Food trucks have become increasingly popular in the past few years, especially because they offer fast and delicious eating alternatives for people who are in a hurry. The most common places you’ll find numerous food trucks are at concerts or festivals, where people usually want a fast and delicious meal between events.
It is estimated that there are over 70,000 food truck businesses in the United States alone, serving a wide variety of products, from bagels and cupcakes to country-specific cuisines. But thriving in the industry is not an easy task, especially since there are some hidden costs you might not know of at first.
So exactly how much will it cost you to open a food truck business? Here is everything you need to know.
Buying the truck
Since a food truck is basically a micro restaurant on wheels, you would assume that making this business work would only cost you a fraction of the price of opening a real restaurant. Wrong! Buying the truck itself to serve your purpose is, by far, the most significant investment for your business.
Depending on the size, the model, and how easily it can be transformed according to your specific requirements, a truck will cost anywhere between 50,000 dollars and 150,000 dollars. If you’re not willing to drop so much cash at once, perhaps starting with a food van might seem a better idea.
Both interior and exterior decorations will cost you as much as the truck itself since we’re talking about kitchen appliances, heat-resistant paint, and others. Don’t forget that everything you cook must meet the sanitary norms of your state or city, so you cannot lower the quality of your cooking tools or accessories.
Think about small-sized ovens, fridges, grills, and a wide variety of cooking accessories including a spice grater, forks, knives, plates, pans, and others. All these must fit your kitchen on wheels and help you serve fresh and delicious dishes.
Depending on the complexity of the menu and how many clients you expect your business to have, you’ll spend some additional thousands of dollars for the ingredients alone.
Keep in mind that the costs of producing the actual food shouldn’t be more than 30% of the final price tag. So, if you’re willing to sell a taco for 5 dollars, the actual costs of cooking it shouldn’t be more than 1,5 dollars.
Owning a food truck does give you the liberty to travel around the country with it but ensuring the freshness of your ingredients could be a problem.
We suggest pairing with local producers as much as you can if you plan on sticking in one place longer. If you want to travel, the best way to ensure fresh ingredients is to choose national chains of food suppliers that can deliver the foods you need no matter where you are.
Again, sanitary norms are mandatory if you want your business to succeed, meaning you cannot afford to jeopardize people’s health by cooking old ingredients.
Licenses, permits, insurances
Unfortunately, we cannot estimate the costs of licenses or permits since these strictly depend on the state or city you choose to open your business in. However, since food trucks increased in popularity lately, more and more city halls decided to lower their taxes to support this model of micro business.
Apart from the regular permits and licenses, don’t forget also to insure your business. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you don’t have a stable physical location of your restaurant, and you need to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
Depending on the size of the truck and the total costs of the appliances, expect to pay a few extra thousand dollars, since you’ll also want to include the business insurance.
Lastly, also think about the parking costs. If you choose to occupy a permanent spot, it has to be one in the vicinity of residential areas or around crowded business neighborhoods. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to park your truck somewhere over the night, and most residential areas don’t allow that.