Over the years the DNA of a food truck owner and the operator has shifted. While some food trucks are true entrepreneurs taking their passion for cooking to the road, a shift has occurred. In fact, the food truck industry continues to evolve and that entrepreneurial segment is only a small portion of the specialty food truck market. Established restaurants have taken notice over the past decade and are keeping a keen eye on the food truck market. Many restaurants have even taken the leap, seizing the opportunity to expand their brick and mortar locations with custom food trucks. As the costs of real estate continue to rise, labor shortages within the food industry are more prevalent, and of course the ever-increasing competitive nature of the restaurant business, many restaurateurs are looking to custom food trucks as a way to streamline their brand and food quality while reaching more customers in a more efficient manner. Let’s explore this article and the reasons why this shift in Restaurants Expanding Into Food Trucks has occurred and will continue to grow!
The following graphic originated from the Off the Grid Mobile Food Trends & Insights Report [December 2018] and depicts the substantial growth continuing to happen in the food truck segment.
Let’s Explore Three Reasons for Restaurants Expanding Into Food Trucks
1. Food trucks have a lower initial investment compared to brick and mortar.
There are many factors to consider when opening a brick and mortar restaurant, which financially add up very quickly. Some of the expenses include lease/rental monthly fees, business/building insurance, construction to fit a restaurant’s vision, branding/marketing/advertising expenses, overhead expenses, management personnel salaries and insurance packages, training and employee investments, and much more! Of course, food trucks have similar business decisions, but a food truck has fiscal differences that make it more appealing, including:
- Lower Operational Expenses – fewer employees, a smaller amount of food onboard
- Fewer Employees and Hours in Operation
- Greater Reach – you can travel TO your customers, and gain loyalty and brand awareness quicker
- Menu Creativity – you have less of an inventory to sit on, so it’s easier to switch up the menu for specific events, seasons, etc.
According to Concordia University, 60% of restaurants fail within the first year. The statistics are intimidating, however, the food truck industry has a much lower failure rate.
2. Food trucks attract attention.
Custom food trucks attract attention not only at events but also when driving down the road. The use of the exterior of the step van as a mobile billboard allows the food truck to gain attention and take advantage of the thousands of free impressions gained along the roadway each day.
3. Food trucks are able to experiment with locations.
The third reasons for the appeal of Restaurants Expanding Into Food Trucks are the ability of a food truck to experiment with location and essentially chase the high traffic events. A big commitment of a brick and mortar that is directly correlated to your business success is finding the perfect location. With a brick and mortar, the key to success is location, location, location. With prime real estate, you are paying premium rents and leasing amounts. Most startup restaurants simply can’t afford that, so a food truck could be a perfect solution allowing you to travel TO the prime locations at minimal costs.
Builders like APEX Specialty Vehicles have extensive experience working with established restaurants that are ready to expand their branding to food trucks. Let’s check out a specific example of a customer within the New York area that partnered with APEX to build a custom food truck that launched an “Order Here” concept that represented the menu of two restaurants all in one food truck. There are not many ways a restaurant can offer two separate restaurant styles and menus capable of traveling to events!
This custom-built truck was configured to include kitchen equipment to fit the cuisines of two restaurants. The first is Ember Wood Fire Grill, which prepares wood-fired pizzas, steaks, chops, pasta, and seafood with high-quality ingredients. The second is Bar-Eat-O, which offers over 24 fresh, non-processed ingredients, including braised meats, organic tofu sofritas, and from-scratch salsas.
The Pi-Craft “Order Here Truck” travels to many different venue styles and targets the following events:
- Food Truck Wedding Catering
- Workplace Catering
- Campus Food Truck
- Community Events
- Graduation Parties
- Brewery Events
The configuration options that this food truck offers brought the APEX design and engineering team a unique proposition to ensure all of the proper equipment was installed, and utilized in the most efficient manner. The industrial kitchen equipment, paired with the high-end pizza oven, was arranged within the 20-ft step van to ensure proper flow and throughput measurement.
As a leading builder of high-end food and marketing trucks for national restaurants and brands, APEX welcomed the design and engineering complexity of the Pi-Craft project. This offered an opportunity for all departments to push the envelope, from engineering and sales to production and fabrication. The truck incorporates many features that are unique to custom builds and truly haven’t been done before.
As we continue to monitor with trending reports, food trucks are still expanding. Consumers love the convenience, excitement, and quality of food they are receiving from food trucks. Many restaurants are taking notice and developing plans to expand their brick and mortar to mobile food trucks. If you’re ready to take the next step and discuss design and layout configurations with an expert team, APEX welcomes the conversation. The staff at APEX will walk you through the design and engineering process to generate 3D renderings that truly bring your vision to fruition. Let us help you – get started by filling out the contact form here and the team will call you ASAP.