If you are thinking about joining the food truck industry, then it’s important to know what you are about to get into. Yes, this industry consists of a lot of passionate people, recipes, otherworldly food trucks, success stories, etc., but it is likely going to be 10 (possibly more?) times tougher than you ever imagined.
If this industry was as simple as buying a truck and dishing out food, then more people would do it. In fact, many people do think it’s that simple, which is why they have to close shop much sooner than expected. We aren’t trying to discourage you from joining the mobile kitchen industry — we just want you to know what you are getting into.
In the spirit of that thinking, we are about to drop five cold, hard truths every new food truck owner has to face.
RELATED: Tips For Picking A Food Truck Concept. Before you start selling your amazing recipes, you have to figure out what your mobile catering truck concept is going to be. Here’s a spoiler tip for you: Cook what you know, cook what you love.
Cold Hard Truths Every New Food Truck Owner Has To Face
- The Long Hours
- The Cash Flow Dilemma
- Attracting Customers Can Be Tricky
- You Have To Love This Industry
- Cooking Food Isn’t Your Only Job
When you first start up your food truck, you are going to find out that you are working longer days than you have ever worked before. If you aren’t, then you are likely not making a whole lot of money. There might even be times when you aren’t even making minimum wage when you total up the amount of money you made and the time it took you to make said money. If that doesn’t sit well with you, then this might be the wrong industry for you.
If you stick with it, you will start gaining more and more customers, which will result in your business making more and more money. Once that happens, you might have enough money to hire an employee or two. However, until you actually get to that point, and until you can actually trust these employees (preferably a manager) to run your truck, you are going to be stuck at your mobile kitchen for double-digit hours at least six days a week.
If you are trying to break into the food truck industry, make sure to check out these food trucks for sale!
The Cash Flow Dilemma
Ah, the cash flow dilemma. Not only could it be a nightmare to get the money to buy a food truck in the first place, but you might not start making a profit for a long time after that. After all, if you finance your truck, then you are going to have to use a lot of the money you make to pay off that bill (among others). This means you likely won’t have a whole lot of money left over when it comes to paying yourself, which is where the cash flow dilemma comes into play.
If you think this industry is going to make you rich overnight, you better think again. Owning a mobile kitchen is the same thing as owning a business, and a business typically doesn’t become a major success overnight. Therefore, it’s so crucial to not only have the money to buy your truck and all of the supplies that go with it initially, but to also have some money put away to survive on top of that.
Attracting Customers Can Be Tricky
Customers aren’t just going to flock to your truck because you decided to open up your own business. If you don’t do marketing, then no one is even going to know you are open. Therefore, if you don’t hit social media and advertise your truck’s grand opening, don’t expect the first day to be an instant success.
Now, if you do practice the concept that is brand awareness and if a lot of people know about your truck before the grand opening, then you might attract quite a bit of customers right off the bat. However, the key is getting return customers and continuing to attract new customers. It can be tricky, but if your meals are great, your customer service is next level and everything else is on point, then you should have no problem in this department.
You Have To Love This Industry
You have to love this industry and everything that comes with it if you plan on being a success. Simply wanting to be a chef is not good enough. You have to love the people, rain or shine, you have to love owning and operating a business, you have to love being extremely hot in the summer and rather cold in the winter. Okay, so you don’t have to love those last two things, and it might not be that hot in the summer or cold in the winter in your truck, but you still have to come to terms with the fact that being in a food truck might not be the most comfortable environment.
Above all else, if people and food are your passion, and if you love this industry, then you will be motivated every day to do your best.
Here’s a cold, hard truth for you: Cooking food isn’t your only job. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be that easy. You are running a business in every sense of the word, which means you are going to have to do business-like things, such as managing employees, coming up with business plans, implementing new strategies, learning the ways of digital marketing and social media, etc. On top of that, yes, you are also going to be cooking and making menus.
If the cold, hard truths above aren’t news to you and they don’t scare you away, then you might have what it takes to make it as a food truck owner.
If you are looking to break into this industry, make sure to request a custom quote!