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successful food truck owners

There is no magic formula for successful food truck owners, but most vendors who have done well seem to share the same six personality traits.

At the top of the list for successful food trucker owners is the ability to collaborate with others. Those who can delegate often build strong relationships with their staff and are more likely to click with their customers.

successful food truck owners

The other five traits frequently found in successful food truck owners:

Being self-fulfilled. The best culinary entrepreneurs put a high price on the fulfillment their food trucks provide them, relish being their own boss, and enjoy being in control of their personal income.

They value doing something for a living that they love to do being able to decide how much money they make and being able to have the satisfaction of creating something their community values.

Focused on the Future. Food truck owners who have thrived are good at both short and long-term planning. They’re as likely to have a well thought-out plan for the day-to-day running of their business as a road map for how to run the business for years.

Curious. Strong entrepreneurs are always reading and asking questions. They want to learn everything from why a particular business failed to how to find, motivate, and keep good employees.

Action oriented. Successful mobile food business owners are proactive and always differentiate themselves from their competitors. They are less worried than other small business owners about the state of the economy and more likely to look at adversity as sign to move forward.

Tech-savvy. Perhaps this isn’t a surprise but the best food truck business owners invest time and money on their website and are likely to rely a great deal on technology such as social media and point of sales systems to help make our business more effective and efficient.

Many food truck owners have some or many of these traits, however it’s the food truck owners with all of these traits that seem to have captured the most successes so far.

They are a special breed of entrepreneurs that are highly motivated, caring and curious individuals. They effectively balance their personal and business goals, take advantage of others’ expertise and continually seek to learn the best practices exhibited by their competition.

Did we miss a common trait found in most successful food truck owners? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

now-hiring-highway sign

If you haven’t noticed, over the past five years there has been consistent growth within the mobile food industry. Food truck owners across the country are succeeding to the point in which they are able to bring on more staff to expand their businesses.

If you happen to be in this situation, you may want to consider these traits as those to look for in your next hire, no matter what position they hold. Hiring can be difficult, especially in the food service industry. Candidates may have great cooking or customer service skills…but they just don’t work out. Why?

You’ll find that some individuals try to get by doing as little as possible, while others seem to possess a drive that leads them to give their all each and every shift. It those with that drive that you need to look for, and this article will provide an inside look into specific traits they’ll possess that tend to guide their work behavior, leading them to produce high-quality work consistently and without the need to prod them to stay on task.


Those with a good work ethic are dedicated to their jobs and will do anything they can to always perform at the highest level. One sign of this will be seen in their resume, it will show that they change jobs less frequently than industry standards. They also often work as long as it takes to get a job done, showing that they are someone truly dedicate to their job.


Reliability goes hand in hand with a good work ethic. If individuals with a good work ethic say they are going to show up or start at a certain time, they do. Individuals with a strong work ethic often want to appear dependable, showing the boss that they can be relied on.


Those with a good work ethic often also possess generally strong character. This means they are self-disciplined, push themselves to complete tasks instead of requiring others to complete them. They are also often very honest and trustworthy, as they view these traits as part of who they are.


This trait is key due to the speed in which a food truck is run. These individuals work at a consistently fast pace, with high productivity. They will typically get huge amounts of work done faster than others and don’t quit until they’ve completed the tasks they are given. They want to appear to be strong workers so they feel that the more productive they are, the more beneficial to your business they are.


Coming from a military veteran, I can tell you that a cooperative work environment can be highly beneficial for your food truck business. Being cooperative leads to stronger teamwork throughout the truck due to the fact that they often put a lot of effort into working well with others. They will respect you enough to work with anyone they are teamed with, even if they do not enjoy working with specific coworkers.

While it may be difficult to find someone who holds these traits and are capable of completing the tasks you give them. It’s important for food truck owners to do the best they can in building teams with these types of individuals. It has been shown time and again that the most successful trucks always seem to be staffed with this type of crew.

food truck manager

When a customer walks up to a food truck that is a smooth running mobile food operation, they may not notice how efficient it really is. On the other hand, step up to a truck that isn’t managed properly, and there will be multiple times during the transaction that it’s inefficiency shines through.

In most food trucks there is no one person that impacts the day-in, day-out profitability and success like the person who manages the truck’s kitchen. Whether the truck is managed by the owner, or someone who they trust, there are certain lessons that can be learned from each of them.

Here are 10 traits that we’ve noticed consistently in food truck managers of the most successful mobile food businesses:
  1. The best food truck managers can be found in the truck, not outside of it.
  2. They keep the recipe binders up-to-date, in good condition and easy to find.
  3. They make using the recipe cards mandatory. They don’t trust anyone’s memory.
  4. They plan for “teaching moments” every day.
  5. They conduct food demonstrations for new items during pre-shift meetings.
  6. They perform detailed line checks before the truck leaves the commissary.
  7. They develop key people for the service window.
  8. They constantly encourage communication and organization.
  9. They are dedicated to achieving fast ticket turns.
  10. They manage the “flow” inside the truck and don’t get wrapped up in one task.

We’d love to hear how you feel YOUR food truck manager measure up to this list. While not every successful truck has a food truck manager with all of these traits, but through our experience, the trucks that have not been successful, seem to have food truck managers with very few of these traits.

If you’d like to see us add more to our list, please feel free to add your suggestions to the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

tip of the dayWhat makes a great employee? Many call them the “Four Cs”:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity

These are the kinds of skills that are not only critical for food truck ownership to have, but also the individuals you look to hire. These traits show how quickly one can adapt and innovate.

Unfortunately many employees are lacking in these critical skills. In fact, 50% to 60% of managers feel the majority of their workers are at best average in these skills.

These are skills you should look for when hiring, but remember that they can be developed in employees too.

While experienced workers are much more likely to have these skills than recent culinary graduates, it’s easier to develop them in students and recent graduates than it is to develop them in experienced workers.

One-on-one coaching and mentoring are by far the most effective ways of developing these traits in your food truck employees, so a mentoring program that pairs you or trusted senior employees with junior ones could be well worth the time and effort.

leadership traits

We are often asked what leadership traits most successful food truck operators possess. When you look at the definition of a leader, it states, “one who leads or guides.” And we’ve all heard the phrase “lead by example.” Unfortunately this just isn’t enough.

There are at least seven qualities of leadership that help to make a good food truck owner.

7 Leadership Traits Found In Successful Food Truck Owners

The first of the leadership traits you will find in a successful food truck owner is someone who is not afraid to get his or her hands dirty. Someone who will do the same job, duty, or task alongside subordinates, while keeping a positive attitude. This helps build and gain respect. Besides, how else can you expect someone to do the job you ask him or her to do if you do not know how or are not willing to do it yourself?

A person who listens, not just hears. Pay complete attention to what the person is saying. Look them in the eyes, acknowledge them and don’t interrupt. Ask questions of clarification, reiterate what they are saying, and ask the person if you understand them correctly. But listening doesn’t stop there. You need to follow through on the conversation and do what you said you would do. Build integrity and trust.

Make good business decisions but show compassion when needed. The bottom line is the bottom line. You don’t have to be cruel to accomplish tough results. Be honest, state the facts, ask for suggestions, and make the best decision. A lot of times things look good on paper but don’t really work in reality. Sometimes those who are on the front lines and performing the job every day give the best answers. Not only do you get the answer you may be looking for, you also build confidence and develop future managers and supervisors.

Treat others fairly, including yourself. Favoritism has no place in a mobile food business. Is it hard not to solely rely on those who are the strongest? Absolutely, but it’s your job to encourage and improve the super performers in your food truck business. Learn to delegate to improve teamwork and lighten the load for everybody.

Learning never stops. You should try to learn something new every day, sometimes this will happen without even seeking it out. You also need to be open to learning from subordinates, peers, and supervisors. There is no one person who has all the answers. This industry is in a constant state of change and you need to be able to adapt. It’s important to stay fresh and current. Think outside the box; there’s usually more than one way to accomplish a goal. If the way you tried doesn’t work, you’ve learned, and it’s what you take from the experience that’s important.

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Develop those under you. The fastest way to move up is to train someone to take your job. This is one of the best ways to show leadership. Too often, people are afraid of “losing their jobs” because someone else knows how to do their job. This is not the case. This frees up time for you to develop your skills in other aspects of the business.

The final of our leadership traits is you need to be able to admit that you’ve made mistakes. Nobody has all the answers. You’re going to stumble, trip, and even fall. But those who are honest and admit their failures will gain the respect of others and will learn the most.

What other leadership traits can you add to our list? We’d love to hear your thoughts. You can add your suggestions via email, Facebook or Twitter.

In today’s ever changing economy, do food truck owners need to be persistent, analytic  and organized, or should they be compassionate, charismatic, and communicative? The answer is simple: they need both sets of these traits.

Rather than categorizing yourself as a certain type of food truck owner, explore the nuances that today’s complex, fast-moving mobile food business environment requires. Mobile food vendors need to confidently deliver tough messages to their employees that are backed by evidence, but they also need to be sensitive to how those messages are received. Most leadership traits are not an either/or choice, but rather complementary sides of effective food truck ownership.


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