Upgrading food truck kitchen equipment can be a tough task for food truck vendors who haven’t planned ahead. Even if your truck’s equipment is still working, you might want to upgrade to something that is more efficient or helps you expand your menu. As long as you plan ahead, it doesn’t always have to cost a lot when upgrading food truck kitchen equipment.
Plan ahead for unexpected food truck kitchen equipment failures:
Set A Budget
Create a budget and a separate bank account that you only use for upgrading food truck kitchen equipment. The budget will tell you how much to set aside every week. While you may not have 100 percent of the money you need when it is time to upgrade, you’ll have a big chunk of it.
Set A Schedule
Take inventory of all of your equipment and the condition of each item. There usually isn’t a need for upgrading each piece of your food truck kitchen equipment all at once. Instead, pick one or two pieces per year and upgrade those pieces.
If you bought a food truck that has a mix of old and new equipment, upgrade the oldest first, after upgrading anything that doesn’t work or cannot be brought to a “like new” condition.
Finding Replacement Equipment
Don’t think you have to go directly to a manufacturer if there is a specific brand of kitchen equipment you are looking for. The Internet has opened a lot options to food truck owners looking to save a buck. Just be careful, while a price may be hundreds cheaper at one store, that store may charge enough in fees for shipping that makes the equipment equal in price to another store.
Keep your eyes and ears open for restaurant and other food trucks that are closing. Often, you can find used kitchen equipment when another food business closes their doors. Also check restaurant supply stores that do not necessarily advertise heavy-duty kitchen equipment.
Financing vs. Cash
If you are able to find used or have set aside an account for kitchen equipment and can pay cash, you will save a ton on finance charges. If you do have to finance, be sure to compare interest rates.
Sometimes the bank may have lower rates, and sometimes in-house financing with the company you are purchasing your equipment from might have lower rates.
If you are buying new equipment, you typically want to spend a little more for something with a better warranty. While it may cost you a couple hundred extra now, this could save your food truck business money in the long run. If you are buying used equipment, check to see if the seller has a warranty and if they do, find out if it transfers (some warranties do not transfer once sold).
The Bottom Line
Use a combination of saving and planning ahead, to save thousands of dollars when upgrading food truck kitchen equipment. Create a long-term plan also keeps you from encountering any surprises.
Checking for sales, watching for food service closing, keeping a separate savings account and budget for equipment, and upgrading a few pieces each year or two will not only save you money. It will also save you headaches and ensures that you have up-to-date, working food truck kitchen equipment at all times.
Have you recently gone through the process of upgrading food truck kitchen equipment for your mobile food business? Have any tips? We’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook