Time to start a restaurant or a catering business?

Want to start a restaurant or a catering business but don’t have the capital to rent a space? A food truck might be your answer.  If you work in a business park or drive past a cluster of business parks you’re bound to come across one of the many mobile food trucks popping up.

From informal vendors trading out of converted caravans in front of construction sites to students serving coffee from tiny three-wheeled stations at festivals and other live events, food trucks are gaining popularity and can be a worthwhile supplementary income or a valid business opportunity for budding entrepreneurs. But where do you find a food truck to invest in and what other aspects do you have to keep in mind?

“Trucks differ in size and the type of equipment they’re kitted out with and all of these variables are determined by their function and influence their price,” says Francois Labuschagne, Product and Marketing Manager for Junk Mail.

There are various companies supplying fully equipped and ready-to-use trucks or you can investigate buying into a franchise model. Another option is to purchase a second-hand vehicle and to kit it out yourself.

A big consideration is budget and the start-up cost of financing the business. “Entry level food trucks include economic tuk-tuks that are customised for food offerings such as fish and chips, pies, pasta, curry, sushi, frozen yoghurt and coffee and they start at R60 000 and go up to R100 000 per vehicle,” he says.

Another option can be to purchase a second-hand food truck and renovate it. Second-hand trucks vary from R120 000 to R180 000. “Previously owned smaller vehicles such as mid-sized buses, combis and campers can also work and they’re priced at about R40 000, but keep in mind that you have to invest in their upgrade and the fitting of equipment,” says Labuschagne.

Purpose-built food trucks start at R300 000 for a demo model and R450 000 for a new vehicle. “Here the advantage is that they’re ready to deploy, but you may want to update the exterior with your logo and contact details, which will be an additional cost to keep in mind,” he says.

It seems as if everyone can get in on this trend, but here are some other aspects to consider:

  • You’ll require permits such as a business licence, health and safety certificate, liquor licence and possibly a licence for the playing of music. These requirements may vary from one local municipality to the next.
  • Decide whether you want to trade at lunch time or at parties, weddings and live events where your service is booked in advance.
  • You’ll have to obtain permission to park your truck at a specific location. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself about the requirements if you want to move it to a different location if business is slow.
  • Marketing your business on social media is key to let customers know where you are, where you’ll be next and what’s on the menu. An active social media presence will help bring in new customers.
  • Word-of-mouth plays a big part in marketing your service, therefore customer satisfaction is very important.
  • People eat with their eyes, so not only should your food be visually appealing and appetising, but your food truck needs to be beautiful and in a pristine condition.
  • Decide how you’ll be staffing your truck and the level of skills you’ll require, whether it is a gourmet chef, chef-in-training, mid-level staff or students.

Food trucks have fewer overheads than running a restaurant and because they’re mobile you can move them to where there is a market need. “They can be a fitting business venture for those who are passionate about food and people, but make sure you invest in the right vehicle for your business from the start,” he says.

Transcribed – Original Content from https://www.bona.co.za/want-get-food-truck-business-heres-need-know/