The Real Cost to Buy a Food Truck (2021 Edition)
What does a food truck cost? If you’re thinking about starting a food truck company, you’re undoubtedly wondering, “How much does a food truck cost?” A food truck can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $175,000, depending on its features and specifications. In this post, we’ll go over the three options you have when it comes to purchasing a food truck, as well as the expenses and hazards connected with each. Because of our ten years of expertise in the food truck sector, we understand that the decisions you make when purchasing a food truck will have an impact on your business for the duration of its existence.
We discuss the current prices in the food truck market, as well as the true and hidden expenses and hazards, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type of food truck.
Food Truck Prices (A Quick Overview)
If you’re thinking about starting a food truck business, or even if you’re just thinking about it, your first inquiry is almost always about pricing. It’s a question that we receive on a daily basis from aspiring chefs and company owners who want to make their culinary and entrepreneurial aspirations a reality. For a brief summary of what you might anticipate to pay when purchasing a food truck, consider the following: A secondhand food truck will cost between $50,000 and $100,000. For lower-quality vehicles in the $50,000 range, the chance of unexpected repair expenditures for the engine and kitchen is considerable, as is the possibility of hidden costs for other components.
Building a new kitchen can benefit you in the long run, while purchasing a used vehicle may result in mechanical issues that prevent you from getting back on the road.
When you buy a new kitchen and a new vehicle at the same time, you’ll have a lot fewer surprises down the road.
This has an impact on both new and secondhand equipment.
Buying a Used, As-Is Food Truck (Cheap But Risky)
The first option available to you is to purchase a used, “as-is” food truck, which means that you will receive the vehicle and equipment in the condition in which they were found. It’s like buying a home that’s a fixer-upper. An older vehicle may be purchased for roughly $50,000, and you can occasionally locate one on theRoaming Hunger Marketplace for as little as $35,000 or even less. It is possible to sell a modern, custom-built old vehicle for as much as $100,000 or more, depending on the specifications.
What you see, and sometimes what you don’t see, is what you get. Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages of making this decision:
1. Affordability is important. Buying an old food truck is a good deal on the price. Compared to the sticker price of a new food truck, the sticker price of a used food truck in as-is condition is much cheaper. If you’re financing a vehicle on your own and don’t want to take out a loan, the cost will be a big issue in your decision.
1. It is probable that warranties have expired. If there were any warranties in place for the car or the kitchen equipment, they will very certainly have expired by this point. That implies that if something goes wrong, you’re on your own. 2. Breakdowns and issues that occur unexpectedly When you purchase a secondhand vehicle and equipment, you have no way of knowing for certain what will work and what will not. Depending on whether the owner is ready to sell, determining the general condition of the truck and kitchen may be difficult.
- You run the danger of being saddled with a significant amount of repair work.
- The use of a free car history report is one precaution you should take.
- It could also be a good idea to check into food truck insurance in order to account for and be prepared for these unforeseen situations in the future.
- Obtaining outside money is difficult.
- Because the condition of the vehicle and equipment is uncertain, banks and finance brokers are unable to issue a loan because it would be too dangerous.
- In addition, when you buy used, you are trapped with the kitchen layout and equipment that it comes with, which may or may not be suitable for your food idea (for example, you cannot bake pizza on an open-air food trailer).
- If you decide to make significant alterations, you’ll almost certainly need to re-submit fresh designs for permit approval and then undergo a second inspection by your local government agency before you can go back on the road.
- Difficulties with permits and inspections Just because a food truck has been on the road in the past does not imply that it is ready to operate again.
- It might be in need of extensive cleaning or aesthetic repairs both inside and out.
Preparing your kitchen to be chef-worthy will need at the very least a significant amount of time and effort. Alternatively, if you hire a professional, you may expect to spend up to $500 for a deep clean + $800 for a necessary hood cleaning.
Cost to Buy a New Kitchen On a Used Truck Chassis
Purchase a new kitchen and have it fitted on a previously used vehicle if that is your preference. Consider the situation as if you were building an extension onto an existing home. The cost might vary substantially, much as when purchasing an as-is truck, but you should anticipate to pay between $75,000 and $100,000 for a used truck in good condition. Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages of making this decision:
1. A new kitchen on wheels that is mobile. This means that your new kitchen will be created from the ground up and personalized to meet your specific needs and cuisine concept. You want every inch of your food truck kitchen to be as practical as possible because they are such limited areas. Every appliance and work surface in a new kitchen has a chance to promote your cuisine concept and increase sales as a result of the renovation. Preparing your kitchen with care might be the difference between a successful business and one that is doomed to failure.
If you’re looking for more kitchen layout ideas, check out our post on food truck commissaries.
GET STARTED WITH A CUSTOM FOOD TRUCK BUILD HERE.
2. There is the possibility of financing When you purchase a new kitchen on a used truck, you will have a greater variety of financing alternatives to choose from. This is due to the fact that both you and the bank recognize the importance of the two components that make up the total. Providing the bank with receipts from the builder will allow them to compute an estimate of the overall cost and worth of the kitchen. Banks are comfortable with this arrangement because of these receipts and the fact that used commercial trucks are purchased, sold, and financed on a daily basis.
- The installation of new appliances in a kitchen implies that the appliances are covered by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- These cheaper long-term maintenance expenses should be taken into consideration when deciding whether to purchase a used or new kitchen.
- It is rather simple to locate a secondhand truck chassis.
- Of course, this might be a risky investment because maintenance records and mechanical examinations are not always included with the equipment.
In order to make certain that you’re minimizing the possibility of anything going wrong, you may wish to totally overhaul your engine. Your builder may also assist you in locating a truck chassis and obtaining your approval before proceeding with the construction.
1. The dependability of the truck is in question. It is possible that a used truck will not be as dependable as you would like it to be. Large transportation businesses like as UPS and FedEx provide used truck chassis to the food truck manufacturing industry, and their fleet vehicles are one of the most important suppliers of used truck chassis. It is difficult to locate a modern truck chassis with fewer than 100,000 miles because these organizations often use them as part of their fleet for roughly seven years before selling them.
- It’s also possible that the repairs will take a long time.
- Ford F-59 step vans, Chevrolet P-30 step vans, and Freightliner MT55s are some of the most popular vehicle models for food trucks currently on the market.
Specifically in the food truck capital of the world—Los Angeles—new regulations require diesel trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds (most weigh between 12,000 and 16,000 pounds) to either install a $10,000-plus converter kit or replace their existing engine in order to comply with stricter emissions standards than those in place prior to 2009.
- Purchasing a vehicle that does not meet the most stringent safety requirements now might cost you a significant sum of money in the future as rules evolve.
- Even while installing a new kitchen on an old vehicle will save you money in the short term, it will require you to invest further funds to keep it working.
- These expenses should be considered when deciding whether to purchase a used or new truck.
Cost to Buy a New Truck With a New Kitchen
One major concern is the dependability of the truck. Used trucks may not be as trustworthy as you would like them to be, so keep this in mind while shopping for one. One of the most important sources of old truck chassis for the food truck manufacturing business comes from large shipping corporations such as UPS or FedEx. It is difficult to locate a modern truck chassis with fewer than 100,000 miles because these organizations often use them as part of their fleet for roughly seven years before selling them.
- Due to a broken vehicle, revenue was lost.
- Also, it’s possible that the repairs will take a long time.
- Current used vehicles aren’t designed to withstand the demands of future standards.
- Despite the fact that they are reliable vehicles, rules and regulatory requirements are continuously changing, so businesses should purchase a truck that satisfies the toughest of criteria in order to prevent additional charges down the line.
- A phase-in period of six years is planned, with the last phase of implementation scheduled to conclude in 2023.
- Think of building your kitchen on a hybrid truck chassis, such as the Toyota Hino, to save on fuel costs and emissions.
- Even while installing a new kitchen on an old vehicle will save you money in the short term, the truck will require ongoing maintenance and repair.
Within the first three to five years of owning a secondhand truck, you should expect to deal with several major issues. Your decision to purchase a used or new truck should take into consideration these expenses.
1. The truck is covered by a warranty. Purchasing a new vehicle is accompanied with warranties, which are typically five years and 100,000-250,000 miles in length, depending on the truck type. When compared to the repairs you would have to do on even a well-maintained used truck, this guarantee may save you thousands of dollars. The guarantee on a new chassis can easily make up for the price difference between a used vehicle and a new truck in terms of overall value. 2. Save money by taking advantage of cheaper interest rates.
- Did you know that you may receive financing for both your new automobile and your new kitchen in one go?
- The difference in interest rates of 1.5 percent might result in significant savings on your monthly payments.
- Dependability on which you can rely With a new truck, you will have the dependability you need to create a loyal client base and a strong reputation, both of which are critical components of success in the food truck industry.
- When it comes to running a successful food truck business, dependability is essential, and it should not be disregarded when making the choice to purchase one.
- Invest in a truck that fulfills strict requirements.
- Foresight of this kind ensures that you’ll be able to manage your company from virtually any location in the country for many years to come.
- Increased resale value of the property If you decide to sell your food truck, you will receive a greater return on your investment than if you were to sell an older vehicle.
- When compared to secondhand food trucks that have been converted into new kitchens on old truck chassis, which may sell for $50,000 to $85,000 depending on the equipment and condition, this is a bargain.
1. Higher initial outlay of funds It is true that the upfront expenses of installing a new kitchen on an existing truck are greater than those of the other choices outlined, but this may not be a barrier for people seeking to spend less money immediately.
The reason for the increased price up front is because you’re paying for a whole new kitchen build out that will be customized to meet your specific requirements.
BONUS: Consider a Lease-To-Own Food Truck
Leasing a food truck is a viable alternative to purchasing a food truck. If you talk to food truck operators, you may be able to discover an existing food truck to lease from one of their locations, based on our experience. We don’t have a firm understanding of how much monthly fees vary, although we’ve heard that some cities charge as much as $4,500 each month. You may learn more about leasing a food truck by visiting our lease-to-own program, which is designed for entrepreneurs and already established companies.
- Please visit our Food Truck Lease Page for additional details.
- Can you tell me how much it costs to hire a food truck?
- In the past, we’ve assisted a number of customers in acquiring food trucks for short-term leasing purposes.
- We are not aware of any low-cost choices for long-term leases at this time.
- While this is too much for most entrepreneurs, it may be worthwhile to investigate for those who already have a firm.
Some Final Thoughts to Keep in Mind
So, how much does it cost to operate a food truck? We hope you now have the answers you were looking for. It is certain that the type of vehicle and kitchen you purchase is a significant decision. Each alternative has its own set of fees, some of which are upfront and others which are concealed, as well as its own set of hazards. In the event that you are unsure of what is best for you, continue your study and development of your company strategy. However, you should also follow your intuition.
Also, keep in mind that we are accessible to speak with you at any time of day or night.
Once your business is up and running, we will not only offer you honest advise and share what we have learned over the years, but we will also assist you in connecting with trusted food truck builders and connecting you with our Roaming Hunger vendor network once your business is up and running.
How Much Does a Food Truck Cost to Operate?
The popularity of food trucks has soared in various areas over the past decade, owing in large part to the low operating expenses associated with the company. However, even though it is far less expensive than launching a standard brick-and-mortar restaurant, beginning a food truck business generally involves a large financial commitment.
It is possible to spend $50,000 to $175,000 on the purchase and equipping of a new pickup vehicle. A strong food truck business plan and a reasonable budget are essential for any restaurant launch, just as they are for any other type of establishment.
The expenses of establishing a food truck vary from state to state, based on the availability of licenses, permits, and other fees. A modest truck with a minimal mobile kitchen and storage may be purchased for as little as $50,000, allowing you to get started right away. That amount would cover the cost of the truck as well as the majority of the initial kitchen equipment purchases. But keep in mind that you get what you pay for. A food truck is first and foremost a mode of transportation. In contrast to a fixed structure, you want this restaurant to be dependable in terms of transportation.
Have any car you’re contemplating, no matter how simple or sophisticated, inspected by a reputable technician before making a decision.
If you are ready to pay $100,000 or more, you may upgrade your truck with more bells and whistles or get a completely new vehicle.
The sort of food truck you wish to operate can also have an impact on your initial expenses, as preparation equipment can vary greatly.
Daily Operating Costs
The expenses of establishing a food truck vary from state to state, based on the availability of licenses, permits, and other requirements. You could even get started with as low as $50,000 for a basic truck equipped with a mobile kitchen and storage space. All of the original kitchen equipment, as well as the truck, would be covered by this sum. However, keep in mind that you get what you pay for in most cases. Firstly, and foremost, a food truck is a mode of transportation. This restaurant, in contrast to a fixed structure, must be accessible by dependable transportation.
Have any car you’re considering, no matter how simple or sophisticated, inspected by a reputable mechanic before you buy it.
Extra bells and whistles, as well as a totally new vehicle, are available for purchase if you are ready to pay $100,000 or more.
Starting expenses will also be influenced by the sort of food truck you intend to operate, as preparation equipment can vary greatly.
A business plan is required for funding a food truck, just as it is for any other new restaurant venture. When creating yours, keep in mind your menu, your target clients, and your marketing strategy, for example. Once you have a company plan in hand, you may look at funding options such as small business administrations, banks, private lenders, and investors. The ability to reduce your interest payments and investor commitments may be available to you if there are assets you may dispose in order to obtain part of the necessary startup money.
You could come across a local restaurateur who is interested in investing in your food truck as a way to expand her business.
You may use this knowledge to help you launch your own food truck in the future, and the banks will appreciate the fact that you’ve gained valuable hands-on experience in the industry while working for them.
Do Your Homework
Food trucks are a less expensive option to break into the restaurant industry than traditional methods. It’s important not to go into it with rose-colored glasses, though. When starting a food truck company, food truck owners are confronted with unexpected realities, and many of them have shared their experiences with FoodTruckr, including things they wish they’d known ahead. A significant number of them stated that they were surprised by licensing and permission requirements. It is possible that the procedure will take months.
Finally, keep in mind that you’ll need to figure out how much it will cost to establish a profitable food truck in your area.
Large markets, like small markets, differ significantly from one another, so don’t assume that what works in one region will immediately work in the other.
Before you write your first check, be sure you understand the food truck climate in your region.
Food Truck Startup Costs
If you have no past expertise in the culinary sector, the amount of labor necessary to create a bricks and mortar restaurant of your own might seem overwhelming. For those who are interested in starting their own catering business, a food truck may be the ideal starting point. New food truck owners are launching operations all the time, and the sector as a whole is presently valued at over $1.2 billion, suggesting that now may be an excellent moment to start your new enterprise. We’re taking a close look at the costs associated with launching a food truck in order to assist you in making your culinary ambitions a reality.
Writing a business plan
Almost always, money is the primary obstacle that prevents entrepreneurs from realizing their dreams in the first place. As a new business owner, the first step is to prepare a business plan that outlines your goals and objectives. This should be focused on your financial predictions, including your first capital requirements, a careful examination of the expected food truck expenses, and your expectations for how your firm will expand in its first few years of operation. More research you conduct in the early phases of your business, and the more complete your study is, the easier it should be for you to get your firm up and operating in the future.
Resources and equipment
The food truck itself will be your most significant investment; the cost of purchasing one of these specialized trucks can vary significantly from one to the next.
At the low end of the spectrum, you may expect to pay roughly $50,000; however, costs for new food trucks, particularly those that are completely outfitted and adorned, can be significantly more. Other expenses that must be considered are as follows:
- Insurance costs between $2,000 and $4,000 per year
- Initial food expenditures and inventory costs between $1,000 and $2,000
- Uniforms costs between $0 and $1,000. Paper items (plates, napkins, and so on) cost $200 to $300
- A website costs $0 to $5,000.
Hiring a team and finding vendors
When you operate your own food truck, one of the advantages is that they only require a small number of employees to keep them running. Consequently, if you intend to operate in the truck alone, you will only require one or potentially two staff at the most. In general, the typical salary you may anticipate to pay your employees will differ from one state to another.
- Minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour
- The average compensation for a food truck manager is $12.11 per hour.
If you want your food truck venture to be a success, you’ll need to hire qualified employees as well as find trustworthy providers. Take into consideration that you will be marking up the price of components by around 300 percent, so you will need to consider your profit and loss margins while evaluating prices.
Getting your paperwork in order
When starting a new business, paperwork is a critical component of the process. Despite the fact that your food truck will be on the go, you will still require a variety of permissions and licenses before you can begin operating. These are some examples:
- Employer Identification Number
- Business License
- Vehicle License
- Seller’s Permit (available in some states only)
- Food Safety/Food Handler’s Permit
- Health Department Permit
- Fire Certificate
- Employer Identification Number
Choosing the right payment solution for your business
In general, customers who order from food trucks want their orders to be delivered as promptly as they can. The opportunity to pay using a number of methods will also be appreciated by the majority of clients. To do this, you’ll need to invest in a point of sale system that can process payments quickly and efficiently, as well as accept a variety of payment ways from your customers. According on the POS system bundle you select, the price of your system will fluctuate. While some service providers charge a set price for each transaction, others customize each transaction depending on a range of parameters.
Invest in marketing
Despite the fact that many businesses spend a significant amount of money on marketing, there are several techniques to keep marketing expenses as low as possible. S ocial media is used by many food truck operators, and it can be an incredibly successful marketing tool. It is also a terrific method to get your brand name out there and attract new customers to your business. These are just a few examples of strategies for attracting customers:
- Create a menu with enticing stuff and post it
- Advertisements that are free or low-cost
- Provide incentives or discount vouchers to encourage people to interact with you
- Join forces with other food trucks in your neighborhood
Food truck stats
In the five years between 2007 and 2012, the food truck business saw an average annual growth rate of 8.4 percent. Overall, it costs between $28,000 to $114,000 to establish a food truck business, with the average food truck making around $300,000 per year. Starting your own business may be quite fulfilling, especially if it proves to be a financial success. Financial forecasting is the most crucial aspect of launching any new firm since it is the most difficult to get right. Make certain that your cost breakdown is as exact as possible in order to avoid any surprises later on in the process.
How Much Does a Food Truck Cost?
How much does it cost to operate a food truck? Briefly, the cost is around $50,000 on the low end, at least in California. Getting a food truck business off the ground may be quite expensive, depending on who you are, where you are, and what your objectives are. With good reason, food trucks have piqued the curiosity of those working in the culinary and hospitality industries in recent years. Beginning with a food truck, rather than with a brick-and-mortar restaurant, first-time entrepreneurs will encounter far fewer barriers to entry than they would with a traditional restaurant since the prices are more inexpensive and you do not require a solid business experience.
Our conversation was with Matt Cohen, the founder and CEO of Off the Grid, a network of gourmet mobile food trucks that holds weekly markets at various places around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Here are the 12 items you’ll need to get a food truck up and running, along with Matt’s estimates for how much each item will cost (based on typical costs in the Bay Area).
1. Business Plan
Most people are aware that they need a business plan to establish a brick-and-mortar restaurant, but Matt believes they are also necessary for those who want to start a food truck company. “More and more, the vehicles that are entering the market are being driven by smart individuals who have developed business strategies,” he adds. In terms of marketing themselves, communicating with consumers, and determining what their core value is that they are giving, they are well-versed. When developing a business plan, it is common for some of the assumptions to need to be revised on the fly.
According to Matt, each state has its own set of rules for what constitutes acceptable building standards for a lawful mobile food unit. For the most part, it’s a good idea to start with a food truck manufacturer in your state to obtain an estimate and an understanding of what to expect in terms of construction regulations, according to Mr. Smitherman. Afterwards, you might solicit bids from builders located outside of your state in order to have a better grasp of the competitive landscape. All food truck manufacturers will be conversant with the construction codes that must be followed in order for the truck to function.
Food truck costs vary widely around the United States, but Matt estimates that an owner in the Bay Area could anticipate to pay approximately $50,000 on the least end of that spectrum.
And just so you know, food trailers and carts are substantially less expensive than trucks and vans because you are not purchasing the vehicle.
A trailer in Portland, according to him, may cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 in total.
3. Commercial Kitchen
Each mobile business has its own set of requirements, although the majority of modern food trucks operate out of a commercial kitchen, which is a common area where they produce and store food. When the truck is ready to go out and serve, it is picked up from the kitchen by the catering staff. The cost of commercial kitchen rent should be factored into the launch expenses of larger enterprises, or those that want to expand. Having one makes it much easier to expand your business by opening a second vehicle and expanding your customer base.
4. Truck Commissary
Similar to this, you’ll require a safe location to keep your car. You’ll need electricity to keep your food overnight, as well as fresh water, and you’ll need to be able to refill the propane tank in your vehicle. Fortunately, truck commissaries are available to help out in this situation. If you have to pay rent for your office space, there is another another possible starting expense. Unlike in certain cities, where truck commissaries and commercial kitchens are located in the same general region, in other places, this infrastructure is not as clearly defined as it should be.
- “Suppose you have to be at a lunch service at 10 o’clock; you’re going to serve at 11 o’clock.” Those vendors require a half-hour of travel time, which means they must arrive by 9:30 a.m.
- It’s 8:45 p.m.
- To go from the truck commissary to the kitchen commissary, you’ll need to travel another 20 minutes, which will take around 8:30.
- The day might begin as early as 6 a.m.
- “It’s only for the first lunch shift,” says the narrator.
and end at midnight. It takes more effort and time to get from point A to point B than you save by having a lower initial cost, says the author. Estimated monthly costs range from $500 to $1,500 per vehicle (depending on services available)
5. Health Permit
As a food truck operator, one of the first things you’ll need to do is obtain your health permit, which will govern where you’re allowed to serve your customers. That, in turn, will affect many aspects of your business, including the location, hours of operation, target clientele, and potential collaborations with other street food sellers. Obtaining a vendor’s health permit, according to Matt, is the first step in his connection with them at Off the Grid. This will give him an idea of the possibilities that are accessible to them and the vacancies that he has in those areas.
6. Route Plan
Food trucks are not guaranteed a parking spot on the street. According to Matt, “what you get in a cheaper option to a restaurant, you forfeit in the stability of having a roof over your head or a guaranteed parking place.” Preparing a route plan that includes both places where your vehicle can travel and places where you will be able to reach an eager client base will need study; however, staying with tried-and-true areas will save time over the course of your business.
The number of workers required to manage a food truck isn’t set in stone, but it all starts with one person: you. According to Matt, “the reason why a street food company was initially successful for entrepreneurs was because it could be owner operated for a long period of time and create a fairly good income for its owner.” In the end, your employment requirements are dictated by the type of business you wish to operate. Trucks in high-volume areas such as the Bay Area may have four to six persons working inside them to fulfill the large amount of orders received.
Successful food trucks specialize on a few things really well; they don’t need to provide a 20-item menu to be successful. “In a restaurant, you have a long menu to serve the same group of people all of the time in a specific neighborhood,” Matt adds. The difference between a food truck and a traditional restaurant is that their area is always changing and offering new services. The menus are typically significantly more limited and geared toward speciality dishes than at other restaurants. It’s an opportunity to become well-known for a certain thing.” The sweet spot is between two and three main menu items, plus a dessert choice and a selection of beverages.
Also, keep in mind that consumers make decisions with their eyes, so it’s critical to express precisely what you’re serving, from the exterior of the vehicle to the menu itself.
According to Matt, “Street food is not a nuanced business.” Matt also recommended that foods be used in a variety of menu items in order to get the greatest amount of efficiency.
“Customization is possible, but you may use the same marinated pork in your tortilla that you use on top of the French fries, for example,” says the chef. In general, 25-33 percent of the total expenditure is attributed to food.
Numerous cities have vibrant street food scenes, each with its own unique specialties that are worth exploring more. Los Angeles is well-known for its loncheras, or traditional Hispanic food trucks, which can be seen throughout the city. Portland has a thriving food trailer culture, where it is very inexpensive to get started and the food options are diverse and affordable. In New York, there is a broad selection of food trucks and carts, including halal merchants that set up shop on the city’s streets.
A large number of street food vendors, many of whom specialize in barbecue and Southern cuisine, can also be found throughout Austin.
10. Social MediaMarketing
Once you’ve decided on the sort of food you’ll be serving and identified a route that would accommodate it, you’ll need to find a way to reach your consumers. It is one of the very wonderful things about food trucks because the proprietors build face-to-face connections with their client base, which helps to establish a sense of identity for the business. Matt explains that social media marketing is an extension of this strategy. It’s an opportunity to accentuate that personality in a certain manner, which is why social media has been so successful for food trucks.” Last but not least, food trucks are on the move.
A website and marketing assistance might cost anywhere from $50 to $50,000, depending on the complexity of the project.
Organizations like as Off the Grid bring together a large number of mobile food sellers in a single place for a street food spectacular that has proven to be extremely successful in drawing new customers. Participating in these events is an excellent approach to reach a larger number of individuals. As soon as vendors have their health permit, they may apply to collaborate with Off the Grid and will be evaluated for different possibilities that arise, which will be based on their company objectives and top-priority needs (lunch service vs.
12. Sense of Humor
Do not take it too seriously – after all, it is only street food! When it comes to food truck enterprises, Matt adds, “a sense of humour and a sense of whimsy seems to be key.” “Having and conveying a sense of humor is vital because it allows you to connect more effectively with your audience and consumer base.”
2021 Average Cost of a Food Truck (with Price Factors)
The cost of a food truck menu is determined on the firm you employ. In addition to specializing in a specific cuisine, food trucks may be owned by catering companies that have begun to provide mobile services via trucks and carts and offer a wide range of menu items that are prepared fresh from the truck at the event. Dim sum, tacos, and falafel are examples of cuisines that are served by food trucks. Additionally, they may be a mobile extension of a typical brick-and-mortar restaurant that will come to your location.
- There is a possibility of hiring a single food truck to offer all of the food for your whole event.
- You may wish to rent many speciality food trucks for larger events in order to create a dining experience similar to that of a festival at your venue.
- If you have a large number of attendees, hiring numerous food trucks can also assist to speed up food delivery because a single truck serving food to order may not be enough to feed the full party in a reasonable amount of time.
- To keep guests pleased and satisfied after a late-night wedding reception or birthday party, consider bringing in an after-hours food truck for a midnight snack, such as doughnuts or sliders, that will send them home satisfied and happy.
- Companies often charge based on the amount of people they are serving as well as the menu, cuisine, and theme that is selected.
- The cost of the meals, which include delivery, varies depending on how far away their location is from the client site.
- Flat charges begin at $600 and go higher from there.
Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jerry’s Kitchen and Farmstead Foods provides three levels of themed menu options that include a range of food truck meals, as well as a full bar and a full bar. The following are some examples of menu items and associated food costs:
- Tacos go from $14 to $29 per person
- Cheesesteaks range from $15 to $29 per person
- Cutlet sandwiches range from $14 to $29 per person
- And a hummus bar is from $8 to $18 per person.
Tacos range from $14 to $29 per person; cheesesteaks range from $15 to $29 per person; cutlet sandwiches range from $14 to $29 per person; and a hummus bar is from $8 to $18 per person.
How Much Does it Really Cost to Start a Food Truck
What foodie hasn’t fantasized of ditching their 9-to-5 jobs in order to pursue their culinary dreams and own a food truck that would be worthy of being featured on Instagram? If you’ve recently had butterflies in your stomach, it’s most likely a result of your unwavering excitement getting the better of you rather than a warning that it’s time to eat lunch. Consider yourself discouraged because you are worried about how much it will cost to start a food truck business. Now is not the time to be discouraged.
- Because no small company owner should enter a $1.2 billion market blindly, we’ve put up a useful reference guide to make sure you know precisely what you’re getting into before you start.
- I think you’re accurate to a certain extent.
- When beginning a mobile company, expenditures will vary (just like they would for any other restaurant), but you should anticipate to spend between $28,000 to $114,000 on the venture.
- Here are a few things to think about.
- Composing a business strategy
- Food truck vehicle expenses
- Food and other supplies
- And For the food truck, there is insurance. A license or permission is required
- Certificates are also required. Parking for food trucks
- Getting your food truck noticed
- The process of hiring and training new workers Making a profit by putting money back in your pocket
Riding the food truck wave?
Don’t forget to take these important procedures before you launch your business! Take a look at the elements that must be completed in order to have a good opening.
Writing a business plan
First and foremost, the food truck sector is a very competitive environment. Initially regarded as a gold rush for ambitious entrepreneurs, the market has since developed into a more mature one. Experienced restaurateurs are flocking to the area in order to grab a piece of the action, and some are even using food trucks to promote their main brick-and-mortar establishments in local communities. It will need a great amount of preparation to optimize your chances of success in the face of this level of competition.
The most effective approach to accomplish this is to develop a typical business strategy.
The expenses associated with this service might range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the intricacy of your organization and the quantity of labor you want.
Food truck vehicle costs
When it comes to food truck starting fees, this one is the most obvious. But, regardless of the outcome, the cost of obtaining your real truck must be considered. Prices will vary depending on the car. You’ll see everything from the fresh new Lamborghini of food trucks to your everyday 1985 jalopy on the streets of New York City. Price ranges from $50,000 to $200,000, depending on whether you get a brand new or used vehicle. Remember, this also doesn’t include the expense of painting and outfitting the truck—such as creating and putting a truck wrap, as well as adding any additional burners, fryers, refrigerators or otherrestaurant equipmentyour particular menu would call for.
- If your speciality cuisine permits for this sort of arrangement, you may even want to explore starting a food cart, coffee truck, or concession company rather than a traditional food truck.
- A food cart would have a lower start-up cost, and the laws surrounding operations would likely be less stringent than those that would apply to a food truck.
- Alternatively, they may have an old one that they are prepared to sell, rent, or lease to your company.
- Lastly, bear in mind that larger may not always be better.
- This can cost anywhere from $100–$300 for state licensing in the United States, and up to $1000–$3000 if you include the additional cost of commercial driver lessons to ensure you can pass a CDL road test on the first try.
Food and other supplies
In addition, you’ll need to set aside a portion of your beginning funds to purchase the food and materials you’ll need to prepare and serve your dishes. According to restaurant experts, your food expenditures should account for 28 percent to 35 percent of the amount you charge for the goods you offer. Consequently, if you sell a taco for $1.00, your food cost for that taco should be between $0.28 and $0.35, or else you risk experiencing cash flow problems in the future.
Insurance for the food truck (and business)
In fact, just like with any little (or large) firm, you must ensure that your assets are protected at all times. Expect yearly insurance rates to range between $300 and $600 for a food truck business that is just getting off the ground. Your food truck should be insured for everything from general liability insurance to vehicle accidents and foodborne disease, as well as workers’ compensation insurance for you and your staff, among other things.
Make sure to consult with an insurance professional for guidance on which types of insurance are most appropriate for your company.
Licenses, permits and certifications—oh my!
To discuss the costs of starting a food truck company, we must first discuss the many licenses, permissions and certifications that will be required in order for the business to be successful. Aside from the health department, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops in order to secure the necessary permissions, and you’ll have to pay a fee in order to submit your application. When developing your food truck business plan, these expenses should be included as part of your starting costs as well as recurrent costs, depending on how frequently you will need to renew your license.
The best advise we can provide you is to check with all local (state, city, county, borough, township, and so on.) governments once you have a general idea of what corner of the street you want to operate on to ensure that you have the right licensing.
Can you park anywhere with a food truck?
Listed below is an idea that you’ve probably never considered before. What is the best place to park my food truck? And we’re not just talking about where you can park it during business hours; we’re also talking about where you’re going to park your food truck during non-business hours. It should come as no surprise that the states with the highest concentrations of food trucks are those that are home to some of the country’s most populous cities—California and New York are placed first and second, respectively.
In terms of implications for you, this implies that restrictions are stricter and that space is limited.
Food truck parking during business hours
Because space is at a premium in metropolitan areas, the rules governing the use of that space are typically more stringent than they would be in a less populous location. Once you’ve identified a perfect site for your food truck, be sure to check with all local governments to determine not only what sort of permits and licenses you’ll need to operate, but also what will be necessary to keep it parked there. Is there a requirement for a particular lease on the space? In what ways are the lease terms defined, and is it transferable?
Food truck parking during off-hours
When you’ve finished with your vehicle for the day, where do you put it to rest? If you live in the suburbs, it’s possible that you have a driveway where you can park the food truck overnight.
This is advantageous since you will incur no more costs as a result. It is possible that you may have to rent or lease a location to park your food truck during non-business hours, which might cost several hundred dollars per month if you are not fortunate.
As a result, we’re going to park this one right here because food truck events are typically rather expensive for attendees. Finding a fantastic site for your everyday operations is critical to the success of your food truck, but so is your involvement in food truck events—or events that feature a food truck component, such as theFood Truck Village at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival—to expand your customer base. Typically, attendance in these sorts of events will cost you $200–$1000 merely to attend, and some may additionally need a portion of your sales in exchange for their services.
Fuel to keep you rolling
Due to the fact that food truck events are normally expensive, we’re going to park this one right here. Not only is finding a fantastic site for your everyday operations critical to the success of your food truck business, but so is participating in food truck events—or events that have a food truck component, such as The Food Truck Village at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. Your participation in these sorts of events will often cost you $200–$1000 merely to attend, and some may additionally need a portion of your sales in exchange for their services or products.
POS system to keep lines moving (and customers happy)
Due to the fact that food truck events are typically expensive, we’re going to park this one right here. Finding a desirable site for your everyday operations is critical to the success of your food truck business, but so is your involvement in food truck events—or events that feature a food truck component, such as theFood Truck Village at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. Your participation in these sorts of events will often cost you $200–$1000 merely to attend, and some may additionally need a portion of your sales in exchange for their services or goods.
Marketing your food truck business
Because of the high level of competition you’ll be up against, your marketing strategy must be on point. For many food trucks, this involves concentrating on building a strong social media presence as well as sending out tasteful email marketing. Food marketing on platforms such as Instagram makes a great deal of sense because the business is primarily visual in nature. You should make it a priority to create and share visually appealing photographs of your cuisine, but you can do much more than that.
Take, for example, Instagram’s Stories feature, which is a fantastic method to demonstrate the numerous phases required in the production of a dish.
Twitter and Facebook are excellent methods for delivering this type of short update to a large audience.
Creating a Facebook event for a food truck gathering or festival later in the month, for example, might be a great way to encourage your followers to join you.
The use of email is the most effective method of communicating with customers on a 1:1 basis. While marketing is both effective and necessary, it is not without its costs. The following are some of the costs that you may have to factor in:
- Managing your marketing platforms or hiring a part-time marketing employee costs $10 – $25 per hour
- Custom generated email templates cost $100+
- Email marketing platform subscription costs $10 – $200+ each month.
One piece of good news is that some email marketing platforms provide a free version of their software that you may use while you’re just getting started and have a small list of subscribers to work with. The most of them will also feature free design templates to assist you in getting started.
Hiring and training employees
Hiring staff may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you open the windows of your shiny new truck, but it is something that you should keep in mind and plan for properly as your business grows. In an ideal world, you would like your company to expand and thrive. Longer lines, more orders, and higher income are all expected as a result of these changes. Suddenly, the length of your lunch hour queue may quadruple, and you will want more assistance (in the form of a hired employee) to help you take orders, fill tacos, and ring up sales.
- Additionally, you’ll want to hire staff who have past food truck or restaurant experience.
- You should plan to spend between $8 and $15 per hour for each person, regardless of the size of your team.
- Suppose you want your staff to wear uniforms, whether they are something as basic as a t-shirt or an apron or something more sophisticated, you will have to purchase the necessary items.
- Prices for these things might vary greatly depending on how you want to run your business and where you want to locate your operations.
Put money back in your pocket
There are many expenses associated with launching a mobile food truck company; however, it is also an opportunity for you to turn the tables and earn a little bucks through advertising. That’s right, as a truck owner, you have the option of carving away a tiny part of your vehicle’s exterior to use as advertising space. Identify a complementary local business to yours, or one that is also relevant to your target audience, and offer to sell some advertising space on their behalf. You can come to an agreement on the interest rate and the duration that is beneficial to both firms.
Launching your food truck adventure
It is important to note that these food truck start-up costs are not the only expenses you will incur while establishing your food truck business. They are, however, a few of the more expensive ones, and they should be taken into consideration when estimating how much it will cost to establish your food truck business venture. Before embarking on the voyage of a lifetime, make sure you do all of the essential homework. Consult with industry experts, food truck operators, and local law enforcement to ensure that you have all of the information you need to get your business up and running.
Lightspeed is your one-stop shop for all of your food truck point-of-sale requirements. Speak with one of our specialists to learn more about how our solutions can best fit your specific requirements.
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