food truck ordering

Food trucks are rolling in on your restaurant.

So what is the deal with these “restaurants” on 4 wheels?

The food truck revolution continues to spread across the nation like wildfire. It all started in 2008. Oh yes, the year we were facing the side effects of “The Great Recession.” While the recession halted the general growth of our economy, this was the perfect time for the food truck to pull up in your neighborhood. Since consumers wanted great food despite not having as much disposable income, and entrepreneurial restaurateurs had the talent but lacked the funds needed to start a brick and mortar storefront, the food truck craze was destined to be a recipe for success and good eats.

The food truck industry growth took flight just as “consumers sought to maximize their disposable income by indulging in small conveniences such as affordable gourmet food.”

Where did this trend begin?

Although food trucks started to become popular post 2008, they began to spring up in the 1930’s in Los Angeles and New York. It may not have been called a food truck, but streets have always had food stands selling cheap, fast food on the street. It has always been a part of American culture.

food truck

Why does this trend fit so well in America?

In Europe, does the majority of the population own and use a car everyday? The answer is no. Most Europeans, for example, rely heavily on public transportation or get around just by walking. However, as of 2010, Americans drove over 85% of their daily trips, compared to Europeans driving only 50% of their trips. And to clarify this even more, Americans drove almost 70% of the time for short, one mile trips. Whereas Europeans used public transportation, used a bike, or walked for 70% of their short trips. Our culture is shaped around driving and constantly being on the move, the food truck fits right in. This vehicle crosses the lines of race, class, and ethnicity, and sells a social experience just as much as it is selling the best tacos in the city.

I think a food truck is right for me. What can I do to make it happen?

It’s not overnight that you can go from flipping a few burgers in a kitchen on wheels to becoming a city staple. Though we wish it was just as easy as buying a truck, stocking it, and feeding your hungry patrons, we are here to slash your tires with all of the precautions that should be taken.

1. Geography

Is your city at capacity for the number of food trucks allowed? If you live in a big city like New York City, you may have a hard time finding curb space. However some mid-sized cities are very hungry for food entrepreneurs.

2. Get your papers in order!

Every city is different, but there are a slew of laws that you need to abide by when opening any small business. These documents include, health department certificates, parking restrictions and permits It is best to contact your local government to get the cold hard facts.

3. Buy your kitchen on wheels

Onto the fun stuff – your new truck! Depending on your budget, it is worth it to do some research before buying. Do you want new or used? What do you need to run your business? Are you doing all of your prep work in your truck, or are you doing most of it at home? Check out these sites to buy a used truck.

4. What are you the best at?

Just as we said earlier, this market is growing. You are not going to succeed just by selling a soggy pretzel or a sub par taco. What are you passionate about? Browse the web and check out your competition.

5. It’s all about the $$$

How are you going to pay for this, (since apparently money really doesn’t grow on trees?) Are you taking out loans from the bank or are you borrowing from family members? Learn more about this here.

6. Be a social butterfly

It’s all about generating buzz on social media. Create a plan to promote your truck, and weekly deals or promotions that you are running. This gives your fan the opportunity to give feedback, vote on new menu items, and just stay in the loop. Need help managing your food truck’s social media? Try Buffer. Some sites you should check out when you are starting to generate buzz around where your food truck is, and what it will be serving are FitSmallBusinessRoaming Hunger and Food Trucks In.

Are you thinking about joining the food truck movement in your city? What are some things you are considering as you prepare to hit the streets?

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Hannah can be found riding the slopes of New Hampshire by winter and riding the waves of Rhode Island by summer. In order to satisfy a constant sweet tooth, you can find her bouncing between Ellie's Bakery and Pastiche, both in Providence, RI.