Three things you should know before starting a food truck business

Jan 5, 2023

food truck

The food truck craze has skyrocketed over the past decade. What was once a venture strictly reserved for cheap and greasy eats has now made way for aspiring chefs showcasing the latest on-the-go creations.

From souvlaki and tacos to the finest steamed bao buns, every city worth its sort has streets filled with food trucks serving delicious food. For savvy entrepreneurs, food trucks have become a fashionable business option that answers to the growing foodie culture of fast, affordable, and tasty food.

With a lower cost and lower risk than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, food trucks have a lot going for them. And even if a traditional restaurant is a future aspiration, a food truck can act as a smart way to try out neighbourhoods, test dishes, and build a following of food fanatics.

Food trucks are incredibly accessible, but it’s important to understand the challenges involved. Before you take the plunge and begin your four-wheeled food business, here are some tips for getting your food truck up and running.

Find a food truck niche

You aren’t the first person to open a food truck, nor will you be the last, so it’s crucial to figure out what makes you different.

Let’s face it, opening a taco spot will be difficult if there are already other much-loved taco sellers in the area.

Learn about your target market, see what they do and don’t like, and then consider what you can do to separate yourself from the competition. Ideally, you want to merge customers’ interests with your passion and style.

If you’re still searching for your food truck angle, popular concepts typically involve:

  • Fusion dishes, created by combining two cuisines;
  • Regional favourites —  New England lobster rolls, for example;
  • Comfort food (burgers and tacos are always appealing when done right);
  • Speciality vegan dishes.

Costs of starting a food truck business

Operating a food truck is typically much cheaper than a traditional restaurant. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t come without a hefty price tag. 

Undoubtedly the most significant expenditure will be for the truck, which can cost between $50,000 and $175,000. Of course, a no-frills truck will cost considerably less than a top-of-the-range model fitted with the best appliances. 

Further still, used food trucks are cheaper and often ready to be used immediately. And if this initial investment is too steep, renting a food truck at around $2,000 to $3,000 per month might be the answer.

On top of the vehicle price, you can expect other costs such as kitchen equipment, inventory, a generator, a POS system, a paint job, fuel, insurance, permits, and licensing. 

Food truck regulations and permits

Navigating confusing regulations and permits is a consistent pain point for food truck owners. Since street and mobile vending rules differ between countries, it’s difficult to find a single source of reliable information on local regulations.  

Typically, food trucks must comply with three sets of regulations: 

Health regulations. Food safety is essential, so a health inspection will be required before you get your food truck up and running.

Zoning/parking permits. Permits determine where you can park your food truck for service and overnight.

Vehicle restrictions. Certain areas have rules controlling the sort of vehicle allowed (size, emissions, commercial driving licence). 

To operate a food truck for one year, an owner spends close to $30,000 on permits, licenses, and legal compliance. The best thing to do is contact your local council about the rules of operating a mobile business in your area.

How Bolt Food can help food trucks

At Bolt Food, we understand the challenges of running a food truck. We work closely with food truck owners to help them reach new customers and bring in orders. 

From the Bolt Food Partner Portal, food truck managers can easily create campaigns, flash sales, and menus, and get insights into their business performance. 

Here are just some of the useful tools Bolt partners enjoy:

1. Campaigns

Campaigns are a great way to increase orders and order size. Through the portal, you can create new offers in real-time, which will be featured on the Bolt Food app for all potential customers to see. 

Whether it’s a BOGOF campaign or a 10% menu discount, you can significantly increase sales with a featured campaign. 

On average, Bolt Food restaurant partners participating in our marketing campaigns have seen a 30% increase in sales and a 5% increase in orders!

2. Valuable customer insights 

The provider portal showcases valuable insights that can help inform decisions and scale your food truck business. Explore valuable data such as your most sold items, popular hours, average order values, customer feedback, and order history.

Everything can be managed through the app. And with the new, easy-to-use interface, you can:

  • Make quick menu changes;
  • Manage orders
  • Track a courier’s locations;
  • Get help with live orders.

3. Order management

We know that foot traffic is just as important to your business as online orders. So when you’re overwhelmed with a line out of the door for your tasty creations, you can pause online orders and restart them once the rush is over. 

On the flip side, when the weather’s terrible and there are few customers in-store, it’s the perfect time to ramp up your online orders.

4. Reliable customer service

With thorough onboarding materials, extensive help sections, and in-app FAQs, we do everything to give you control. 

But when the time arises, our helpful Customer Support team is always just a message away.

So, join the many food truck owners who have partnered with Bolt Food to increase sales and grow their customer base. 

If you’re ready to become a partner, sign up here.

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