Food Trucks vs. Food Trailers


In today’s blog we are going to discuss the pros and cons of food trucks versus food trailers.

So you’ve finally decided to quit your day job, buy a mobile kitchen, and hit the road selling your specialty burritos. What comes next? The great debate; should you purchase a food truck or a food trailer?

Food Trucks

In this type of mobile kitchen, the kitchen and vehicle are one unit. The kitchen is built out in the “box” space of a step-van. Kitchen space size can vary anywhere from 10’ to 26’. The most common size is 16’ or 18’ of kitchen space.

The biggest advantage to choosing a food truck over a food trailer is that it is one unit. Therefore, it is ideal for making multiple location stops. You needn’t worry about towing anything, and your overall size will be smaller making it easier to navigate through tight city streets and sharp turns.

Food trucks are generally allowed on more city streets than trailers. Allowing for a wider range of serving locations. Without having to tow anything, it makes it less of a hassle to switch serving locations throughout the day.

Food trucks are generally more expensive than their competition, the food trailer.  However, with a food trailer you will need a vehicle with the towing capacity to tow your trailer. This can be a hefty added expense which sometimes can exceed the cost of a food truck.

Since food trucks are one unit, if your truck has mechanical issues and needs to be in the shop, you’re business will be in the shop too.  This usually is a nonissue when you purchase a new step-van.

If you purchase a used step-van to build out your mobile kitchen, it is very important to have a mechanic look it over first to avoid costly repairs and time off the road. If you have a food trailer and your vehicle is in the shop, you can always rent or borrow a vehicle so you don’t miss any time on the road.

Food Trailers

Food Trailers are generally more affordable, allowing for a lower entry cost into the world of mobile kitchens.

The greatest advantage to the food trailer is the various size options. Food trailers can be anywhere from 8’ to 53’ long. The width of food trailers is commonly 8.5’ wide unlike the food truck which is usually only 7’ wide. In a tight kitchen space any extra width is much appreciated.

Food trailers generally carry more storage space. In a food truck the generator is almost always built inside the kitchen space, on a food trailer the generator is place on the tongue, allowing for more interior space inside the food trailer.

On the flip side, trailers are generally always larger when you factor in the vehicle towing the trailer. This makes it difficult for novice drivers to navigate in tight spaces.  

Food trailers are best for stationary or longer-term parking locations, versus a food truck with that may have a route with multiple stops.


  • Food trucks are ideal for routes, and having the capability to make multiple stops throughout the day.
  • The initial cost of a food truck may be more expensive than the food trailer, however you must have a reliable vehicle with the proper towing capacity for a food trailer.
  • Food trailers are ideal for events or areas where they can be stationary for long periods of time.
  • Food trucks are more compact. This makes them easier to navigate on city streets.
  • Food trailers have various size options and will offer more storage and cooking space than food trucks.
  • Thanks for tuning into our blog this week! We look forward to seeing you next Monday, and remember if you dream it, we build it. If you have any questions about this article please contact Stephanie Jarrell at [email protected]

Want more food truck advice? Check out more blog posts here!

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