Food trucks and pull behind trailers.

This is a little different animal, these are run by people who generally love to cook and are looking to buy a job for themselves. They could be people who are passionate about cooking and baking and decide to change careers. Students who leave school and decide they would rather be self employed than work for someone else. One or two people who dream of opening a restaurant and haven’t got the funding.

Someone who has a restaurant and decides this is a great way of creating awareness for their brick and mortar business. In the last case scenario, it’s a great idea to expand into the catering industry and if you have a restaurant in more than one city you could share a truck for the advertising value of it and bring in new customers. For new locations you could send the truck ahead, build the brand and the market in the new city, before you open there. Maybe you’ll learn the politics and it’s not worth going into that area. Maybe you’ll find despite doing very well in other cities the people in new city don’t seem to be supporting you the same.

Food trucks come with many burdens such as generators can go down, propane can freeze up or run out. Food storage can be a problem so we are looking at daily shopping but if you run out in the middle of the dinner rush, you are generally down for the rest of the day. One advantage of having a restaurant already is you also have a prep and storage area. You can even deliver supplies to the food truck. Licensing and insurance can also be a nightmare in these units. Where do you  use the bath room, you won’t have one on board and it’s likely you’ll be in a spot to public to go in the bushes.

Failing mechanical issues, parking issues these food trucks can produce amazing food and it’s largely a cash business although more and more are choosing to offer other payment options. Which is stupid because you may gain a little extra business but most of that profit goes to processing fees. The general public has no idea the hidden costs generated because of credit card use, the banks aren’t just raping the consumer with service charges and high interest, they are raping every retailer which increases the cost of buying anything 5 – 10 %.

If I were to invest in a food truck which is a slim chance because I am a really bad cook. Here’s how I’d do it, it would cost me about $250,000 because it would be big, bad, and beautiful. It would have a second generator on board and extra propane storage. The guys/gals would have a van/truck with advertising on it to run back to the galley and get more prep. The unit would feature 3 ovens, a salamander oven and a large grill area. I would hire a good chief and a student who just finished school along with a helper. I’d take really nice photos of the prepared dishes on real plates.

I’d have ready made videos on computer where I could loop video of the food on a outdoor tv screen wetting peoples appetite and keeping them distracted as they wait in line. I’d have them change the menu daily, serving breakfast, lunch, supper and it would be opened into the night with a different crew, you have to get a good return on investment. We would change the menu for different times of the day and offer homemade stew. ice cream with pie and baked goods. Serve things like a turkey supper, a hot ham meal with all the trimmings. Really hardy meals for the supper rush like pork chops, steak and the likes, but I’d have them rotate the menu often and be as creative as they could be at the same time. At lunch time I’d have subs and sandwiches pre-made to speed things up. You don’t want too many complaints about service. That can kill business!

Now that I have it, how do I run the ship and not loose money. 3 options one lease it to the main cook (KITCHEN MANAGER) and do it so you turn a profit figuring in 10 years the unit is useless and worthless. He / she would be responsible for damage and repairs. The second option is have the kitchen manager pay all expenses, be in charge of everything, all you have is a little control of the menu and you take 10 or 15% off the top of gross revenues which may not even make it profitable. Third option take a smaller lease payment lease payment monthly including enough to cover repairs and charge a royalty of 1 or 2% of gross revenue. I think that’s the best option, operating more like a franchise but also recouping your investment.

Some how or another I’d figure out a way to broadcast live from the truck to Youtube or Face Book a couple of days a week. Filming them cooking and fooling around but while cleaning and prepping at the same time. I’d bet those videos on Face Book and Youtube would be popular. When it was busy you would have to find a way to broadcast from outside the truck. You want the footage of the busy truck and of the people walking away sampling the food, that would be great footage. What I like about the idea is the chance to provide good meals. To be able to offer catering services and so many ways to promote what you do as long as you are different and stand out above the competition. I always loved advertising, if I could figure out an angle to sell some in between showing our food dishes, I would! I’d set it up with a digital menu so with one stroke of a key the menu could be changed, love that idea!

How much you spend on a food truck is up to you, it could be $10,000 or hundreds of thousands. It depends new or used usually when you buy anything too old your are always going to be paying and fixing, I don’t think these food trucks have that kind of profit margin. I know a lady who bought a food truck for her daughter at 15 years old so she could have her own business and pay for her college. The problem is her school friends started hanging out and customers stopped coming. Her friends ate what was left of the profits and they had to sell it after a short period of time but in the beginning it was a great idea.

How many people do you know that would invest in and set their young kid up in a business venture like that because with the right kid at the helm, they could make a lot of money and maybe even start a career from it. Maybe when they grow up they decide they don’t want to be like everyone else and just get a job, maybe they want to be somebody!

Now let’s put a twist on the truck thing, there are mobile massage trucks, photographers with a complete studio in the back of a truck, mobile spa’s, mobile hair & make up, mobile (pop up) clothing shops. Mobile odds & ends retail shops. Mobile pet grooming. just about any business that can be done from the back of a truck has been done including welding and a mobile convince store.

The concept was food trucks and it is a great one, in fact very popular now with all the TV exposure they have had. Food truck wars or what ever it’s called but the truth remains any mobile business has advantages. The Photography studio I mentioned. Instead of setting up and tearing down all the time not to mention the lugging, can you imagine how much easier and faster it would be to have the CEO step outside and walk threw the door, click, click, click. Thank you very much for your time! Instead of setting up in every gym at every school tearing down and resetting up for days on end. Just have the kids line up outside the truck and they could rotate in and out as fast as a revolving door.

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