A reader wrote:
Hi Dane, thanks for your recent post about the food truck situation in El Paso. I’ve been thinking about starting a taco truck myself. Do you have any resources you can recommend?
Casual sit down restaurants and fast food chains have a new competitor all across the country. According to the National Restaurant Association, food trucks are a top trend for What’s Hot in 2011 and are selling anything from Indian chicken curry to tacos and burritos to gyros and falafels. If you are interested in breaking into the food industry, but are hesitant to launch a full-sized restaurant which is usually accompanied by hefty loans and an extremely competitive market, a mobile food service might be the way to start.
Here are some steps, adapted from Entrepreneur.com and The Metropreneur, to help you get started:
- Do research on your market and conduct a business plan. Find out what food businesses are already in your area. If you have an idea of what food you would like to sell, ask yourself if there is a niche for it. Or are there already several restaurants serving that food? How would the culture of your neighborhood respond to the type of food you are offering? Ask yourself what food genre is missing and fill that niche. Keep in mind that most financial lenders will require a thorough business plan.
- Know the laws of your area. Research whether your local laws will accommodate your business plan. “Food safety codes, laws and regulations can vary substantially depending on where you are,” says National Restaurant Association’s Hudson Riehle, a senior vice president of research. You may also need to purchase a business license or permit.
- Select the right equipment, keeping the menu in mind. Because your space for food preparation will be limited, keep the menu simple and purchase the proper equipment to prepare your food. Mobile food trucks come in various sizes so select the size of the truck according to what you need. There are many used food trucks out there that you may find on ebay, craigslist, or concession/trailer websites. Keep in mind that equipment will malfunction and have a back-up plan.
- Location, location, location. Where are the areas of heavy foot traffic? Are there popular routes to an amusement or national park, shopping center, or point of interest? What other businesses are around you? Will they complement or compete with yours? Don’t be afraid of trying a new, untested spot. Use social media to communicate when and where you will be.
Another couple posts from the site that you might want to look are Not Your Father’s Taco Trucks and Taco Truck Does Twitter and the always popular post Hot Dog Business Opportunities.
Some books that might be of interest include:
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