When businesses were ordered closed and social distancing requirements went into effect amid the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants were among the hardest hit. But not all food service businesses were affected equally: “Food trucks” or Mobile Food Services by their very nature have more flexibility to continue to operate.
Food trucks are not the “coffee wagons” that our parents and grandparents might have frequented at job site years ago. Many now provide gourmet meals that come right to our neighborhoods, allowing us to “dine out” even when indoor dining is restricted during the pandemic.
When we patronize them, we support businesses in our communities that bring truly local “flavor” not only to our larger metropolitan counties but to our smaller, more rural ones, which expands that “flavor” to a broader swath of America
Restaurants rise and die with their location. Around 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year. And nearly 80 percent shut before their fifth year of operation, and one of the primary reasons being poor location and high rentals. This is why you must choose wisely while going for a food truck or a restaurant.
Fortunately, Food Trucks are immune to this problem, they are mobile, and you can choose the location of your food truck as per your choice. If your services do not seem to work well at a particular location, you can move to some other location and see if your business model is capable of thriving there.
Apart from keeping all your documents ready while you are on the move, you will have to take permissions from the RWAs before parking your food truck in posh residential areas.
You can use this mobility of food trucks to attract potential customers as well. Being a food truck, it will be far more comfortable for you to take part in different events and food fests so you can introduce your dishes to your potential customers. You can also strategically change your location on a daily or weekly basis depending on the rise and fall of footfall in some areas.
Just remember to choose your location which is easily accessible (for cars and other vehicles), and sees ample footfall.
The number of food truck establishments in 2018 was 5,970, nearly double the 3,281 in 2013.
In 2018, these businesses employed 16,210 workers and reported annual payroll of $320.6 million.
Mobile Food Services (North American Industry Classification System or NAICS 72233) businesses exist in every state and the District of Columbia.
California, the nation’s most populous state, had the most (753) in 2018 and South Dakota the least (11).
The top 10 states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado and Virginia) accounted for 57% of the U.S. total.
Sales from food trucks increased 79% between 2012 and 2017, rising from $660.5 million to $1.2 billion.
Nationally, average sales per food truck establishment was $226,291 and average sales per food truck employee was $86,212 in 2017.
These data are from the 2017 Economic Census, which provides detailed information (including sales) for nearly every NAICS code at the national, state, metro, county, and place level. Geographic details vary by NAICS sector.
California, Texas and Florida were the top three in food truck sales in 2017: $276.1 million, $112.6 million, and $98.3 million, respectively.
These same three states also saw the largest increase in food truck sales, up $114.5 million, $82.5 million, and $57.8 million (respectively) between 2012 and 2017.
California led the nation in average sales ($392,136) per food truck establishment. However, Vermont reported the highest average sales ($157,400) per food truck employee.
A food truck is considered to be a high-profit food business idea, mainly because it involves a much lower investment as against a sit-down restaurant. This alone is a competitive advantage of running a food truck instead of a regular restaurant as the money you save in setting up can be used for other operations like marketing or menu engineering. The only main cost is buying your truck, With an used truck and new equipment, you can set up your food truck in less than $52k
Next, you will need to outfit your truck with the right equipment, including exhausts, grillers, heat lamps, and any other specialty equipment your particular food needs.
Food trucks are a steal on the wheel. A successful food truck vendor in Miami, for instance, makes an average monthly profit of $25k to $30k. the basic food truck is priced at $50k which is inclusive of added charges for upgrades like- extra equipment’s,
Owning a restaurant requires you to invest in expensive utilities, hire a wide range of staff including cooks, cashiers, servers, kitchen managers, cleaners, etc., and pay property tax if you are the owner of your real estate or monthly rentals if the property is on rent. Hence, it becomes imperative for you to keep your operations cost, especially the hidden costs are many be bleeding your restaurant dry.
On the other hand, the operational costs of a food truck are month-to-month and limited to food, supplies, and gas. You don’t need to have a full staff; just a small team will do, and most of your taxes will be much lower.
Repairs and fixes required in a restaurant can also burn a hole in your pocket. There is no denying that a brick and mortar real estate requires continuous maintenance. Maintaining furniture, electrical appliances, and other kitchen equipment, restaurant decor, leaking pipes or ceiling, etc., all require a lot of effort and of course- money.
Food trucks, on the other hand, can do well with just a little maintenance and repairs here and there over time.
Buy a food truck and get into the food selling field, with marginal startup and running costs. Food trucks don’t require costly rentals or regular expensive maintenance. Food trucks offer quality and delicious five-star meals at slightly lower prices not available anywhere else. They bring the best quality foods prepared by qualified cooks using high-end cooking equipment to your doorstep without doubling the costs.
All factors considered, a food truck is more sustainable, affordable, and versatile. Making your second restaurant location a food truck comes with the assurance of more exposure, higher traffic, a bigger customer base, and more potential sales.
Customized to make your goals a realism, current-day food trucks are efficient enough to keep your fuel costs low and durable enough to stand the harsh weather. They are pioneered to make your hustle a success, keeping the costs down and creating a lasting impact on your potential audience.
Someone who has never eaten from a food truck might think their only options are hamburgers and hot dogs. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most food trucks are nothing like the fast-food eateries we frequent far too often. In fact, many of them are downright exotic.
In Houston, for instance, Fork and Truck offers a menu that includes chimichurri lamb, Cuban sandwiches, chicken beignets and even duck banh mi. In New York, the Luke’s Lobster truck offers crab rolls, New England clam chowder and lobster bisque. The lesson here? Don’t judge a truck by its corner.
If you’ve never eaten at a food truck before, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The atmosphere, selection, health ratings and food all put brick-and-mortar establishments to shame. Next time you see a food truck, stop on by. It might be the best meal you’ll have all week.
A food truck opens up a broad market with the ability to literally go to the customer. It’s a great way for a beginner to hone ideas and build confidence. Mistakes have a lot less impact on a smaller business model, making it a resilient starting place. The wide scope of potential and the importance of marketing and social media can be exciting for some, but for others can be overwhelming if they value a level of predictability.
For those people, a restaurant depends 60% of it location. Can be a more stable and reliable business to run. The initial investment may it would be larger and the contracts longer.
The choice between starting a food truck or fitting out your own establishment comes down to your skill set, budget, and personal preferences. Both routes will require planning, determination, and a clear vision to succeed.
Now that you’ve compiled a realistic list of pros and cons, get stuck into researching your local scene and writing a solid business plan. You’ll be feeding the masses in no time.
Contact: Howley Zhou
Phone: +86 15238677071
Add: No. 80, Kangping Road, Huicheng District, Guancheng, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China