking locations and prices. Then explain in a paragraph or two how you will compete with the already established businesses.
  • Marketing- What methods do you plan to use to promote your food truck? How are you going to target your core audience? Many food trucks use free social media services such as Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, it takes a bit more to make it to the top. What is going to set you apart from your competition? Give specifics on how you plan to get the word out about the newest mobile food business in your market.
Business Operation

This section is where you explain about your when and where you plan to operate and what your planned staffing levels will be. You will also need to explain the benefits your truck will provide potential customers. This is also a good place to mention any close ties you may have with local food suppliers or local farms that will give you a competitive edge.

Management & Ownership

Who is going to run the business? What role will you play in daily operations? Are you going to be the accountant, driver, head chef and marketing guru? If so, how do you plan to get this all accomplished? Many new food truck owners start out on their own others bring in staff to help with day to day operations. Explain who is going to do what, including any potential employees whom you feel will be a great benefit to your new food truck.


Now comes the part of a food truck business plan that scares most inexperienced entrepreneurs. So how much is this mobile food business ultimately going to cost? This is where you want to list the projected growth of your new food truck empire. You should include a profit and loss statement that projects how much are you going to spend versus how much you are going to make. Other items you should include in your financial report include:

  • Break even analysis
  • Balance Sheet
  • Food Truck Industry Data
  • Possible Risk (show investors that you understand that all food trucks don’t succeed by explaining how you plan to pay them if you fall into that category.)

If you have additional suggestions for creating a food truck business plan please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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H - Town StrEATS

HOUSTON, TX - Late Monday a popular Houston food truck was the target of an armed robbery off Washington Avenue and Decatur.

The H-town strEATs truck was parked at restaurant Beaver’s at 2310 Decatur for their monthly speakeasy benefit event when an armed robber demanded cash from co-owner Jason Hill on the truck at just before 10 p.m.

During the incident one of the two suspects shot a round into the truck damaging a refrigerator after an employee brushed away the suspect’s handgun.

The suspects got away with a small amount of cash before leaving the scene. No injuries were reported. The suspects were described as two, masked black males. They fled the scene in a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser.

After the truck’s owners tweeted about the scare Hubcap Grill owner Ricky Craig, who once once ran his own food truck, pledged to replace the cash taken from H-town strEATs in the robbery out of his own pocket.

Matt Opaleski, co-owner of H-town strEATs with Hill, wasn’t at the scene during the robbery but he tweeted out thanks to the public for their support. They won’t be taking up on Craig’s offer, though they appreciated it. Beaver’s is offering to also match the money they were robbed of.

Find the entire article at chron.com <here>

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Once again the city of Chicago has shown it’s food truck hypocrisy by approving a special event permit for a food truck with a corporate backer.

CHICAGO. IL - In a strange turn of events, this new food truck might leave you with the munchies.

A cannabis food truck will be in Chicago Wednesday as part of a two-week “Cannaball Run” tour focused on educating medicinal marijuana patients on cooking with cannabis.

MagicalButter’s Samich Truck will showcase cannabis cooking demonstrations (THC-free), alcohol infusions and decarboxylation for those with medicinal marijuana prescriptions.

The truck will be stationed along the Mag Mile, at 505 N. Michigan Ave., at 5:30 p.m.

The event is part of the ArcView Investor Conference, which will host 200 investors interested in investing in the budding cannabis industry.

Find the entire article at nbcchicago.com <here>