8 Start Up Food Truck Business Tips

While I have yet to open my own food truck, I have been watching the industry for a long time now. I have kept an eye on many of the food trucks that have opened since 2010 and watched as many have succeeded beyond their owners wildest dreams. At the same time, I have seen many food truck operators flounder. Running a food truck is not an easy road to follow, but if done properly it can be the most rewarding venture you will ever enter into. We hope the following list of start up food truck business tips helps you steer down the path to success.

8 Start Up Food Truck Business Tips:

  • Focus. Many first-time food truck operators feel the need to jump at every “opportunity” they are approached with. Opportunities are often wolves in sheep’s clothing. Avoid getting side-tracked. Juggling multiple ventures will spread you thin and limit both your effectiveness and productivity. Do one thing perfectly (your food), not 10 things poorly. If you feel the need to jump onto another project, that might mean something about your original concept.
  • Know what you do. Do what you know. Don’t start a food truck simply because it seems sexy or boasts large hypothetical profit margins and returns. Do what you love. Mobile food businesses built around your strengths and talents will have a greater chance of success. It’s not only important to create a profitable mobile venture, it’s also important that you’re happy managing and growing it day in and day out. If your heart isn’t in it, you will not be successful.
  • Say it in 30 seconds or don’t say it at all. From a chance encounter with an investor, a curious customer or even a local news crew, always be ready to pitch your food truck. State your truck’s mission, service and goals in a clear and concise manner. Fit the pitch to the person. Less is always more.
  • Know what you know, what you don’t know and who knows what you don’t. No one knows everything, so don’t come off as a know-it-all. Surround yourself with advisers and mentors who will nurture you to become a better mobile food vendor. Find successful, knowledgeable individuals in the food truck or restaurant industry with whom you share common interests and mutual business goals that see value in working with you for the long-term.
  • Act like a startup. Forget about a fancy office and fat expense account. Your wallet is your company’s life-blood. Practice and perfect the art of being frugal. Watch every dollar and triple-check every expense. Maintain a low overhead and manage your cash flow effectively.
  • Learn under fire. No food truck business book (although Running a Food Truck for Dummies comes close) or business plan can predict the future or fully prepare you to become a successful food truck operator. There is no such thing as the perfect plan. There is no perfect road or one less traveled. Never jump right into a food truck business without any thought or planning, but don’t spend months or years waiting to execute. You will become well-rounded when tested under fire. The most important thing you can do is learn from your mistakes–and never make the same mistake twice.
  • Be healthy. Owning a food truck is a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 profession. Working to the point of exhaustion will burn you out and make you less productive. Don’t make excuses. Eat right, exercise and find time for yourself.
  • Don’t fall victim to your own B.S.  Don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk. Impress with action not conversation. Endorse your business enthusiastically, yet tastefully. Avoid exaggerating truths and touting far reaching goals as certainties. In short, put up or shut up.

The Bottom Line

Launching a food truck comes with some pretty startling realities. Maybe some of start up food truck business tips will be familiar. Others you might have just stumbled onto for the first time. They’re all, however, reminders that owning and running food truck business is anything but easy. It’s worth it; but definitely not easy.

While there are many more start up food truck business tips that I could have given, this list is a great starting point. If you have additional tips, please feel free to share them in the comment section below or social media. Facebook | Twitter

2017-06-28T09:10:53+00:00 By |Startup Basics|

About the Author:

Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.


  1. Yelle D. Apr 11, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I’m 13 years old and I really want to have this kind of business, i know im too young but i am veeeeeeeeeery interested about this food truck thing. My uncle has his food truck but it isn’t presentable as i want mine someday to and i just cant wait to do this thing when i’ll have the money 🙂
    Nice advice, Thanks!

  2. Three Months In Jun 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    We opened March 31, 2014 with the full blessing of the city planning office in Bentonville, AR. Then the mayor found out they went behind his back and it’s been nothing but torture ever since. The latest: We can’t have wooden benches (fire hazard even though we are across the street from a fire station), we can’t leave *anything* on our leased property while out catering an event, including the wood trash receptacle. They started to say we had to take the dumpster as well, but that belongs to the county. Also, even though we couldn’t have a generator as a mobile energy source, and were forced to install an electric pole on the property, now we can’t have water put in. That would make us not a mobile business. So you see that they’re being random and just being jerks at this point. We’ve been asked to sell at the LPGA tournament next weekend, and have plenty of friends in high places…just not the mayor, or the head of the Sewer Dept who owns a competing food truck. So further advice for those of you thinking about being a food vendor: Know the rules, join the local Chamber of Commerce, meet the mayor, and make sure everyone who can have your permit yanked is not going to cause you harm before you make your big investment.

  3. Fizzah Iqbal Jun 30, 2016 at 4:42 am

    These are some really good and practical advice. Thanks a bunch for sharing.

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