How to Start Your Own Food Truck Business

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Food trucks have transformed from mere vehicles selling froze and ready to serve food to becoming icons on busy streets that prepare and serve local delicacies and continental food.

In addition to more and more individuals dreaming of starting their own restaurant on wheels, many quick service restaurants are also entering the food truck business as part of their business expansion plans. Today, we’ll focus on how to start a food truck business in this step-by-step guide.

Choose the Right Vehicle

A right vehicle actually makes or breaks your business and in that, it should be spacious enough to accommodate at least 2 – 3 people and should also be adapted to make it more appealing to the customers. In addition, in needs to be modified based on your requirements and should be ergonomically designed with a separate POS and a better serving place. While a new vehicle will cost anything between 7 and 9 lakhs, an old vehicle can be bought for half the price. However, you need t spend around 1 lakh for further modification.

Choose the Right Location

Hop around places before you actually bring in the truck and make sure that the place is not already filled with similar food vendors. The street should have regular traffic and the truck should be placed in such a place where it doesn’t cause and obstruction to other vehicles and pedestrians and, at the same time, is visible from a distance. Some cities doesn’t allow big, commercial vehicles entering into the city until late in the night which is a drawback for large food trucks. So, go for a light commercial vehicle instead of a large one.

Kitchen Equipment and Raw Material

There’s a hoard of kitchen materials required for the food truck including refrigerator, microwave, mixers, steamer, griller, burner, exhaust equipment and working tables. In addition, you also might need a generator or batteries with inverter for uninterrupted service to the customers. All the equipment will cost another 3 lakhs. Here, it is better to go for new equipment instead of used ones as you’ll get a warranty on new equipment and do not have to worry about the maintenance. Limit buying raw material too for a few days until you study the pattern.

Licences Required

There’s no beating round the bush at this one. There are no clear-cut laws on food trucks and in that no one knows the set of documents that are required and even where and whom to present. Well, while the concerned authorities keep working on that, why not take a look at the core requirements that will save your day. To begin with, you will need a NOC from the RTO and Municipal Authorities, Fire Safety Certificate, Kitchen Insurance, Establishment License, and, Mobile Vendor’s License from FSSAI. All the paperwork will cost around Rs. 50,000 and there are a lot of consultancies out there to get all the permits.

POS (Point of Sale) Software for the Truck

A good POS software will take the pain out of keeping your data safe and will also help you in giving a detailed information about the buying patterns based on the location and time at a given place. This will help you further your business and keep an eye on your inventory and sales. Many quick service restaurants (QSR) depend on their POS software to get repeated orders from their customers and also take customer feedback to adapt to their needs. A good POS software will cost anything around Rs. 20,000 a month. That is another 24,000 in annual expenses.

Good Staff and Dress

A courteous staff is important to the food business as it is the main driving factor after the food itself. It’s important to have uniform to the staff as it avoids confusion and gives a feel of brand. It also helps you gain trust and shows your customers that you are indeed organized and serious about your business. As you’ll not have more than 4-5 employees, a normal collared tee shirt and coats for the chefs will do costing another Rs. 7000. Make sure that you purchase extra pairs to look clean and tidy. A clumsy place and staff will lose business quickly.

True Marketing Efforts

Marketing efforts make or break the business so it is a must to invest in good marketing. Compared to a QSR, a food truck will likely require less pamphlets for distribution. While QSRs focus more on delivery and need a large customer base, food trucks are weighed by the footfall. So you may need something like 10000 to 15000 flyers that will cost around Rs. 20,000. In addition, advertise on billboards and banners in the catchment area and also seek online advertising to create a buzz. Social media platforms are good at marketing and to announce any discounts or offers.

Together with what we’ve mentioned above, you’ll need a range of other things like a calculator, dust bins, phones and scribbling pads and other materials to keep a track of orders. All in all you’ll have to invest about 10 lakhs to start a food truck business as there will be other miscellaneous expenses that’ll depend on the area where you intend to run your business.

Keep an eye on the local events happening around the area and, if possible, discuss with the event organisers and park your food truck around. Try to increase your contacts list by offering free goodies like tee shirts and mugs with your logo imprinted. Tie ups with event planners and companies is also a great way of expanding your business.