When I was researching to start my own food truck (still in the planning stages) as well as the research I did for my book, “Running A Food Truck For Dummies”, I had the great fortune of receiving a lot of great advice from a lot of people with food truck experience.
In the spirit of sharing, I thought I would jot down some of the lessons I found the most helpful.
8 Lessons For Future Food Truck Owners
You can’t do it alone
Over the years you’ve heard about food trucks across the country as “one man” or “one woman” shows. The truth is there is no such thing. Sure, there are many successful food truck owners who came from backgrounds with very few advantages in life.
It’s also true that all of these people had to work incredibly hard to get where they are and they should be recognized for their hard work, but they still aren’t one person shows. No one is. Every single person who has experienced any degree of success in the mobile food industry has a long list of people they owe this success to.
You’re going to things that make you uncomfortable
Whether you have a fear of talking to strangers, or taking financial risks, being a successful food truck owner means coming up against your fears and doing what needs to be done. Every time you do something that needs to get done, despite being uncomfortable doing it, you’re bravely stepping up to the plate. Over time, the things that make you feel uncomfortable will become much easier.
Freedom comes with a price tag
There is a lot of freedom in being a food truck owner. When you work for yourself, you get to call the shots. You can take time off to do things a normal 9-5 doesn’t allow. But in exchange for these freedoms, you will have to put in long, hard hours. You may find yourself working harder than you have ever worked in your life.
You don’t have to step on other people
There is never a justifiable reason to speak poorly about your competitors, no matter what they may say about you behind your back or in public. One of the most satisfying things you can experience as a food trucker is uplifting other people, rather than pushing them down.
You have to learn how to say no
The ability to say no is crucial as a food truck owner. If you don’t master the art of saying no, sooner or later you will get burnt out and exhausted. You’ll eventually let staff and customers down if you attempt to keep up with everything. Commit only to the things you want and have the time to do well.
Flexibility is key
There are going to be times when things don’t go according to your plan. Look at your food truck business plan as a road map, and remember to leave plenty of time and space for detours. If you don’t bend, you’ll break.
Commitment is required daily
You don’t just commit to being a food truck vendor once in your life. You have to continually do it day in and day out. To take that a step further, there will be days when you have to recommit yourself multiple times a day. Doing what you love for a living sometimes means doing things you’d rather not.
You have the same amount of time as everyone else
Every food truck owner has a busy life, but most aren’t nearly as busy as they believe they are. In reality the problem isn’t that you don’t have enough time, it’s how you spend it. Try tracking everything you do for a week or two. See how many time wasters you can eliminate to make room for what you want to accomplish.
These eight lessons are just the start. There are a lot of brilliant people out there running food trucks, so I expect to keep learning every day I’m involved.
What have you learned that has changed the way you approach running a food truck? Do you have any additional lessons for future food truck owners? If so, feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.