I have had a lot of dealing with food trucks and I have a little advice for you prospective owners.

First off, if you make it past this list, immediately head out and patronize some food trucks and if possible talk to the owners about the challenges.  Here are some tough questions about some things you may not have thought about.

It's A Huge Time Investment

I'm sure there are a lot of people who think that owning a food truck is a "work when you want" type situation. It's more of a work your butt off every minute situation. If you aren't consistent, you're not going to build a following, have places to go, or build up the social cred it takes to keep your business going. Time is perishable, and any second you leave your truck sitting around is money lost.

You Better Have A Good Social Media Game

You will spend tons of time letting people know where you're going, where you are at, and what you are serving. You'll need to do check-ins and post pictures of your fare. You have to be high profile enough that not only do people seek you out, but they also invite you to their businesses and events.

There Are A Lot Of Rules To Follow

You are a restaurant on wheels. You are going to need health permits and sometimes even event permits. You will be inspected and sometime you won't be able to do what you want to do due to local rules and regulations. A trip to the city to find out what is expected of you should be at the top of your list.

You Have To Move Around

This one seems dumb, because, yeah, a "food truck" moves around. Well, it's not as easy as you think to schedule locations. You'll find some weeks everybody wants you and some weeks there's nowhere to go. You've got to learn to hustle spots.

You Have To Honor Your Commitments

This is the one that inspired this list. Food trucks are notorious for no-showing at events. You have to remember that your appearance if you're any good, was anticipated and if you don't show up you have ruined opportunities that you didn't even know existed.  Think about it all the bad things people say about restaurants, then add to the fact that people can also call you out on not showing up, being late or leaving early.

A Lot Of Things Become A Little Bit Harder

What happens when your trash gets full? Unlike a restaurant, you can't just throw it out into the dumpster. You realize you'll be working in a smaller space right? Do you know you can't just run out and get things? You have to have everything you'll need for the entire day from cleaning to cooking and serving and use it all in a space much, much smaller than your home kitchen. It just all gets harder.

Get Your Food & Prices Right

You should research what types of food are out there, what is missing, and what really motivates people to buy.  I have seen food trucks with low-priced carnival food and trucks with higher-priced restaurant-quality entrees both do well. It once again becomes a question of who you think your customers will be and where you'll be able to serve them.

Good Luck!

Keep these things in mind, and once again, talk to the food truck community out there. Believe it or not, they are fairly well connected and often recommend each other for events.

 

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