5 Tips for Starting a Food Truck Business

Mobile food carts are the latest trend in the country’s vital urban centers. Small business owners, restaurateurs, and local farmers alike are capitalizing on the upswing in food truck popularity. Hipsters, Bobos, and yuppies flock to these food dealers, often paying, exotic or gourmet meals dumped in Frito Pie boats. If you’ve got an old Airstream you can morph into a commercial kitchen, you’re in luck. We’ve got five great tips for starting your food truck business whether or not you’ve got a degree from Grand Canyon University, Florida Tech University, Everest University, Colorado Technical University, Arizona State University, Virginia College.

  1. Get a Kickstarter.

    While you might need upwards of $100,000 to obtain the correct land lease, permits, truck, and supplies, a Kickstarter or Indie Go-Go campaign will get will help you announce your project and generate buzz. Both menu quality and “cool factor” matter if you’re just getting started, and a social media campaign via a microfunding site can help you get your name out there.

  2. Go rogue.

    Here’s a piece of timely advice: Don’t open a food truck in Austin. Or Denver. The food truck markets in these and similar cities may be saturated. Shoot for a place off the beaten path. Think Milwaukee, or Marfa, Texas. Food carts are more about culture than variety, so feel free to start small.

  3. Do your homework.

    Research is the name of the game. Know health codes, permit laws, and zoning regulations. Know other food cart owners, and about how much you need to spend. You can incorporate social media into this, as well. Just call it market research.

  4. Embrace the community.

    One good thing about following a trend? Lots of people will be involved in and talking about it. You can easily insert yourself into food truck culture by learning who’s talking about it in your city. Attend events, ask questions, and listen to your colleagues. They might technically be your competitors, but you’re better off acting with lateral loyalty. It’s a small, niche community of nice people who like good, fresh food.

  5. Location, location, location.

    The most important thing about a food truck is accessibility. Food trailer parks, areas of concentrated entertainment options, and outside of bars and coffee shops are prime food cart real estate. Pick the right city and neighborhood for optimal chances of success.