How To Start a Home-based Food Truck Business

How To Start a Home-based Food Truck Business

by Eric Thomas

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From designing your food truck and identifying your market to establishing a business plan and determining the operational concerns of a mobile business, this comprehensive guide provides down-to-earth advice on every aspect of setting up and running a food truck business. Learn all about overcoming the hurdles facing the mobile food vendor, the legal aspects of food safety, menu planning, setting up your home-based headquarters, and navigating the catering industry. Whatever your plans, each chapter can help you experience the satisfaction of establishing and building your own home-based food truck business and reaching opening day! Look for useful charts and worksheets throughout the book, including: Preferred Vendor Checklist Start-Up Cost WorksheetsSample Operational Weekly Schedule 7878Outfitting your mobile kitchenAttracting customersNavigating operations concernsUnderstanding legal aspects and food safety Building your menu

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762778782
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 07/03/2012
Series: Home-Based Business Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Eric Thomas is the owner of the Rolling Grill, a mobile food trailer that specializes in onsite barbecue, catering, and alfresco dining services. Eric's success with the Rolling Grill has allowed him to start an award-winning BBQ competition team, which travels the southeast competing throughout the year. He also hosts a regular video chat with Daryl Mast from

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

1 So You Want to Start a Food Truck Business 1

Why I Chose Barbecue 1

What Barbecue Means to Me 2

Why Should You Choose a Mobile Food Business? 2

Who Requests a Mobile Vendor's Services? 2

Where Can Mobile Food Businesses Work? 3

Five Biggest Consumer Markets 4

Do You Have What It Takes? 8

2 Getting Started 10

The Mobile Food Movement 10

Food Truck History 11

The Food Truck of the Future 12

Hurdles Facing Mobile Food Vendors 13

Commissary Space 14

The Health Department 14

Mobile Food Trends 19

Major Cities with a Food Truck Presence 24

3 Market Research 26

Competition Research 26

Who Is Your Market? 27

Product Research 27

Location Research 28

Creating a Preferred Vendor List 30

So What Message Do You Want to Convey to Your Followers? 32

4 Setting Up Your Business 33

Creating a Business Plan 33

What Business Entity Is Right for You? 44

Are You the Owner and Operator? 44

Start-Up Costs Associated with Food Trucks 45

Setting Up Your Home-Based Office 48

Employer Identification Number (EIN) 49

Business Checking Account 50

Merchant Account 5o

Bookkeeping and Management 51

Time to Call the Accountant 55

So How Do You Manage a Food Truck? 56

05 Legal Aspects and Food Safety 59

Licenses and Permits 59

ServSafe Certified 60

Health Department Inspection 61

Wash Your Hands 62

Cross-Contamination 63

You Need Insurance 64

Legal Timeline 65

6 Outfitting Your Food Truck 67

Mobile Kitchens … Truck, Trailer, or Cart? 67

Food Truck Design and Layout 69

What Does Your Commercial Mobile Kitchen Need? 72

Purchasing a Second-Hand Truck, Trailer, or Cart 73

Keeping an Inventory 75

7 Menu Planning, Price Structures, and Catering 77

Menu Planning (What Do You Want To Sell?) 77

Structuring a Menu 79

Menu Flexibility 84

Menu Pricing 86

Let's Not Forget About Catering 87

Catering Menu Packages and Pricing 88

8 Understanding Marketing, Promo, and Advertising 92

Free Marketing First 92

Creating a Logo 94

Business Card 98

Time to Build Your Website 98

Search Engine Placement 102

Blogging Your Way to Customers 102

Pay-Per-Click Advertising 103

Use Videos to Promote Your Business 103

Mobile Food Groups and Organizations 104

Don't Just Sell the Food, Sell Your Brand 104

09 Dealing with Customers 106

Satisfying Your Daily Customers 106

Attracting New Customers 107

So Your Customers Want You to Cater 108

Proposal and Contract Development 108

10 Operational Concerns 116

The Planning Stages 116

Site Survey 118

Operating Your Food Truck 119

Preparing Your Food Truck for Large Gatherings 123

Are You Ready? 128

11 Open for Business 130

Ready, Set… Let's Prep 131

Setting Up Your Food Truck, Trailer, or Cart for Business 131

How Catering Is Different 133

Ready, Set… Let's Cook 133

Feeding and Serving Your Customers 135

Collecting Your Payment 136

End-of-Day Cleanup 136

Evaluate Your First Day on the Job 136

So What Does Tomorrow Bring? 137

12 Growing Your Business 138

Let the Selling Begin 139

Teaming Up with Other Trucks 142

The Investors Are Calling 143

Does It Make Sense to Expand to Two Trucks? 143

Participating in Competitions 143

Concluding Thoughts 144

Appendix A Mobile Food Operator Resources 146

Associations 146

Food Truck and Trailer Builders and Equipment Suppliers 149

Food Truck Support Sites 152

Magazines and Online Publications 153

Domain and Website Services 154

City Health Departments and Mobile Food Vendor Government and City Resources 154

Appendix B Mobile Food Truck Cooking Resources 169

Cooking Class Is in Session 169

Food Truck Barbecue 101 (Methods, Woods, and Cooking Equipment) 176

Sellable Recipes to Get You Started 179

Metric Conversion Tables 191

Food and Farmers' Markets Across the Country 192

Appendix C Special Event Planning Guide 200

Glossary 209

Index 213

About the Author 218

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How To Start a Home-based Food Truck Business 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly Recommended - Great info!
DeniseB1 More than 1 year ago
Great Detail and info. It times for me to go get my truck!!