There’s Good Money to Be Made with Food Trucks: Here’s How to Get the Ball Rolling

Food trucks have once again become a sensation in popular culture, bridging the gap between the middle class, blue collar workers, and millennial foodies. Much as the lowly food truck did leading up to the Great Depression, providing grub for both middle class and blue collar, spanning a popular run of almost 60 years of food truck culture.

Food Truck by Sloane Kelly from Flickr Creative Commons

The food truck culture movement appeared to have hit an abrupt end somewhere in the 70’s and 80’s with the proliferation of processed foods like hot dogs and French fries being sold by curb side vendors, and restaurants applying pressure on municipalities to limit the practice due to what they felt to be unfair competitive practices.

Since around 2006, the food truck industry has been growing and thriving, with new food experiences around every corner. Food trucks are the perfect solution for meeting the appetites of today’s mobile, active population.

If you’re interested in starting up your own food truck service, here are a few tips on how to get into the right mind-set and begin the planning process.

How to Start Your Own Food Truck Service

Initially, we’re going to suggest you don’t buy a food truck. At least not right away. Not even when you start making food. Here’s why.

Minimum Viable Product

Everything hinges on the demand for a particular food, and it is important to identify a food offering that has a) proven it is wildly popular elsewhere and b) unavailable in your current market.

Instead of reinventing the wheel and trying to sell a food experience no one has ever heard of, stick with a proven model. It’s better to have competition than to have no competition at all; competition allows you to take part in a proven marketplace while distinguishing yourself apart from the others.

In order to fine-tune and crack the code of what your geography wants or needs, just get out there and cook. Cook for as many events as you can, and calibrate your recipes based on real feedback. This is your research phase; you learn so much with minimum overhead — well, none, actually.

This minimum viable product offering will teach you everything you need to know to guide your next steps, while generating some revenue immediately to keep it going.

Buy That Food Truck with Cash

We definitely don’t expect everyone who reads this to be patient enough to do this; if you’ve got the capital for a food truck purchase and you know what you’re doing, great.

However if starting a business is new to you and you want to make it as low risk as possible, start small and grow. Start with catering and then use money from that service to put a down payment on a food truck. The idea is to perfect your craft, while also ensuring your stamina is in check. No point in getting a food truck if you already want to throw in the towel after two catering events.

Limit or Eliminate All Barriers to Entry

We firmly believe that in any new business venture, you shouldn’t be out of pocket for any expenses beyond $100 (unless it’s for a little coaching). Expense is a huge barrier to entry for certain businesses or unsavvy business people.

Through adapting yourself to your market, you can start off making profit immediately, even before your entire vision is realized or you’ve put a penny into your business – or have a business card. All it needs is a phased approach.

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