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. Buying a used food truck is similar to purchasing a home that needs work. The price for an older truck can range from $50,000 to $75,000, and you can sometimes find one on theRoaming Hunger Marketplacefor as little as $35,000. A newer custom built used truck can range from $100,000 to $150,000, depending on the specifications.The most important thing to remember when purchasing a used food truck is to be extremely cautious about the condition of the truck because there are no refunds.
What you see is what you get, and sometimes what you don’t see is what you get.a Here’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of making this choice:
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.
First and foremost, cost-effectiveness Attractive pricing for a previously owned food truck. Compared to the sticker price of a new food truck, the sticker price of a used food truck in as-is condition is substantially lower. You’ll have to consider in the cost of the truck if you’re financing it yourself and don’t want to borrow money.
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
In the event that you do not have the funds on hand to purchase a food truck and require financing, then constructing a food truck is the most cost-effective method to make your idea a reality. Even if you have the option of purchasing a used vehicle, there are several reasons why constructing your own truck makes more sense. Prices for brand new food trucks will range from $100,000 to $175,000, depending on your concept, how large your kitchen is, and whose builder you want to do business with.
You design it, you create it, and you may be confident that you will not inherit any difficulties.
In a sector where dependability is critical to success, having a new kitchen installed on a new truck is the least risky alternative available to you. Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages of making this decision:
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
If you compare it to the cost of opening a standard restaurant, food trucks are far less expensive to start, and the overhead is often lower. But keep in mind that after you have your food truck up and running and ready for business, there will be a slew of expenses connected with running it on a daily basis, like insurance, licenses, and other fees. The process of obtaining permits in areas such as Portland and Los Angeles may be quite time-consuming if you are not prepared with all of the necessary papers by the deadline.
- Some food trucks are required to share a commercial kitchen in order to have more meal preparation space.
- If you reside in a densely populated metropolitan location, you may find yourself in need of a parking place to rent.
- Additionally, marketing your company is vital.
- Customers must be able to locate you on a consistent basis.
- The majority of your normal daily running costs will be incurred by food and supply costs, employee wages and payroll taxes, point-of-sale and credit card processing fees, transportation, equipment maintenance, and liability insurance.
In these places, you should conduct business as if you were running a regular restaurant.
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.
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.
Successful food trucks specialize on a small number of items really well; they don’t need to provide a 20-item menu to be considered 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. Generally speaking, the menus are significantly more limited and geared toward speciality dishes.
In terms of main menu items, the sweet spot is two to three, plus a dessert choice and beverages.
Also, keep in mind that consumers make decisions with their eyes, so it’s critical to express clearly what’s being provided, from the exterior of the vehicle to the menu itself.
As Matt points out, “street food is hardly a sophisticated business.” Matt also recommended that foods be used in a variety of menu items in order to get the greatest amount of productivity.
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.
dinner, ideal locations, etc.) Similar groups exist in other metro areas as well, so do some research to discover what options are available to you.
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.
If you have certain dietary requirements, you should always inquire whether a firm offers alternatives. Depending on your food truck, you may be able to serve both your vegetarian and omnivorous guests with a single meal. A vegan cheesesteak menu at Jerry’s Kitchen and Farmstead Foods, for example, includes seitan (a wheat-based meat replacement) “steak” and vegan “cheese whiz” for the same price as a traditional cheesesteak. Denver-based Scholz Hospitality Group owns and runs two food trucks, Street Frites Mobile Eatery and the Royal Hustle Gourmet Taco Truck, both of which are located in the city.
An event hosted on a ranch outside of Denver cost $2,400, which included taxes and gratuity, and was catered by the Street Frites food truck on a recent Saturday.
Checking a food truck business’s social media pages will frequently provide examples of current occurrences that have taken place.
Here Are Need-To-Know Food Truck Costs (and How to Save Money)
It has only been a decade since the popularity of food trucks skyrocketed. As Americans have embraced mobile eateries, what started off as a novelty has evolved into a widespread phenomenon. Because of this, prospective chefs and restaurant-industry entrepreneurs are turning to food trucks as a lower-cost, lower-risk option to launching traditional restaurants. However, it is critical for budding entrepreneurs to be aware of the costs associated with operating a food truck before embarking on this venture.
The concept that launching a food truck instead of (or as a prelude to) a brick-and-mortar restaurant is a relative bargain is perhaps the most appealing component of doing so.
Accept chip cards and Apple Pay everywhere.
It has only been a decade since the popularity of food trucks began to soar. As Americans have embraced mobile eateries, what began as a fad has evolved into a widespread phenomenon. Because of this, prospective chefs and restaurant-industry entrepreneurs have turned to food trucks as a lower-cost, lower-risk option to launching traditional restaurants. Prior to starting a food truck business, it is critical for aspiring entrepreneurs to understand the costs associated with running one. If food truck operators hope to eventually construct brick-and-mortar sites, starting out with a mobile business is a smart method to test out different areas, test and alter dishes, and build a following before taking the leap and opening a real facility in a convenient location.
However, the real food truck charges that you will incur, especially depending on where you reside, may be more than what you anticipate.
Food Truck startup costs
So, how much does it cost to operate a food truck? Answer: It depends, however let’s take a look at some of the food truck cost aspects that influence launch and operating costs.
Licenses and permit costs for a food truck
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Food Truck Index, an entrepreneur must spend an average of $28,276 on permits, licenses, and legal compliance in order to establish and run a food truck for a period of one year. There are five sorts of permits and licenses necessary to run a food truck, and they are as follows: administrative, health and menu/food safety, vehicle requirements and safety and hazard prevention, employment, and zoning regulations. Although prices differ by area, the five cities that are the most accommodating to food trucks are Portland (Oregon), Denver, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis.
Costs in Indianapolis are the lowest at $590, while those in Boston are the highest at $17,066 (the next highest fees are in Seattle at $6,211).
Location is crucial in the world of food trucks, just as it is in real estate.
The cost of renting vs. buying a food truck
The most difficult (and most expensive) decision that new food truck businesses must make is whether to rent or own their vehicle. And this will have a significant impact on food truck expenses. According to the Restaurant MBA, you should expect to pay anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000 for a new, made-to-order truck, and it will take months to construct one of them. Used trucks are often priced between $40,000 and $80,000, and you should be able to put them to use practically immediately after purchasing them.
Necessary kitchen equipment
It is dependent on the sort of cuisine you serve on what type of equipment you will require, however the most often used kitchen appliances include ovens, deep-fat fryers, barbecue grills, and refrigerators. Pots and pans, storage containers and knives, serving devices, and other utensils are examples of different types of kitchen equipment. Appliances may run into the thousands of dollars, and supplies such as pots, pans, and other equipment can cost several thousand dollars or even more.
In the early stages of your business, when you’re dealing with a slew of other expenses related to your food truck, it may make more sense for you to lease appliances until you find out what you truly need and accumulate enough funds to reinvest in your food truck.
Inventory needed to get off the ground
Ingredients for your menu items, as well as serving ware such as plates, cups, lids, cutlery, and napkins, are the fundamental components you’ll need to get your food truck up and running. The amount you spend on supplies to get started may vary depending on your menu, but anticipate to spend between $1,000 and $2,000 when you include in goods such as cooking oil, spices, and other components. The cost of serving ware for a food truck starts at around $300.
Operational costs of a food truck
The most significant food truck expenses connected with operating your business have nothing to do with the cuisine. When it comes to setting a budget and determining how you’ll make a profit on your business venture, gas, insurance (car liability, general liability, workers’ compensation, etc.), permits, licenses, maintenance, equipment, and supplies are all important factors to consider. As previously stated, the average cost of permits and licenses in the top-19 food truck cities is $1,864, which is more than the national average.
The cost of deploying a restaurant point-of-sale system must also be factored in.
Consider the following examples: purchasing secondhand equipment instead of new, or limiting the number of menu items on your menu to save money on ingredients.
Accept chip cards and Apple Pay everywhere.
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How to minimize food truck costs for your business
- Build your menu around foods that are adaptable and in season: Rather of having a large number of menu items that all need different ingredients, go for a smaller number of meals that all employ some of the same produce, proteins, and spices, such as roasted vegetables. This, together with using seasonal products, will lower your food truck’s operating expenses while also reducing waste. By keeping strict track of your inventory, you will also be able to determine which things are the most and least popular in your store. Don’t go overboard when you’re in the supermarket: Before you have a firm grasp on the number of components you should purchase, it is best to err on the side of caution and purchase less. The alternative to being stuck with ingredients that deteriorate and go to waste is selling out on a specific day of the week. Even better, selling out generates interest. Provide the following for your loved ones: When you’re just getting started, enlist the assistance of family and friends. This is not intended to be a long-term solution, but it can assist you in ironing out the wrinkles and determining how many employees you require at different times. Equipment can be rented or purchased second-hand: When starting a food truck company, the prices of equipment and supplies can rapidly spiral out of control. Avoid spending money on brand new, top-of-the-line tools and equipment. Utilize secondhand or rented equipment until you can determine what you truly want (you may discover that the most costly equipment isn’t necessary)
- In order to get your business off the ground, you’ll need to start with a respectable budget. In many cities, as the Food Truck Index demonstrates, the cost of licenses and permits is much higher than in others. Consequently, if you are not restricted by geography, consider beginning your firm in a place with cheaper regulatory expenses and a market that has not yet been saturated by other businesses. If you’re thinking about taking on outside capital from a bank or an investor, you should put together a business plan so that you can account for how the money will be utilized to expand your company. Another useful tool is the business model canvas, which can be used to sketch out how everything works together. Investigate other revenue streams: Avoid limiting your business to certain types of customers, such as weekday lunch groups, and instead explore other potentially profitable prospects such as weddings, graduation parties, and late-night throngs outside bars or music venues. Buying in bulk with other food trucks has several advantages: You may save money by acquiring particular products or supplies in greater numbers and sharing them with your fellow mobile restaurateurs. Adopt a social media marketing strategy: Building an audience on social media platforms, such as Twitter, may help small companies save money on advertising. Post images of your menu items (especially daily specials) on Instagram and Facebook, for example, to establish an audience on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Maintain the condition of your truck: Taking the effort to get your vehicle serviced on a regular basis may seem little, but doing so minimizes the risk that you will have to deal with greater, more expensive problems in the future. Vendor pricing should be compared: As a consumer, if you shop around for airline tickets or mobile phone service, why wouldn’t you do the same with the suppliers that supply your company? If you discover a better deal elsewhere, either switch providers or give them the option to match or beat it.
The Complete Breakdown of Food Truck Operation Costs
Food trucks are marketed as a low-cost solution to get your business off the ground. However, if you’re considering starting a food truck business purely because of the inexpensive start-up expenses, you should reconsider your decision. The initial expenditure, as well as the ongoing monthly fees, are substantial. Throughout this post, we’ll go through the fundamental costs associated with starting a food truck, and we’ll also give a spreadsheet that you can use to estimate the cost of getting started.
The fact that you don’t have to sign a lease for a single restaurant site and may get by with a small number of workers if you want to run the day-to-day operations yourself are just a handful of the reasons why food trucks are considered a low-cost company. Although these benefits are valid, this does not rule out the possibility of additional costs. You may be obliged to utilize a commissary if the rules and laws of your city demand you to do so. The cost of a commissary can range from $400 to $800 per month, depending on the services supplied and the location of the facility.
Permits and business licensing payments are also necessary, just as they are for any other type of business.
The food truck or trailer is the single largest and most significant portion of your investment.
A food truck’s price might vary substantially, as you’ve certainly read in other places.
Reader A word of caution: The majority of experienced and successful long-term food truckers will advise you that purchasing the cheapest vehicle and equipment is not the best option for your business.
Here are a few other sites you may utilize to gain a more diverse range of viewpoints on the costs of running a food truck: Case Study of a Food Truck– Anthony Salvagno walks you through the whole process of creating a food truck in this case study, which is being broadcast live.
If you’re looking for a real-world example of how to establish a food truck business, this is the series for you.
As discussed in this article, Silverstein expresses his viewpoint on the issue of food trailers as a company with a low barrier to entry. The Economics of Food Trucks– Comprehensive breakdown and analysis of the costs associated with operating a food truck. It is recommended that you read this book.
How to use the Spreadsheet
We invite you to download the food truck cost chart to get an idea of how much it would cost to get your truck up and running. Keep in mind that each city / state will have its own set of regulations and standards, which will affect your final cost. This spreadsheet is a wonderful tool for getting a ballpark estimate of how much something will cost.
|Food Truck Start-up Costs|
|Food Truck + WrapEquipment||$25,000 – $100,000||Feel free to add your personal notes here.|
|Initial Product Inventory||$1,000 – $2,000|
|Permits and Licenses||$100 – $500||Varies a lot depending on where you operate.|
|Website||Free – $5,000||Varies a lot depending on what you want.|
|Facebook / Twitter||Free|
|Register / POS||$200 – $1,000||Can also use an iPad and an app for credit transactions.|
|Uniforms / T-Shirts||$0 – $1,000|
|Paper Products (Plates / Napkins, etc.)||$200 – $300|
|Misc. Expenses (Like a Chalk Menu)||$500 – $2000||Plan for some unexpected expenses here and put it into the budget.|
|Smallwares: Pots, Pans, etc.||$1000 – $2000|
|Fire Extinguisher||$100 – $300|
|Total Low End||$28100|
|Total High End||$114100|
|Food Truck On-Going Costs|
|Item||Monthly Estimated Cost||Notes|
|Commissary||$400 – $1,200||Varies greatly depending on location and services provided by commissary.|
|Phone / Internet||$100 – $200|
|Fuel||$500||This will vary a lot.|
|Labor||?||$8 – $15 per hour is average rate.|
|Repairs||$1000||Better to budget for it.|
|Food / Beverage Restock||?||Depends on food cost and frequency of operation.|
|Paper Product Restock||?||Depends on food cost and frequency of operation.|
After you’ve determined the cost estimate, move on to the next step. The next step is to calculate how many meals per month you’ll need to serve in order to break even when expenditures are taken into consideration. However, that will be the subject of a future blog entry. Brett Lindenberg is the creator of the websites Food Truck Empire and Food Empire Pro. He lives in California. Brett’s objective is to assist entrepreneurs in the start-up and growth of successful culinary enterprises. Brett has interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs for the Food Empire Pro podcast and authored hundreds of blog entries on a variety of topics related to the food industry since its inception in 2014.