Starting A New Food Truck? Ask These Questions First

Have you ever wondered about starting a new food truck? Before you spend a dime, or any of your valuable time you need to understand if entering the mobile food industry is right for you. As a preliminary step in this process we have come up with 5 questions everyone that is considering becoming a food truck vendor should ask themselves.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting A New Food Truck

Should I Start A New Food Truck Business?

In order to know if you should be starting a new food truck, you first need to make sure that you are starting it for the right reasons.

Examples of Good And Bad Reasons To Start A New Food Truck:

Good Reasons:

  • You have developed enough experience in food service that you think you can go out on you own and you can build your own customer base.
  • You have identified a missing food concept that your market has and think potential customers will pay you for solving this problem.
  • You have management and leadership experience and want to be in charge of your future.
  • You want the challenge.

Bad Reasons:

  • You hate your current boss.
  • You want to get rich.
  • You want to become famous.
  • You want to work fewer hours.

Do You Have The Skills To Start A New Food Truck?

A mistake that many failed food truck vendors have made, is confusing their desire to cook, with a desire to have their own food truck.

While having the ability to prepare great food is one of the things that will need to happen for your food truck to be successful, it is only one of many things.  If you aren’t able or don’t want to spend time marketing, managing, and dealing with the finances, then it doesn’t matter how good the food is.

Here are the primary skills that you (or your ownership team) will need to have at a minimum:

  • The ability to market and sell your food truck brand.
  • The ability to deliver a high quality food and service to your customers.
  • The ability to handle the finances.
  • The ability to manage yourself and staff members.

Do You Have The Right Mindset To Start A New Food Truck?

If you aren’t willing to do everything yourself then you are unlikely to be successful at starting a food truck.  This is especially true when you first start out because new food truck owners often wear the hats of the CEO, Chef, Truck and Equipment Mechanic, Social Media Manager, and Accountant.

If you aren’t willing to participate in every aspect of your mobile food business, then you are likely to fail as a result.

RELATED: The Many Hats Of Successful Food Trucks

Do You Have The Finances To Start A New Food Truck?

The amount of money you need to invest, and how long it takes for a food truck to become profitable varies widely depending on your food truck business model, your menu and your concept.  There is one thing that usually doesn’t vary in the mobile food industry; the actual cost and the amount of time to reach profitability takes longer than you will originally plan.

For your initial investment, consider that you may need 2 to 3 times the amount of capital that you estimate at the start.  As far as becoming profitable enough to be able to afford to pay yourself a regular salary you may need enough startup capital to pay your bills for the first 6 to 12 months.

If you do not have the means to support yourself for 6 months, then you may want to wait until you have more money banked or re-work your business plan so you can operate the truck on the side before you quit your existing job.

RELATED: How Much Does It Cost To Start A Food Truck Business

Do You Have A Personal Support Network?

The final question you should ask yourself is based on the fact that starting a new food truck and you are likely to run into ups and downs. You need to make sure that the people around you are supportive of this process.  If you are married or in a serious relationship, then does your significant other understand what starting a new food truck means for you and your family?

What your personal support network needs to know:

  • There is a possibility of failure when starting a new food truck business.
  • Operating a food truck requires that you work long hours.
  • There will be a lot of ups and downs which can affect your emotions.
  • How much personal spending will have to be cut down in your first years of operation.

Are there any other questions we left out for those looking at starting a food truck? Share your ideas in the comment section below or on social media. Facebook | Twitter

2017-03-31T08:40:22+00:00 By |Features, 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.

One Comment

  1. Rory Jun 9, 2017 at 5:33 am

    I have a large trailer, 45' we do smoked bbq. The rig is set up with just about everything a normal restaurant would have that kept the health inspector off my back because moving this size rig to and from a commissary each day is not an option. Now I have moved down south to SC. Things are different here as far as commissary laws. My new location is large enough for me to consider having a custom trailer built to park next to the vending rig that would act as my prep area storage walk in, plus I would like more work area. My question is, have you ever read or spoke with anyone who has ever built or used a separate unit to overcome the issue of pulling up stakes and returning to a commissary each night just to do the same work that can be done on the rig itself? I am not on the street, I lease a parking lot, am tied into city water, sewer, that goes through a grease trap, covered all my bases. Your thoughts?

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