When it comes to investing in a food truck or other mobile catering business, there is plenty of work to be done in the planning stages – deciding on the kind of food that will be served, understanding target market, creation of a business plan, knowledge of required operating permits, regulations, and so on.
When it comes to the actual vehicle, however, what key things should be considered when buying a food truck?
Size and weight
Is a truck, a trailer or something else the best option? The size of vehicle required will depend on the equipment needed to produce the menu. Griddles, ovens, deep-fryers, bain-maries, refrigeration and prep benches all take up space. The more equipment required, the bigger the vehicle will need to be.
Once the required equipment has been identified, the weight of it – in addition to other compulsory equipment – will impact the licence required to drive the vehicle. This blog shares more information about weight and licences.
A good food truck manufacturer will spend time going through the design of a catering vehicle. In a confined space, the layout is important to ensure a smooth preparation and service flow is achieved, just like in a bricks and mortar commercial kitchen.
As with most purchases – and a food truck is a big one – quality is important. When gathering quotes, ask questions about the quality of equipment installed, where it comes from, who is building your vehicle and adherence to relevant codes that maintain the safety and usability of the vehicle. Use this checklist to help..
A cheap purchase up front will usually cost more down the line in repairs which not only can be expensive, but also take time away from operating the business. Quality usually means reliability, so buy the best the budget allows.
Everyone has a budget, make sure finance options and obligations are explored before starting the process. Not only will this provide clarity on how much is available to spend but may speed up the process if finance has been pre-approved.
Research the provider options and ask questions – where is the vehicle made? Have any elements been imported? If so, do they meet Australian standards and codes? Are warranties included? Protect your investment – if warranties are not included, find another provider. A reputable manufacturer will be someone knowledgeable about the process and interested in spending the time it takes to help design and build a custom commercial kitchen, specific to individual business needs.
Starting a new business – whether a large food truck or a small coffee cart – takes planning, investment, and quality equipment that can be relied on, day in and day out. Be realistic about what it takes to succeed, buy the best quality, and be educated on what is required through each step of the process.