HomeOutlet TypesFood TruckA Complete Guide On Starting A Food Truck Business

A Complete Guide On Starting A Food Truck Business

Indian street food is globally acclaimed for its flavours, variety, and ingredients. It also plays a crucial role in the economy.

With the advent of technology and globalization, there is no surprise that the ‘food truck’ model has made momentous strides in the roadside food business. From ice creams and churros to biryani and shawarmas, Indian food trucks have covered a wide range of cuisines.

However, the romance and reality of owning and running a food truck business are filled with lots of challenges and require your full-time attention. So to start with, a food truck business like any other venture is a full-time commitment in terms of resources and research.

The food truck business in India has grown exponentially over the years, and it is estimated to rise at a rate of 8.4 per cent annually. 

Let’s See How You Can Start Your Food Truck Business & Make Your Food Truck Business Dreams Come True

Food Truck Business Plan

Every business small or large has its own pros and cons. It’s very natural to have doubts and anxiety about your food truck business. Hence, before investing in anything or leasing anything you should first make a business plan that must include clarity on the following topics:

  • Capital amount required
  • Expected years for ROI
  • Target audience
  • Speciality
  • Location(s)
  • Industry analysis
  • Financial & Marketing Strategies
  • Future collaborations and growth

Selecting The Right Vehicle For Your Food Truck Business

Based on the given menu, you need a commercial vehicle that fits your requirements and ensures the smooth operations of your food truck business. So deciding the size of your food truck is the first step.

An 18 feet long truck is most commonly used in such business. A new truck can cost between INR 7-10 lakhs. If you cannot invest such a huge amount upfront you can lease a truck or even buy an old one.

There are a lot of vendors selling customized, refurbished and newly-made food trucks across India. Apart from a diesel-fueled van, there are a lot of e-vehicles on the market as well.

To save costs, you could start with a refurbished truck or an old van which would typically cost less than the new one. However, one should check for proper fitness certificates, registration, road tax receipt, and insurance. Make sure it’s not older than 5 years. Due to pollution problems, various state governments and environmental bodies are considering banning 10-year-old commercial vehicles in different cities.

Find The Right Spot To Park Your Food Truck

Location is the most important aspect of a mobile kitchen aka Food Truck Business. One should always choose a place keeping in mind the following:

  • A larger footfall
  • Adequate Parking space
  • Fewer vendors serving the same menu
  • Visitors consisting of working professionals and students
  • Moderate traffic area

With the growing food truck culture, food truck parks have grown rapidly, especially due to land permits and space constraints in metro cities. Shared spaces have become necessary to an extent. Shared space and shared resources will always be beneficial to your food truck business in one way or another.

For making a working drawing of your kitchen you will require the following:

  1. Electrical wiring schematics.
  2. Fire suppression equipment installation drawings.
  3. Plumbing plans.
  4. Electrical installation plans.
  5. Complete list of all building materials used

Eventually, once you finalize, make sure that the location you select is visible and easily accessible on Google Maps.

Licenses Required To Run A Food Truck Business In India

Food Trucks don’t have to apply for all kinds of licenses like dine-in restaurants or cafes. However, there are a few licenses that you need to apply for compulsorily.

The combined paper and licensing work can cost you around Rs 50,000. There are a lot of consultancies that can help you to get the licensing and other permits.

Read more about setting up a Food Truck Business in India:

Optimize Your Food Truck Space

The food truck business involves creating a reliable structure for the truck to make the most of the limited space and assure profitability.

It might be challenging to make the most of the space inside the food truck because so many things need to fit in such a limited space but you can start with these four steps:

layout for food truck business

  • Menu Management: Food truck business demands crisp menu management. Planning your menu to fit your space is essential. Any menu item that calls for a lot of ingredients would not be advisable as it may require a lot of space in your food truck.
  • Right Kitchen Equipment: It is recommended to purchase compact items of equipment. It’s a good idea to make a list of the kitchen equipment you require and then look for appliances that match your truck’s layout and kitchen dimensions. Additionally, keep an eye out for tools that have multiple purposes.
  • Proper Shelving: You can find shelves in all sorts of shapes, sizes and designs. Get the one that fits well with your layout. Installing pull-out shelves under cabinets is an excellent way to efficiently use your Food Truck space
  • Use Unused Spaces: There are many spaces inside the Food Truck Kitchen that go unused. Make the most out of all corners & cabinets efficiently to optimize the space.

Read more about how you can optimize your Food Truck Space:

Create Bestselling Menu

The menu of your food truck business is at the heart of all matters concerned with creating a food business. The food-truck business relies largely on the selection and feasibility of food items being offered.

Your food truck menu will practically dictate the interior layout and kitchen plans alongside resource management. People expect Food Truck Businesses to churn out delicious food that is served quick and is pocket friendly. Therefore, the menu of a food truck should be designed in a way that meets your customers’ expectations.

menu for food truck business

The Indian demography is already well acquainted with the idea of street food. And when this street food comes out of a clean-organized food van it elevates the perception and experience of the customer.

From a business owner’s point of view, a food truck business could be your gateway to future projects like expanding your food truck business or opening a restaurant or cafe of your own.

A food outlet with a well-defined concept and a well-crafted menu has always had a positive impact on the customers.

Read more about menu items that suit your food truck business in the best way:

Market Your Food Truck Business Well

Above everything else, people love a good story. Your food & your brand have to click with people. Traditional tools of marketing such as pamphlets and banners can be used to increase your brand’s physical presence in terms of visibility.

  • Tie up with local sellers and event planners
  • Have contests, reward a few lucky customers
  • Provide free WiFi at the truck
  • Get food reviewers and bloggers to your truck
  • Keep an eye out for all food events and fests.

Having a presence on Social Media is a must, as it would keep your customers and followers informed about new additions to the menu or changes in the location, etc. Also, it can be used to leverage existing followers to spread the word about the food truck, offering discounts, choosing new food items for the menu, etc.

RECOMMENDED READ  How To Create The Bestselling Food Truck Menu?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are planning your marketing strategy.

  • Finalize your target audience: Know the people you choose to cater to. Understanding your audience will be to help market your brand. For example, comfort foods and pocket meals are most suitable for the student and working-class population.
  • Tie up with an online food delivery agency: Food Delivery systems alone account for major restaurant sales these days. Apps like Zomato and Swiggy are heavily used in India. Your presence on such platforms will significantly boost sales of the food truck business as well as market its presence.
  • Research on your potential competitors: Find out how your competition is faring, and the food they sell. Their promotion channels, their unique selling proposition, and Everything you can dig up about your competition will be useful when you go about building your brand.
  • Build differentiators: Note down the unique features of your food truck. What sets your menu apart from others? If you are serving something similar to other competitors, you should compare the pricing to get a better hold of the market. Even a 10 rupee difference could shift your customer’s perception.
  • Your Brand and Logo: The logo is the face of your brand and hence using it in creative ways to imprint its image in people’s minds is one of the most effective marketing tools. The reason why you see the letter ‘M’ when someone mentions McDonald’s is because of its iconic logo. When you are starting a new venture especially, your Logo could spread faster than your service itself!

Food Truck Festivals see size-able participation from many players around India and are visited by foodies from all around. India hosts a variety of local and national food truck festivals. If you are new to the street food business, food festivals are perhaps the best opportunity to market and test your venture.

Read more about the best marketing strategies for your Food Truck Business:

Use The Right Technology

You must develop a crucial skill of Delegation as a business owner. Don’t try to handle everything by yourself; you’ll get worn out. While you work wonders in your ovens, let the Food Truck POS take care of all your operational hassles.

Investing in smart Food Truck POS software can help you with quick billing, smart inventory management, effective reports to analyse your sales, and a single screen to manage all of your online orders. These are some of the essential technologies that can help in the expansion of your food truck business.

It makes your billing process smoother, keeps your data safe and gives detailed information about inventory and sales. An efficient kitchen is one where the in-flow and out-flow of resources are well managed. Several studies have proved that inventory management has a huge impact on restaurant sales and overall service. Managing your inventory also reduces food waste making your business more sustainable.

A lot of restaurants including QSRs and other food businesses use customer data to get repeat orders and take customer feedback. POS software can immensely benefit your business, particularly in today’s competitive environment.  

Staff Management

Human resource is crucial for any business to thrive. An average food truck must have 3 employees depending on the menu size and operational space.

Usually, 2 chefs and a helper will suffice your food truck business operations. However, to keep the service level up to the mark, it is advised you hire at least one individual for logistical support.

Since there are no holidays in the food-service industry, managing leaves for your staff and finding a suitable replacement to serve for the buffer period is a major challenge and needs to be given prior thought while hiring.

The Real Cost

The initial cost of an average food truck business can come up to INR 8-10 lakhs in India. On the upper end of the spectrum, the cost of a fully equipped food truck business could be a little over 15 lakhs. Your investment largely depends on your concept and the cuisine you plan to serve.

Here’s a list of a few operational expenses of running a food truck business:

  • The rent for your spot
  • Kitchen maintenance
  • Staff salary
  • Hygiene accessories
  • Inventory and raw materials
  • Food truck maintenance
  • Kitchen cutlery
  • Marketing expenses
  • Other miscellaneous expenses

total cost of running a food truck business in india in 2022

Sound’s exhausting, right? Well, there are several challenges when it comes to opening a food truck business and financial planning is the foremost. But compared to fixed restaurants, food trucks have lower operational costs which is why people are venturing into the idea of setting up a food truck business.

Challenges of Running A Food Truck Business

For the food truck business to truly flourish, its limitations and challenges need to be addressed.

  • Obtaining licenses: Most food trucks start out under the radar and function within the existing system of laws. A lot of cities especially highly populated ones have strict laws for parking in order to maintain traffic and other commotion factors. Hence, obtaining permits can be tough and sometimes the food-truck owners end up paying extra maintenance fees for their operations.
  • Financial Planning: The financial planning of the business model, particularly the Operational Expenses of running a food truck needs to be calculated prior. They tend to differ from place to place. Hence, it is very important to gauge your investment capacity.   
  • Managing Your Staff. Your employees are literally and metaphorically at the heart of your operations. As you know, the food-service industry runs seven days a week. So, managing your staff not only in terms of their work-shifts and leaves but their health and safety too. Providing service with a smile is often undervalued but it makes all the difference in the subconscious experience of the customer.
  • Maintaining health and hygiene: It is a vital challenge for street food businesses because even though kitchens might clean the garbage disposal, cleanliness of the surrounding area, etc. make a huge impact on your food sales and customer review. Ensure that your kitchen equipment is replaced as and when required. Using old utensils or grills could impact the taste and quality of food.
  • Providing quick service: It is a major challenge to remain consistent in quality and taste while being as quick as possible. If you plan to have a diverse menu with more than 20 items, you need to dry run the process of creating all the items in a given frame time within the limitations of your mobile kitchen. For example, if you are planning to open a burger joint you might want to make your coleslaw and vegetable cuts beforehand to ensure a smooth outflow.

Tips For Running Your Food Truck Business Successfully:

Hope this helps you in setting up your Food Truck Business in India. Follow us on Instagram for more restaurant updates!

Fatema Rasiwala
Fatema Rasiwala
Content writer at Petpooja