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How to start a food truck?

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If you have ever dreamt of bringing delicious cuisines from all over the world to people but do not have a shop to operate out of yet, starting a food truck business might be the right thing for you to do.

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Answer Adeosun
Oct 25, 22 · min read
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From serving pastries to just about any food you can think of, food trucks are mobile restaurants serving the needs of people in parks, carnivals, circuses, and major outdoor events. You can either own a truck or rent it. The choice depends on your initial capital.

However, before you start out, there are a few things you need to know like the types of licences you need to obtain and how you can distinguish yourself

Want to know more? Dive in and read the rest of this article. We have a lot in stock for you.

What is the food truck business?

The food truck business can also be referred to as street food. From office workers on a quick break to families playing in the park, you can get your customers anywhere. Think of this business as taking the wares to the final consumers. They will not have to come to you.

While some food trucks stay in specific locations, others move around to find people to buy. The type of food you serve on food trucks is mainly comfort foods like burgers, mac and cheese, soups, ramen, pizza, buns, masala, etc. 

Mind you, you can choose the type of food to serve on your truck depending on your expertise and the demand for it. So, it does not have to be all about comfort food. You can serve ice creams with unique flavours in the summer.

What are the costs to start a food truck business?

As you would have guessed by now, a food truck needs a food truck to start. But are there other things you should be getting ready as well? 

Let’s discuss the cost implications of starting a food truck business in the UK.

  1. Buy or lease a food truck – you should weigh the cost of leasing in the long run to outright buying. Depending on the condition of the van, a food truck fitted with the necessities may cost between £5,000 and £50,000 to buy. Some even cost even less than £5,000. However, you should check out the road-worthiness, lifespan, and total health of the truck before you put your money down on it. Renting on the other hand will depend on your location and what the kitchen fittings will be like. The bottom line in deciding whether you should buy or lease depends on how much you have to start with and if leasing will be sustainable for you.
  2. Get the truck kitchen ready – if you are only looking to serve tea or coffee on the corner of the street, you may not need much to get the truck kitchen ready. But if you are looking to serve more sophisticated dishes, you will need to have a more equipped kitchen. Sometimes you may even need to overhaul the existing kitchen on the truck to fit it with modern wares. Some of the things you will most likely be needing include –
  3. Lighting
  4. Sinks
  5. Oven
  6. Grills
  7. Stove
  8. Fryer 
  9. Waste disposal bins
  10. Cooking wares like pots, pans, spoons, ladles, etc.
  11. Protective wears like an apron, chef caps, gloves, mittens, etc.
  12. Extractor fan
  13. Fridge or freezer
  14. Table tops
  15. Disposable plates, cups, napkins, cutleries, and bags for packaging the foods.
  16. Storage area.

All the above listed will depend on what you intend to be cooking out of the truck, although some of those items are must-haves for hygiene reasons and to better serve your customers

The state of your truck will also determine whether or not you will be able to obtain the necessary licences. For the list of licences that you will need to start a food truck business, check out the next subheading.

  1. Your ingredients – once you have an idea of how much the food truck and the fittings will cost, you also need to figure out the costs of the ingredients needed to prepare the foods you want to serve. Make a list; no matter how little the item is, put it there. That way, you can be able to make advanced preparations and even know how much you will be selling each food item to.
  2. Obtain your licences – Some of these may come at certain costs while others may not.

What are the required licences for the food truck business?

The list of licences required includes

  1. Registration as a small business with your local council. This comes at no cost and you should get your licence within 28 days. However, within the first 6 months of starting a business, your local council will visit your truck to be sure you follow outdoor food guidelines. The officials will be from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). While you may begin business before they visit, you must have obtained your licence first.
  2. Street vendor licence. This is paid for every day, payable to your local council and the price varies by location. This licence enables you to sell food in public areas.
  3. Obtain Level 2 or 3 Food Safety and Hygiene licence. You will need the level 2 licence if you are running the food truck all by yourself and it costs £49.99. If you have other people working with you, the licence you need is level 3 and it costs £84.99.
  4. A HACCP Plan. The HACCP plan (Health Analysis and Critical Control Point plan) must be applied for and approved before you start your food truck business. This certification proves that you know the dos and don’ts of food hygiene practices in the UK. This plan will ultimately determine the fittings you have on your food truck because it will include each ingredient and the type of storage they need. Without this plan, it is unlikely you will pass the HSE inspection.
  5. Risk assessment. You need to do a detailed assessment of any accidents that could occur in your food truck and around it. Even the minutest potential risk must be detailed. Failure to do this may cost you your HSE inspection.
  6. Public liability insurance. Your food truck must be insured in case of mishaps happening to your food truck, employee, or even the customers. This should normally cost between £100 and £300 depending on the plan you subscribe to.
  7. PAT and LPG certifications. Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) tests must be carried out every year on your truck by a certified electrician and plumber respectively. This is to certify that the electrical appliances in your truck are in good condition and that there is no risk of gas leakage or fire in your truck.

Should you invest in the food truck business?

Investing in a food truck business is good for you if

  1. You are a fan of cooking. If you find yourself cooking all the time and you want to share the joy with others, you should start a food truck business.
  2. You want to work for yourself. Working out of a restaurant or café as a chef may not be as fulfilling especially when you have to cook someone else’s recipes. A food truck business is a good way to own your own business.

How to start a food truck business

First, decide on the type of food you want to sell. The food truck business is so competitive that standing out is a must if you want to hull in profits.

Secondly, count the costs. List out all the things you need including the licences you need to obtain.

Thirdly, decide on the location. Location matters for every business and it determines whether your business thrives or fails. Bear in mind to choose your location based on your needs.

Next, do market research and be sure that the food you are wanting to sell is indeed in demand in the location you have in mind. You do not want to open up a burger or bacon food truck in an area dominated by vegetarians. That is just bad business.

Also, learn all the rules and regulations there are to know about selling food in the public as well as hygienic ways to prepare food. This will go a long way to ensure you have a licence approved in no time.

Start out your business and build your clientele. Having a good customer relationship will help you here because most of your customers will come based on word of mouth. You can also spread the word using social media or building a website. Flyers posted in public spaces can also help.

Grow your business. From owning one truck, you can begin to own a fleet and have more employees. That way, all you will need to focus on is quality control and ensuring your food trucks follow the required guidelines to operate a business.

Conclusion

Starting a food truck business is a great way to own your own business and be in control of your life. Food trucks have been known to serve the cravings of many even now that the pandemic is going down and people can move around again. 

There is no time like now to start yours if you are so inclined.

How to start a food truck?

Step by step:

Estimated cost: 5000 £

HowTo step image

1. Determine the food you want to sell and do a market survey

If the food you want to sell is not in high demand there is no likelihood that it will be in the nearest future, you should rethink. Surveying the location to be sure is not a bad idea either

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