You have a passion for bringing people food on the go and introducing them to new cuisines, and you’ve decided to open up your very own food truck. But what should you know before shelling out the big bucks for a shiny new truck?
1. Shake things up
In Nashville, there's an abundance of barbecue food trucks. Hamburgers and frozen desserts are also big here. Do your research on the market you plan to sell in before you launch your business, and make sure no one else is doing what you plan to do. (Or if they are, make sure you've put your own twist on the cuisine!) You've got to have something you're known for that brings people in.
2. Up to your ears in permits
Figuring out all the regulations for running a food truck is a chore. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as pulling up to a spot and dishing it out in the food truck business. In Nashville, for example, each area of town has its own permit required to park in a public area. Even the Metro Parks require a special certification! These permits usually expire after a year, so you have to go through the whole process all over again. Plus, you have to get a health inspection and a fire inspection.
3. Prepare for the unexpected
Food truck ownership is not for the weak at heart. Your truck will break down at the worst time. You'll get all the way to the venue and realize you left the buns. Running a food truck also means long hours. Prep work and driving to the event oftentimes takes longer than the actual serving time.
4. Keep it simple
A food truck is not a full-service restaurant, and people know this. It's an 18-foot truck with minimal storage space, so you can't have a giant menu. Keep your menu simple and do what you're best at. A menu with four to five solid items will keep down your food waste and wait times.
5. Location, location, location
Life is not like the movie Chef. You can't just pull up and have everyone flock to your truck. You won’t make money everywhere you park, especially if you’re just starting out. As a brand new food truck, you take anything you can get, and oftentimes it’s the leftovers from the big guys. You’ll have to get your name out there at small offices, parks during the weekday and less-established events and might not rake in the big bucks at the start.
See you on the road!