Americans love to eat out. In fact, the US restaurant industry does over 800 billion in annual sales. But what’s really hard to swallow are food truck statistics. The food truck industry itself has annual revenue of more than $1 billion dollars. This industry has seen a revenue increase of 12.5% just over the last five years. Aside from the monetary payout, potential food truck vendors are finding plenty of other benefits to lure them into the business. With more and more entrepreneurs hopping on board, there still plenty of room for new food trucks on the streets.
For those considering launching a restaurant business, the startup cost can very high. But comparatively, start up cost with a food truck is much lower. The ‘food trucker’ doesn’t have a twelve month building lease to sign. Tables, seating and decorations can be forgotten about. Even your kitchen (if you have to build one out) is a lot smaller resulting in less cost.
Flexibility is another huge bonus for the food truck owner. With a staff of most generally you and one other person, you can make up your own hours. Don’t like to work on Sundays? Then don’t! A food truck also has the ability to go to where the business is. Not happy about the foot traffic in a particular area, scout out and set up in a new spot? Park your van down at the most popular food truck venue or take your paddy wagon to uncharted territory in search of that secret honey hole. A food truck even has the flexibility to completely change its menu in order to cater to a different kind of customer.
As enticing as the food truck industry is, it does come with a few obstacles. To begin with, while the start up cost in a food truck is much lower than opening a brick and mortar restaurant, it still requires a pile of cash. Are you going to purchase a turnkey ready to roll food truck or an empty step van for a DIY project? Step van prices can range from $7,000 for plain van that you customize yourself to $85,000 for a top of the line ready to work mobile kitchen.
Another hurdle to launching into the food truck industry is navigating state and local municipality regulations. Of course, you’ll never stop dealing with the county health department (which isn’t completely bad). But food truck vendors may also contend with city ordinances such as limits on hours of operation in public, noise restrictions and even local government inspections. It’s possible that local laws are already in place restricting how close you can park your food truck to a permanent restaurant. You may be restricted on how close you can park to another food truck. Vender parking in your town may be restricted to only certain areas or even a limit on the number of food trucks per block. Increasingly, municipalities are requiring the purchase of local permits to operate in an area. The city of Toronto has charged as much as $5,000 annually to operate a food truck. Most cities & towns however charge far less.
Getting into the food truck business is obviously not something you’re going to do over the weekend, but it is certainly easier than establishing a restaurant. Even with a start up cost running $30,000 to $40,000, that’s usually far less than starting out in a brick and mortar building. The beauty of a food truck is that it allows you to test the waters. Starting out in this business even allows you to keep your day job while incubating each idea and slowly putting the plan into motion. If cooking is your passion and you want to take it to the masses, then come on and join us in this booming billion dollar mobile kitchen business.
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