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Sarah Ward

How to Start a Food Truck Business: 10 Key Steps and Tips

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Learning how to start a food truck business is an opportunity for anyone looking to start a restaurant in a unique space. The process of how to start a food truck business relates to opening a bar, running a restaurant, and how to develop a restaurant concept. It involves customer satisfaction and customer experience plans, and great cooking skills. 

Overall, learning how to start a food truck business is full of growth opportunities and business success potential. The food truck market is booming, and it’s not slowing down. Guest retention comes along with great marketing and restaurant tech to make food trucks a great business option. Read on through this BinWise blog to learn how you can start a food truck business.

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Principles of How to Start a Food Truck Business

Starting a food truck business comes with a range of work, from licensing to conceptualizing the plan to hiring your staff. Overall, the 10 steps and tips we’ll cover in this blog reach across that range. We’ve broken them down into two sections, legal needs and concept needs. These make up the principles of how to start a food truck business. 

Legal Needs of Food Truck Businesses

The legal needs of food truck businesses are, in many ways, similar to the legal needs of other restaurants and bars. They’re similar to cafe regulations and pop-up restaurant regulations. These five legal requirements will get you started with your food truck business. 

5. Business License

A business license is necessary for every type of business. For a food truck business, your business license is the first thing you should plan for with legal needs.

4. Mobile Food Location Permit

A mobile food location permit is a specific requirement for food trucks. It allows you to serve food without a specification location tied to your permit.

3. Public Health Permit

A public health permit is another regular permit needed for businesses, especially food service businesses. It’s both a permit and a responsibility to keep your premises sanitary and safe.

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2. Liquor License

Getting a liquor license is important for many food businesses, and it can step up your game as a food truck business. Get started early, as the wait time for a liquor license can be quite long.

1. Food Truck-Specific Regulations

There will be other legal needs that crop up as you find out what type of food truck you want to operate. From zoning permits to city-specific needs, check out what you’ll need for your location and your plans. 

Concept Needs of Food Truck Businesses

The concept needs of food truck businesses focus on the work you need to do to get your food truck operating the way you want. From marketing to reach the right audience to defining your brand, conceptualizing your food truck business is critical. These five tips will help you along the way.

5. Marketing Plans

Marketing plans will help you explore everything you’ll need to get the word out about your food truck. From content marketing to email marketing, it’s all important for making a name for your business.

4. Brand Concept

Your brand identity will help you secure the vision of your food truck that you share with customers. Brand conceptualizing as you build your business will help you get it figured out.

3. Content Creation

Content creation will be an ongoing effort. From social media content to paid advertising, getting content about your business into the world will help you continue to grow.

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2. Customer Engagement

Customer engagement will come up along the way as you build your business. From engaging on social media to finding and connecting with your regulars, customer engagement will be a key component of your success.

1. Market Research

Market research is another plan that should start near the beginning of your food truck business plans. Check out the other food trucks in your area so you can find out the niche you’re aiming to fill.

"Key Takeaway: The long-term benefits of a food truck business outweigh the starting costs of finding a truck and getting licensed and ready."

Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Food Truck Business

Opening and operating a food truck business is a comprehensive process. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you further insight into the food truck industry and business plan. They’ll help set you up for success from start to finish.

What Licenses are Needed to Start a Food Truck?

Some of the key licensing requirements for a food truck include:

  • A business license
  • A liquor license
  • Food permits
  • Employee permits
  • Health and safety regulations
  • A mobile food facility permit
  • A seller’s permit

You may need other permits and licenses depending on your location. These basics will get you started. 

Is a Food Truck a Good Investment?

Yes, a food truck is a good investment. Food trucks have relatively low costs compared to the profit potential of such a popular food service business. The mobile nature of a food truck means you can always pick a new place to bring in business. The long-term benefits of a food truck business outweigh the starting costs of finding a truck and getting licensed and ready.

What are the Negatives of Owning a Food Truck?

The negatives of owning a food truck are:

  • The small amount of space: workspace is going to be limited in a food truck. This is a negative because it adds to the preparation you’ll need to do to get food ready in an efficient and safe manner. 
  • Local zoning regulations: local zoning regulations can be difficult to work with because not every state or locality has the same rules around where food trucks can be. This negative can be worked around by doing deep research to make sure you’re always in the right legal space.
  • A strong market with competition: entering the food truck industry means you’re entering a space with a lot of competition. This negative is something you’ll need to focus on and prepare to work through it by learning from your competitors and drawing in customers with a unique selling proposition. 

Overall, these negatives are things to be aware of in the food truck industry. They aren’t, however, something you need to be afraid of. Instead of looking at them as problems to be solved, consider them as things you can work on to make your food truck the best it can be.

What Is the Most Profitable Food Truck Item?

Recent research shows that barbecue items are currently the most popular food truck items in the United States. There are delicious classic barbecue foods like grilled chicken, burgers, and ribs. The market is also full of innovative vegan and vegetarian options, which lean into the importance of sustainability for eco-friendly restaurants and food trucks. 

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Starting a Food Truck Business: Getting the Keys for Your Food Truck Business 

The process of how to start a food truck business sets you up for success in a booming market across the country. The range of what you can do with a food truck, from a classic setup to a cocktail truck, means this industry can fit your niche food truck, whatever it may be. 

When you’re ready to get your food truck show on the road, reach out to BinWise and BlueCart. The BinWise Pro beverage inventory program, paired with the BinScan mobile app, gives you peace of mind when you take inventory. BlueCart’s order management software simplifies your order management system.

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