1. Government Regulations
Food is one of the most regulated items in the United State. If you are considering selling food from a mobile kitchen, it is crucial to understand the rules and regulations before you begin planning your food truck! A mobile kitchen is a restaurant on wheels, so the owner or operator needs to have all the parts a restaurant would, in addition to all the necessary parts to operate/drive the truck. Here are a few items food truck owners and operators should have in the truck:
- A seller's permit
- Health department certification
- Food safety training
- Permits and licenses for the truck (vehicle registration and driver’s license)
- Liability Insurance
- A booklet about your area’s mobile vending laws. Each state is different!
Parking a food truck can be very difficult, especially in big cities. Some cities only allow food trucks to park in certain areas or at certain times of the day, but other cities may allow you to lease spots. When doing your research about mobile business operations ensure you look into the parking regulations.
3. Inventory storage and Preparation
Food trucks are a small operation, they require less up-front cost and have a lower operating budget in-comparison to a traditional restaurant. Part of what keeps operating cost low is the lack of storage a food truck allows. Most of the food prep is done before you head to your destination, so buying in bulk is nearly impossible. Of course, this has advantages and disadvantages.. You will have to purchase your food often, but it will reduce the amount of waste your mobile food truck emits. Also, some cities require the prep to be done in a commercial kitchen. In the cities that require this rule some food truck owners rent time in a commercial kitchen.
4. Look at the forecast for the week
Food trucks, like some restaurants, are at the mercy of the weather. If it is cold and rainy outside your sales may suffer. The opposite side to that is if the weather is beautiful you will want to ensure you have enough prepared for the day.
5. You need to know how to drive the truck
A food truck is first and foremost a vehicle--- it will get you wherever you need to go! This truck is also your business, and if you want to keep making money you need to keep up with the maintenance of the truck. A mobile business truck is a large vehicle, it is different from driving a car, but learning to drive one is not difficult! Make sure you arrange necessary driving lessons for a larger vehicle and understand everything about your truck before starting your build.
6. Payment Methods for your customers
A large majority of people only carry credit or debit forms of payment. If you are a cash only business, chances are you will lose business. Not everyone carries cash on them, so it helps to give your customer the option to pay with cash or card. You want to put the least amount of limitation on your customers as possible.