When it comes to operating a food truck business one of the most important things you should be spending your time on is preparing for the pre-opening period.
This checklist includes many important considerations that will ultimately determine how successful your truck business or start-up will be, and if you are prepared to deal with certain circumstances when they arise before opening day.
The following is a list of all the necessary things that you will need to prepare for your food truck business:
Finding the Proper Location
Do I buy or lease?
This can be hard to decide, and sometimes only time will tell which is the best option. If it’s possible, leasing can cost less and there is less risk and responsibility on your part; whereas buying might put you in debt up to your ears which could make it difficult to pay off or even lead to bankruptcy.
There are also pros and cons for either situation such as if you lease it might be more difficult financially, but if something goes wrong with the location you’re out of as far as changing anything goes.
How much space do I need?
This question is almost as difficult to answer as the first one regarding if you should buy or lease. If your truck business will be just you and your food, then chances are that even a vehicle could serve as your kitchen. For any additional staff, there should be proper sleeping quarters, restrooms, trash bins, etc. Keep in mind that you’ll also have all of your supplies inside this space which can take up more room than expected.
Health Department Approval
In most cases, this step can take up to seven days from when they approve all construction plans of the mobile unit. However, if there are any necessary corrections needed then it could add three days to this process.
If they find anything wrong with your construction plans during the inspection, then a correction letter will be sent to you and another inspection may be required which will take an additional five days to the total period. If everything is approved without problems, owners should receive their license within seven days of inspection.
This is one of the most important things to consider when planning your food truck business because if you do not have a license you’re operating illegally and can be fined up to $1,000 for each day that passes by without it. The good news is that this entire process can be completed online except submitting a correction letter once they send you a list of corrections needed with their approval notice.
Truck Should Be Working Fine
This step will have more to do with you as a person instead of your food truck business, but it still needs to be considered. If you buy a vehicle make sure that everything is working properly before making your final payment and you need to determine which one will meet the specific demands for your food truck business.
If you are leasing a vehicle make sure there isn’t any damage done to the interior or exterior of the vehicle because if they catch even a single scratch then this could cost thousands in repair fees!
Make sure the engine is working fine and that there are no cracks in the glass window and windshield since this can cause trouble for the drivers and your equipment behind you when it rains and even during inclement weather. In case of such a scenario, car windshield replacement is necessary to fix the glass as soon as possible at an affordable rate.
Other than that, there isn’t much else you need to concern yourself with when it comes to the engine. However, this is not the case when something goes wrong with your truck’s air conditioning system because it could cost anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 or more depending on how severe the problem is.
Ensure that the tires are in good condition because this will affect your gas mileage and require more frequent replacement which will lead to higher expenses.
Is there enough space inside?
Your kitchen shouldn’t take up all the room inside because if it does then this can lead to problems later on when it comes time for hiring members since everyone needs their own space when working.
There should be a large enough space in the vehicle to add a very large cooler if needed. Since most food trucks prepare the meals and put them in a warmer before serving, they’ll need colder storage.
Proper Food Storage
Non-perishable foods must be ordered at least 10 days before opening day. There’s a common misconception that food trucks can be stocked with perishable foods, but this is against health department regulations as these items should only be kept at proper temperatures for a short period.
To make sure all your necessary ingredients are on hand for the week before opening, order non-perishables 10 days in advance. Meanwhile, perishables will need to be ordered three days prior so there’s no risk of running out towards the end of the week.
If you stock up too much beforehand and find yourself having any surplus once an opening day has passed by, then they’ll most likely become spoiled and unusable leaving you to throw it away or mark down their prices for staff to buy them. While some ingredients might not spoil such as utensils and napkins, it’s best to order these supplies even later than perishables because they don’t expire quickly.
Equipment Installed Properly
When the truck is built and ready for use, make sure all food preparation equipment is installed properly. After checking if gas lines are hooked up correctly and appliances work at their optimal capacity, then owners should move on to the next step: shifting all appliances around to meet specifications according to how your menu is planned out.
If you’re having trouble making sense of how everything should be arranged by your cooking methods while planning your mobile business’ strategies, then consider contacting a professional for assistance. This can cost money though so take this step seriously before hiring someone who could end up charging a lot more than you expected.
Establishing your business and making it work is a big challenge, but the time and effort put in afterward will be worth it. Successful food truck businesses know what to expect before opening day and how to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best which comes with experience gathered over years of managing their mobile establishments.
To become successful entrepreneurs, operators must familiarize themselves with all aspects of starting up a food truck business as this greatly improves their chances of getting far ahead of the competition.