Not every prospective food truck owner is going to be able to purchase a fully designed and equipped mobile kitchen. Many may even want to build a food truck from scratch. Because of this we have put an article together with the basic steps in food truck design. Look at these mobile kitchen tips before you start looking for food trucks for sale or begin the process of installing your food truck equipment or before you begin the process of bolting in their fryer or flat top grill.
A well-designed food truck kitchen is an absolute must if you want your mobile kitchen to be efficient and safe. Careful planning in the design of the kitchen will save you money and time during the build-out phase and over time will increase the profitability of your truck.
A food truck kitchen design is primarily dictated by the minimal space you have as well as your required equipment and budget. When designing your food truck’s kitchen, consider ergonomics as this will always be appreciated by the chef and truck’s other on-board employees.
Mobile Kitchen and Food Truck Design Basics
List Your Menu Items
Prepare a detailed list or menu of all foods you plan to prepare in the truck. Describe in detail the method of food storage and preparation. This is one of the most important steps in planning any type of kitchen and should be done prior to choosing equipment. You do not know what kind of equipment you will need until you have decided on the foods you will prepare.
Include all menu items you may wish to add in the future. Proper planning will avoid costly changes you could run into if these changes need to be made after the kitchen has been completed.
List Your Food Truck Equipment
Create a complete list (including detailed measurements) of all equipment you will require. Be sure to include on-board food prep, refrigeration, and storage. Every single item of equipment must meet commercial health code requirements. The size and amount of equipment, plus food preparation counter surface, will dictate the amount of space your food truck kitchen must have.
If you are using a used truck be sure to take exact measurements of the size of the space set aside for the kitchen. Make note of existing service windows, doorways, and electrical outlets. Make a sketch of the existing space, making note of the present flooring material, wall and ceiling surface and all heating, exhaust or air-conditioning vents. For a new truck, draw out a rough sketch of the dimensions and special features of the proposed construction of your mobile kitchen.
Plan Your Food Truck Design
Plan how you will use the space with your plan of the food truck equipment inside your mobile kitchen. Ergonomics is the number one consideration in the design of kitchen space. Your kitchen should be designed for maximum labor efficiency, safety and functionality.
Make sure that there is plenty of room to move about freely when carrying hot pots and bulky supplies. If employees do not have to waste time and extra movement completing a task, efficiency is increased. Fatigue and workplace injuries will also be reduced.
Setup a Review for Your Food Truck Design
Contact your local city or state department tasked with reviewing all mobile kitchens. Make an appointment to review your preliminary plans. Health and fire codes must be met. The kitchen area may need to be remodeled to satisfy requirements even if the truck had been licensed in the past.
Regulations govern how far a food preparation area must be away from any sinks or electrical outlets, the installation of vents, and the size and temperature capacity of insta-hot water units. Make sure you receive a printed copy of all rules and regulations prior to designing the trucks kitchen space. Regulations vary from state to state. City or county ordinances may also apply.
If you don’t have the skills to layout or build your kitchen yourself employ a mobile kitchen builder to design the kitchen. They will be able to incorporate all building and health department rules that apply.
Prior to purchasing equipment or commencing construction, in many municipalities the detailed drawings or blueprints must be reviewed and officially approved by both the health department and fire inspector. In many cities across the country the blueprints must include:
- Electrical wiring schematics.
- Fire suppression equipment installation drawings.
- Plumbing plans.
- Electrical installation plans.
- Complete list of all building materials used.
The Bottom Line
We hope these tips will help those of you who want to know how to build a food truck from scratch or how to design a well-thought out mobile kitchen to run your food truck business.