Business tips

Starting a food truck business? Here are 5 things you should know.

By Ryan Gibbons on
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Being the master chef of your own food truck lets you share your passion for delicious cuisine by offering your hard-earned cooking skills to a diverse cross-section of customers throughout your city and beyond. As you plan to get your operation rolling, there are several important factors to bear in mind.

1. Getting started. 

Although investing in a food truck is cheaper than shelling out the dollars for a full brick-and-mortar restaurant location, it still is not cheap. Investigate your options, including the possibility of procuring a pre-owned food truck. Then, figure out how you will finance the deal. Options include bringing partners on board and obtaining a small business loan. Contact your local chamber of commerce to learn about other possibilities in your area.

2. Being prepared.

You may already have visualized your truck parked in a highly visible place in a hub of urban activity. However, you can’t just show up one day and start grilling. Most municipalities require you to have specific permits and licenses, so be sure to obtain everything you need ahead of time – including permission to park your truck.

3. Understanding your customers.

You might have the most unique and mouth-watering burger recipe on the planet. However, your delicious endeavor is doomed to fail if the customers in your area tend to be vegetarian. Before you make a critical mistake like this, get a sense of who your buyers are and what types of food they prefer. Then tailor your offerings accordingly.

4. Offer payment flexibility.

If you’re like most consumers, you’re probably carrying a lot less cash than you did a few years ago. Assume that your food truck’s customers are just like you and give them ways to pay beyond shelling out coins and bills. Failing to do so could result in losing valuable business.

Investing in a mobile credit card reader is one of the best ways to accept payments from your food truck. There are portable card readers that connect to your smartphone or tablet to allow for on-the-go payments. Or you can upgrade to a portable smart solution. Either way, letting your customers pay for your delicious food with plastic might well give you an edge over the food truck next to you. Asking your payment processing company for a contactless near-field communication (NFC) reader can be an even bigger plus since it allows your guests to pay hygienically, without ever needing to come in contact with you or your equipment.

Marketing is key.

If people don’t know about your mobile business and the unique and delicious dishes you’re serving up, your food truck business is destined for failure. Fortunately, social media provides an excellent forum where you can get the word out about your location hours and delectable daily specials. Post videos of yourself at work and encourage happy customers to submit their reviews. After all, the best aspect of sites like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram? They’re free!

Getting your food truck going won’t be easy (expect to work some long hours). However, launching this labor of love enables you to be your own boss while doing what you do best: Satisfying cravings with delicious offerings and cooking up higher profits.