If you are one of the thousands of people that are currently researching how to start a food truck that will sell gourmet burgers, tacos or grilled cheese sandwiches by the truck load, the first thing to seriously consider is not your budget, not the mobile kitchen and not the hours you will be working. The first thing you must consider is the type and style of food you will be selling.
Everything else will flow from the food, so make sure you understand the food you plan on selling from your menu before making business or emotional decisions on everything else.
Your first major investment will obviously be in the purchase of the food truck itself; however the type of food you will be preparing and selling will govern the type of kitchen you are going to need.
The first thing to do is to research which types of kitchens are most used for selling the food you will be basing your business on; this will serve to narrow down the list of mobile kitchen equipment and components to something that is more manageable for you to realistically research in depth and contrast and compare.
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The type of food you will be offering will also lead you to consider your storage and refrigeration requirements. If you are selling ice cream or frozen yogurts, you are going to need a lot of refrigeration capacity, but a lot less will be needed if you are going to be cooking burgers all day.
How much actual cooking will be required?
If you are going to be grilling chicken and pork then you may want extra grill space, but if you are making up subs or other cold sandwiches, do you really need any grilling space at all? You may want to maximize the food prep space instead.
How the food will be served?
It’s simple to hand over a bahn-mi in a bun, take the money, give change and smile at the next customer in the line, but do you want to offer something more for your customers, such as a place to sit down and take some time while they eat (if this is something your local municipality allows)?
Just because this is a mobile operation does not mean you have to ditch adding value for customers, or employing strategies to help differentiate you from the rest of the competition.
How high is your projected sales volume?
This will affect how many people you are going to need inside the food truck to assist with food prep and sales, and this in turn will affect the actual total storage, prep and selling space you are going to need in the truck itself. If it is too small, you may lose sales and valuable business; too large and you waste valuable investment capital.
Consider how you will prepare the food and the time involved between acquiring the basic ingredients for your dish and time to sell it.
Particularly, do you have to prep and store food off-site, or do you need to do this in the on the truck? The more reliance you place on your mobile kitchen, the greater your need for a good layout, more storage, more prep space and more refrigeration.
We hope this article will help those who are trying to find out how to start a food truck. If you are a current food truck owner and think we may have missed something, please feel free to leave us a comment in the section below, Tweet us or leave your comment on our Facebook page.