Build Your Own Food Trailer Business
Do You Have What It Takes?
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a food trailer owner would be like? Does spending your day cooking yummy foods for adoring fans sound like a welcome respite from the crummy job you’re currently slaving in day after day?
While it can be lucrative and fun, there’s a lot of preparation and hard work involved. It’s no easy street, but if you’re up for the challenge, the reward can be great!
Your routine might begin with early morning shopping for your fresh ingredients. It could be an everyday affair, depending on what your menu is. Then there’s the preparation of the food beforehand to make it easier and faster when serving customers. After that’s done, you’re off to your destination. You could have one location that you remain at all day or you could possibly move from place to place.
You must also take a little time to post your locations and menu on Twitter and Facebook, as well as other social media sites. Then the customers come and you stay busy for hours on end, making delicious food and good money. And at the end of the day, it‘s cleanup time and you prepare to shut down for the night.
Many food trailer owners easily work a 10-hour day, but the good part is that you get to make your own hours, deciding how many days a week you want to work. Then there’s paperwork to be done on your off-time, along with paying taxes, renewing licenses and permits, paying your employees and keeping stock of and replenishing your inventory.
Yes, it can be tiring and sometimes the days can be long, but the rewards are great. You are your own boss, you can decide when you want to work, and where you want to work. There will be stress in any business, but it is not as stressful as a brick and mortar restaurant. So, if you love the food business, if you love serving people, being out and among the throngs, you may find that the food trailer business is right for you.
What Does it Take?
This industry is booming and getting bigger every day. You need to move fast and get in while the getting’s good – and while there are permits to get. In some of the big cities, they are no longer giving out permits. The streets are over-saturated with carts, trailers, concession stands, every kind of food trailer imaginable. The competition is stiff and getting stiffer.
They’re selling everything from homemade ice cream with edible wrappings to exotic fare from around the world. You have to have a menu that sets you apart from the competition, because the competition is out there, all screaming for the attention of the same customers. You should base your menu on delivering something special – something deliciously tasty – at a good price.
Stand out by figuring out new ways to serve everyday items. For example, one company serves up french fries topped with everything imaginable (including beer and chocolate), another serves a peanut butter hamburger, and yet another serves fresh-squeezed lavender lemonade!
Research simple, easy-to-prepare foods from other countries and see if that is something you want to do. Find an old family recipe and share it with the world. Think outside the box. Better yet, throw the box away and create something altogether new!
Just be sure that if your food is on the fringe of known food items, you’ll want to taste-test your delicacy in your target market to see if there is a public demand for it before sinking a lot of time and money into it. Offer free samples and get feedback and even advertise it on Facebook and Twitter.
SIDENOTE: A word of advice – don’t depend on your family to tell you the truth!
How To Keep Your Food Trailer Business Rollin, Rollin, Rollin…
It’s more than just your menu (although that’s a very important part), you also have to keep your prices at the competitive level if you want to continue to exist. Depending on where you set up your food trailer, you’ll be competing with places that have a variety of other food choices. If their menu is very similar to yours, then you’ll be competing in price. And you still need to still be lower than brick-and-mortar restaurants, as well as faster.
What Else Is There?
But wait…there’s more! To get your food trailer business started, you’ll have to have it inspected. You’ll need to get permits and licenses and maybe even take a course before you can get a certificate from the health Department. Your food trailer can be a fixed or a mobile trailer. A fixed trailer stays in one place, as at a fair or carnival, while a mobile food trailer can be moved from location to location. Any trailer, however, has to have a permit to operate. Some cities award permits and licenses according to a grade like A, B, C, or lower. If you receive a C or less, you would have to shut down until you are up to their requirements – so take this part seriously!
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when starting a food trailer business. It will take some hard work and maybe some long hours, but it can be a very rewarding and fulfilling adventure if your passion is sharing delicious food with the world!
Does this sound like something you would love to do? Then go for it and make your dreams come true. You are the only thing that can hold you back!
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