If you’re a food truck owner, you probably already know it can get as hot as 130°F inside a food truck on the most sweltering of summer days. And that can be dangerous for workers and food alike.
What you need are strategies to keep your workers cool and your food safety on point. If that’s something you didn’t consider when googling “how to open a food truck,” don’t worry. These summer food truck tips and tricks will keep you in compliance with food safety regulations and protect your workers from heat stroke and dehydration.
1. The Shade Is Your Friend
When you’re already slinging food on a flat-top, the summer sun beating down on your food truck is the last thing you need.
If you can, park in a shady area. You might even consider installing an awning. That will keep your customers more comfortable and allow them to read your menu more easily. It will also cut down on the sun blazing its way into your truck or reflecting off the sidewalk or pavement.
2. Ditch Heat-Producing Appliances When Possible
The oven and refrigerator are a necessary evil. But if there’s anything you’re not using, power it down whenever you can. Even the lights can produce extra heat you don’t need. This will also cut down on your operating costs.
3. Stay Hydrated
Protect yourself and your workers from the summer heat. As a food truck owner, you are responsible for your employees’ safety. Make sure you and your workers drink plenty of water throughout the day. Have water available in a dispenser where employees can refill their water bottles. If you have to, set a timer to remind people it’s time to take a hydration break.
4. Dress Appropriately
If you have a uniform, make sure it’s summer-friendly. Focus on light, breathable fabrics and discourage too many accessories.
You can also buy mesh cooling towels or keep a wet rag draped around your neck.
5. Get a Breeze Going
Depending on the design of your food truck, you might be able to open doors on one or both sides of the truck to get a cross-breeze going.
Whether you own a small food truck or a large one, consider investing in some solar-powered fans. They’ll give you some relief without having another appliance to keep on and pay for.
6. Know the Symptoms of Heatstroke
The signs of heatstroke include:
- Red, hot and dry skin
- Lack of sweating
- Cramps and muscle weakness
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe headache
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow but rapid breathing
- Confusion, disorientation or difficulty standing or walking
If you or any of your employees or customers exhibit these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
7. Keep the Fridge Maintained
An improperly maintained refrigerator is a disaster waiting to happen. Contact a certified mechanic to put together an inspection and maintenance plan. If your fridge goes out in the middle of a hot, busy day, you are likely to lose out on a lot of business.
8. Keep the Refrigerator Door Closed
Opening and closing the fridge door too much lowers the temperature. Consolidate steps by getting everything you might need out as long as it’s safe to do so. And at all other times, keep that door closed!
9. Upgrade Your Storage Containers
Porous containers like cardboard and styrofoam don’t let food cool as quickly when the humidity gets up. They can also promote mold growth. Upgrading your containers can save you a lot of money and headache in the long run. Use metal or polycarbonate storage containers—like Lexan—whenever possible.
10. Upgrade Your Food Truck
If your truck is older or if you’re having trouble keeping the one you have cool, a food truck purchase may be in your future. When operating a food truck business, your truck is your lifeline to a successful and profitable business. The investment is well worth it.
Just keep the tips above in mind when researching which kind of truck you’re going to buy. Things like where the doors are located can affect your decision.
More Help for the Food Truck Owner
The food truck business involves a lot of special logistics that a brick-and-mortar restauranteur doesn’t have to think about.
Don’t go it alone. Whether you’re a new or seasoned food truck owner, we’re here to help!
Want more food truck advice? Check out more blog posts here!
Thinking about starting a food truck? Request a free custom quote and one of our food truck specialists will help you design the truck of your dreams.