Research is key to entering the mobile food industry!
You’ve come up with a great business idea that incorporates a mobile food unit whether that be a food truck, trailer, smoko truck, coffee van or a container kitchen and you are certain that this is your one way ticket to success. BUT before you jump into it, you must determine whether this venture is really viable through market research. Conducting industry research before entering the food truck industry is essential to ensure you are well prepared with all information needed for a smooth transition into your new business. Here we will give you direction on the research you should conduct.
Before you do anything, you must start putting together a rough budget. How much money do you have to invest and whether you are considering finance. This will determine whether your project is viable, the level of quality you can afford and the manufacturer you desire to go with. This is a business after all, and a commercial kitchen comes with a price. We’ve written an entire article about price expectations within the mobile food industry, check it out.
Once you know how much money you roughly have to spend, you need to research the actual cost of the project. Realistically, you need to research the vehicle you wish to use; are you using a van, truck or ute; and will you buy it brand new or second hand. What equipment you want to use; this set-up can cost anywhere between $5k – $30k. There are also costs for applications, transport and other running costs. Your chosen manufacturer will vary in cost; the level of professionalism and quality of their product comes with a cost; whether they get great wholesale deals on equipment and vehicles; and whether they meet Australian standards. Skipping these details will ultimately cost you less but will impact your business viability in the long run.
Primary and Secondary Research
Next you will need to collect all your primary and secondary market research. Primary research is information that comes direct from the source, that being potential customers. However, this information can be timely and costly, thus secondary research comes in handy. Secondary research involves the gathering of statistics, reports and studies from organisations or government agencies. This can be conducted by a simple google search, as such we have found the following links below very helpful. The resources you require will differ on your specific service or product.
Local Government Research
Once you have established your position in the market it is essential to connect with your local government and initiate conversations about your new business venture. After all, they will be the ones that approve your applications. During these conversations you should begin discussing their application process, what requirements you must meet and start questioning their specific regulations. Every council is different and require a variety of standards to be met. For example, the Brisbane City Council requires a mobile food business licence, eat safe certificate, design assessment and approval, public liability insurance certificate, environmental sustainability clause, and the list goes on and on. Your can find this information online from you local councils website or by visiting or phoning your local councils office. Here’s the link for the Brisbane City Councils Food Truck page.
Mobile Food Manufacturer Selection
PLEASE do your research before committing to a mobile food manufacturer. Whether that be a local supplier, a national supplier or a second hand unit. Ensure that your chosen manufacturer builds to suit Australian standards, as well as your local councils requirements. Spend time talking to them to ensure they are invested in assisting you and your business get on the road. Do a factory visit to see the conditions they are working in, inspect their current projects and ultimately get a vibe for the business. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. After all this, you will be able to make a calculated decision. In regard to second hand units, you should get the unit professionally inspected before you commit. You should still visit a local manufacturer to be able to compare the quality and standards of the unit. WHAT EVER YOU DO, do not buy a unit built in Asia. This is a recipe for disaster. They are priced exceptionally low for a reason! They pay employees very low $/hr, the product is very low quality and most importantly these units do not meet Australian commercial standards.
Where will you trade?
Having a product or service is well and good but if you don’t have a place of trade that will optimise your profits then you may as well scrap the entire idea. This all depends on your trade style. If you are catering you may want to start making industry connections, for examples, with event or wedding organisers. For those wanting to solo trade you will need to contact your local council to find your eligibility to trade in specific areas, in some instances you are required to apply to park in these areas. On the other hand, you may want to trade on private property, and must seek permission to do so. A beep-and-go service will need to contact businesses in a certain radius that may be interested in your service. There are many ways to trade in the mobile food industry thus once you decide on your style, making the right connections can help you get your business on the road sooner rather than later.
How can Bella help you?
As suggested, these researching tips are essential at the beginning of your mobile food business. Without adequate research you have the potential to miss important information that could make or break your business. Our team at Bella Manufacturing are invested in setting up all business, big or small, and ensuring they have all the right information before dropping the big $$$. Chat to our industry specialists today!