Getting Your Food Truck Past The First Year Of Business

One of the riskiest times for any business especially those in the mobile food industry is when it first opens. In the first two years, three of every ten startups go out of business according to the US SBA. And while they also claim that by five years, half those startups are history, the mobile food industry is still so new, we can’t confirm that this statistic applies yet.

So how can you improve the odds that your food truck start up will survive that tough first year of business?

5 Steps To Getting Your Food Truck Past The First Year Of Business

  • Talk to customers. Doing market research at before you launch can help you avoid so many mistakes. You’ll have the right menu, at the right price, in the right area.
  • Choose your location carefully. Whether you’re in a town where you can park on public streets or one where you will be parked in a vacant lot, make sure your truck, cart or trailer is where it needs to be.
  • Keep expenses down. Look for every possible way to save. This will allow you to keep going longer, hopefully until revenue starts to cover your nut. Hire culinary interns, postpone unnecessary purchases, or pick up a broom and do it yourself. Do it all yourself, for as long as needed.
  • Plan for problems. The only thing as sure as death and taxes is that unexpected issues will crop up with your newly born food truck business. Sit down and think about everything that could go wrong — then, make a plan for how you will survive each possible scenario.
  • Analyze your numbers. Even though it’s hard to find time in those crazy days after you first hit the streets, it’s important to stop and look at your numbers to see where your mobile food business is headed. Is that where you want to go? If not, change course. Most successful food trucks went through multiple iterations before they found their groove.

Are you an owner that has made it past the first year of business? How did you do it? Share your story in the comment section below or on social media. Facebook | Twitter

2015-10-14T11:14:48+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. Mollys great Chicago fire Nov 24, 2012 at 6:18 am

    One more excellent point being a food truck owner and actually going though this , most equipment on Food Trucks are not meant for hot weather such as this last summer in Indy. Cold prep tables , refrig, freezers ect cannot keep up with heat intake and trying to cool temps to legal temperatures. Make sure to have a good air conditioner installed in your food truck and start your truck one hour before turning on equipment that needs to be a certain temp. This will save you ALLOTT of money in the long run. More tips to come…. Good luck
    Molly’s great Chicago fire, Indianapolis Indiana.

  2. Wes Wright Oct 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    i second that. My trick was to put a small fan by my cooler to increase air intake and put 1 in of space between cooler and wall. About the article, I had to revamp my menu several times to make it approachable and seeker friendly. My menu is amazing now and I kill it when parked with other trucks because our menu fits our town so well. I had to purchase some extra equipment to make my own chips but the savings is ridiculous and people go crazy for them. Managing food & labor costs, refinancing when you can, adapting and overcoming are key to this industry. Most it seems have never seen labor broken down per hour represented as a percentage of sales to measure productivity or profit. This is vital…. and doing most of it yourself when possible. Build a menu that is attractive, easy to manage and prep and always have signature items available. Nothing can hurt your business more than running out of someone’s favorite after they found online where you were parked and cannot get what they made the trip for.

  3. Mobile Cuisine Oct 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Awesome suggestions Wes!!!

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