Since the 2008 boom of the mobile food industry, the primary reason that food trucks continue to pop up across the country, is due to the desire of culinary professionals to start their own small business. In most cases, a food truck has been much easier and less expensive to open than taking the time to find banks to provide loans or investors to help finance their dream restaurant.
The food truck has put many of these small business owners on the map locally and in some cases nationally. We speak with vendors on a daily basis and when asked why they started their truck, the most common answer is that they found it too difficult to finance or too expensive to start a restaurant, so the truck was their next best option.
For the last few years, food truck owners have begun to spark a new phase in their business careers, they are parking their trucks in favor of setting up shop in a brick and mortar establishment. Over time, these same truck owners have not given up on their dreams of some day opening a restaurant in their area, but running a food truck doesn’t offer these individuals a lot of time to work on the dream. But how are they doing it?
It’s rather simple…the long hours and hard work that they have put into their food truck businesses have garnered them a lot of attention. The brands they created have grown, and the food they served was on par with any restaurant in their area.
These mobile vendors have been able to parlay their personal or food truck’s brand into brick and mortar locations. While most have transitioned and expanded the menus created for their trucks, some have decided to start an entirely different concept for their restaurant. Many of these food truck moguls have kept their trucks operating with the help of their staff, others have parked their trucks for good, so they can concentrate on their new food service business.
So how do you know when the time is right to take the leap? There are three common common areas you need build or investigate prior to taking this next step. They are:
If you’re running a successful food truck, you’ve already built a brand that resonates with your customers. Capitalize on the success of that brand by carrying it over to your restaurant.
Everything from decor to atmosphere to the menu should be consistent with your street brand. It’s a big jump to go from the street to a restaurant, so keep as many things consistent as possible between the two. If you deviate too much, it could become confusing to your customers and ultimately may diminish the value of your brand.
Flexibility is one of the best parts about the food truck business – the ability to pick up and move if your product isn’t selling. With a restaurant, you won’t have that option anymore, so choosing the right location is essential. The good news for a truck owner is that you already know exactly where your product sells the best. Utilize this information to choose your new restaurant’s location. You can even use your truck to advertising the restaurant opening long before you plan to open the doors for the first time.
Adding a restaurant to your food truck empire makes good business sense from an operational standpoint. The ability to have two revenue generating areas is ideal. You may have excess ingredients that you didn’t sell on your truck that day, you can utilize those ingredients in your restaurant. The best part is that you will be able to stop paying someone else for the use of their commercial kitchen. You can do prep work for the truck and the restaurant at the same time, so your staffing needs for the prep are now cut in half.
In addition to these benefits, by continuing your food truck operations, you will have a fantastic place to introduce new menu items and experiment without as much risk as you might if you use them as specials for the restaurant.
We hope you consider these points when considering whether or not to expand your food truck business into a permanent location.