In most U.S. cities, it has become commonplace to see a line of customers heading straight for food trucks during the lunchtime rush. Diners love the convenience, the price, the fast and easy service, the unique experience and the creative offerings found in this restaurants-on-wheels and they are favoring food trucks over traditional bricks and mortar restaurants.
It’s enough to make restaurateurs have serious thoughts about getting their own set of wheels.
Five years ago, food trucks were primarily made up of street meat vendors and chestnuts roasting on an open flame. Today, it’s an incredibly popular way to enter the restaurant services industry—and there’s even the Food Truck Association organization dedicated to supporting the local food truck community and working to revise food truck regulations.
Though it may seem a small operation, building a successful food truck empire is serious business. Educating yourself is key: From permitting to sanitation, product sourcing to pricing it’s imperative you have a clear understanding of how to run a business on wheels before you get in the drivers seat. For example, it’s important to know that in New York City, the food truck permitting system is via the lottery system – that’s a valuable piece of information to have in your business plan.
While there may be unique obstacles that come with having a mobile restaurant services operation, there are also advantages. For example, owning a food truck is more affordable than starting a restaurant. Typically, food trucks require 30 percent less capital than a traditional restaurant.
And of course the biggest advantage … location, location, location! Unlike stationary restaurants, food trucks have the ability to maneuver to where the demand is (make sure you are permitted to do so!). This ability to adapt location allows owners to move to where their business will do best at any given time.
As the popularity of food trucks has grown, utilizing social media sites, particularly Twitter, has become a great networking tool for owners and consumers alike. Consumers get to track their favorite food trucks, while owners get to market to a wide range of potential consumers. Location based websites also promote and locate mobile kitchens, so trucks can be easily found in a specific area. Thus, setting up Twitter feeds, linking to local websites, loading videos and posting menus online will help sell your the presence of the food truck.
There are many advantages to tapping into the food truck revolution, just make sure you are prepared to navigate the road ahead.