How to Start a Food Truck Business
These easy-to-follow steps from South Bay Ford will help you get your food truck business up and running!
Choose a Niche
There are so many different types of cuisine that can make for the perfect food truck fare, but with limited space and resources you can only offer a few menu items that fit into a specific category. Some food trucks offer tacos, others offer burgers, and some might even offer burger tacos. Rather than trying to please everyone and spread your business too thin, find a niche that fits your skill set and be an expert at it. Your passion goes a long way in selecting the perfect menu items for your food truck business.
Develop a Menu
Now that you have your category chosen, you need to figure out exactly what items fit within your niche and can easily be made in a small space with limited equipment. Create a menu that gives potential customers enough of a variety to choose from without overcomplicating things for you and your team. Once you figure out the expenses for each item, you will need to set prices for each of your menu items that are fair but still help you cover your overhead costs.
Secure a Truck
This is the most vital step. After you have your menu figured out, you will need to get the truck. A perfect place to start is South Bay Ford Commercial’s food truck inventory of varying size and payload capacity. Find a vehicle that’s large enough for the equipment you need and contact one of our food truck specialists to help you customize it to your liking at 888-400-0304. On the exterior, make sure the truck looks inviting enough to pique the interest of your hungry patrons. Consider creating easy-to-read signage that includes your business name and a little bit about the food that you sell¬: where it’s from, how you prepare it, etc.
Get the Right Equipment
This step is all about procuring the right equipment. As a new step van owner, it’s time to invest in the actual equipment that is needed to make the delicious items on your menu. South Bay Ford’s commercial specialists shine in this area by working alongside industry-leading vehicle modifiers who are masterful at vehicle upfitting. A simple phone call to our commercial department will help you find the best deal on burners, griddles, broilers, refrigerators, freezers, and much more. Some simple things that might be overlooked include serving plates and paper goods to get your food out to customers, along with essential cleaning supplies.
Source Your Ingredients
If you have not done so already, you will need to find suppliers for the actual food you will be cooking. Find cost-effect suppliers that offer quality ingredients for your menu to really stand out. Try to keep your supply costs as low as possible since food truck customers aren’t likely to pay exorbitant prices. Shop around and visit markets or growers for deals and bulk discounts if possible.
Prepare for Health Inspections
Just because you aren’t starting a traditional restaurant doesn’t mean that you get to bypass health inspections. You are selling food to customers after all, so check with your local government to see exactly what is required of food truck businesses to operate legally. Expect to have an initial inspection, and then annual or intermittent inspections after that. You may also need to register with your local government in order to do business in a particular area. You don’t want to miss out on a lucrative opportunity to sell your items by skipping this step.
Find the Right Locations
The ability to move from place to place is certainly a benefit for many food trucks. Simply put: If you want to be successful, you need to find the best possible locations. You might choose places like fairs and farmers markets when they come up. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to rotate between a few regular locations to park at during the week so people know where to find you on a regular basis. If you can set up in high traffic areas, your chances of making a sale will improve greatly.
Set Up a Social Media Presence
Make it even easier for people to find you by establishing a presence online and on social media. Update your Facebook page, Instagram profile, or Twitter account with where you will be located each day so that your followers can find you and buy their favorite menu items. You can also update this information on your site with the inclusion of hours and daily specials if applicable.
Market Your Business
Aside from just posting your location on social media, you can market your business by sponsoring local events, advertising, or even just getting out and talking to people in the community. Food truck owners have a unique opportunity to go where their potential customers are but word of mouth will only get you so far. You will still have to do a lot of promoting if you want to build a loyal customer base and grow your bottom line.
Maintain Your Truck
Over the course of running your business-on-wheels, you are going to need to maintenance your food truck to keep it in utmost condition. South Bay Ford’s award-winning Commercial Service Center is here to help you accomplish just that. Drop in, schedule an appointment or simply give them a call at 888-379-6768. The absolute last thing you want is for your truck to break down when you’re on your way to a huge event.