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5 Reasons to Start a Food Truck Rather than a Restaurant


Starting a small business means conquering roadblocks: acquiring initial capital investments, finding a good location, purchasing overhead, hiring staff… Even the most ambitious entrepreneur may become frustrated when trying to start a traditional storefront business. Luckily, alternatives exist for starting a business with relatively low starting investments, maximum mobility, and a continually expanding market.

5 Reasons to Start a Food TruckPreviously, food trucks had been considered limited to the sale of fast food and ice cream. In the last decade, mobile food facilities, notably food trucks, food carts, and food trailers have caught the public’s attention, with an increasing amount of city-sponsored “food truck days” dedicated to promoting the variety of gourmet food that one can find at a food truck.

Starting and operating a food truck can be an exciting opportunity for an entrepreneur seeking to gain financial independence and have an outlet for creativity in preparing and selling gourmet foods to a growing market of connoisseurs.

1. Food Truck Businesses Offer Low Overhead Costs and High Mobility

Acquiring a food truck, purchasing the food, and finding a location to store the truck overnight constitute the main start-up costs. Common expenses for a normal “brick and mortar” restaurant business have electricity, premise liability insurance, employee benefits and taxes that food trucks simply do not have.

Also, food trucks are not confined to one address but can move to find people looking for food. In contrast, restaurants must remain fixed even in areas that do not contain a loyal customer base.

2. Mobile Food Facilities Promote Creativity for Budding Entrepreneurs

Since food trucks are mobile and can offer flexible menus, food truck owners can use their business as an outlet for endless experimentation. For example, owners can manipulate the way the food truck is designed, the level of unusual foods it serves, and marketing schemes.

3. The Mobile Food Industry Benefits from the Shortcomings of Traditional Restaurants

In a typical case where a restaurant is forced to close down because a lack of demand for the food it sales, a mobile food truck, in contrast, can simply relocate whenever the owner determines that it is cost-effective to do so.  Mudd Coffee, a food truck serving coffee in New York City, is famous for changing its location numerous times during a week in order to attract the greatest amount of customers.

The increased mobility of the food truck business allows some restaurant ideas to compete successfully with larger chain restaurants, as mobile food trucks can conveniently steer away customers who normally frequent chain restaurants and introduce them to the food truck’s food product.

4. Compliance with State and Local Health and Regulations Is Relatively Easy

Although local and state ordinances require food truck businesses to register with the city and state’s health agencies and obtain permission to serve food in the area in which they plan to operate, the registration procedures are not tremendously complicated. Further, many online resources exist with structured steps for registering one’s food truck business with the city and applying for all of the requisite health permits.

5. Entrepreneurs Who Start Food Trucks Develop an Aptitude for Business Operations

Entrepreneurs who start and successfully operate food truck businesses tend to develop an aptitude for running a business. The average food truck business owners lack much familiarity with business management or business law but gain their training in the operation of their food truck business. So, running a food truck business can be a valuable exercise in understanding the role of production, management, investment, marketing and expansion.

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Ken LaMance


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