Do you want to start a food truck business franchise but lack ideas? If YES, here are 20 best food truck franchise opportunities you can buy in USA for 2018.
Franchising in the food truck sector generally means acquiring additional trucks through the sale of franchise rights to independent investors who will now make use of the name and business model of the principal. The principal (franchisor) gets to make some money off the deal through the initial franchise fee the franchisee pays.
After the start-up period, franchisees are also required to pay an ongoing royalty fee for continued support and training in advertising, marketing, kitchen guidance, financial and other services.
Franchising is not really vibrant in the mobile food industry because many successful food truck owners feel food trucks are small enterprises that are monopolized by their owners, with each of the trucks having their own personal branding and concept which other entrepreneurs would find difficult to fit into. But this assertion has been proved wrong as some food trucks have taken the bull by the horn and have materialized very successful franchises with minimal capital and risk.
If are bold enough to buy into the food truck industry through acquiring a franchise, here are 18 successful food truck franchises you can acquire with reasonable startup costs in the United States.
Top 20 Best Food Truck Franchises to Buy in USA for 2018
- ZooHoo’s Eatery
ZooHoo’s is a fast casual restaurant on wheels. The mobile restaurant features hand-patted grass-fed burgers, fresh vegetable and portabella mushroom wraps, hand-cut French fries, and quality soft serve ice cream, all served from the custom made ZooHoo’s Eatery mobile food service trailer.
In addition, they offer fish sandwiches, conch fritters, fresh mescaline salad with grilled vegetables and chicken, as well as turkey burgers and natural chicken served on a bed of Boston lettuce. This mobile food service franchise eliminates the added startup costs and overhead expenses associated with a brick and mortar establishment.
- Liquid Capital Required – $50,000
- Total Investment – $69,000 – $140,000
2. Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen
Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen is a stationery restaurant that also runs a food truck. The average initial investment to open a single Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen ® restaurant ranges from $302,450 to $558,950. These costs include franchise fee, lease deposits, leasehold improvements, fixtures and equipment, miscellaneous suppliers, opening inventory, initial advertising, signs and working capital.
- Initial franchise fee – $25,000
- Average initial investment – $302,450 to $558,950
- Kono Pizza
Kono Pizza is a casual dining restaurant that serves especially pizza cones with a variety of specialty fillings, including classic pizza ingredients, salads and drinks. The company offers stationary restaurants, location-based units (kiosk units), as well as mobile units that may be moved to and from different events or locations.
These mobile units include; The Cart which can be operated indoors or outside, at events or from permanent or semi-permanent locations; The Food Truck which is a fully equipped motorized vehicle that can travel from location to location; The Concession Trailer which is not a motorized vehicle itself, but can be moved by a motorized vehicle attached to it.
- Initial Franchise Fee – $14,900 to $149,000
- Launch Fee – $2,500 to $10,000
- Opening Inventory and Packaging – $3,600 to $4,800
- Estimated total – $165,026 to $383,536
- Kona Ice
Kona Ice, also called the Kona Entertainment Vehicle is a basically a truck that sells shaved ice. The truck has over 10 flavours of shave ice that customers can mix by themselves. The Kona Ice truck can serve up to 500 people in an hour, and in all these they ensure speed and dexterity while serving customers.
Kona Ice was named the number one New Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine 2013; top in Franchisee Satisfaction (Franchise Business Review and Franchise Update), number one in Dessert Franchise category in Entrepreneur Magazine and they made the Fastest Growing List for the past five years. All these were made possible by the combination of a fresh concept, strong corporate support with a vision, and a desire to make the world a better place.
- Total Investment – $114,225 – $139,025
- Cash Required – $20,000
- Captain D’s Seafood restaurant
Captain D’s is a seafood restaurant that also operates a mobile food truck. Captain D’s has more than 500 locations nationwide, with a large cluster of restaurants in the Southeast and an expanding footprint in other states. About half of the company restaurants are owned by franchisees. Captain D’s is the fast-casual seafood leader with restaurants in 21 states and they are the number one seafood franchise in America. They equally ranked number 224 in the 2015 franchise 500 rank.
- Liquid assets – $350,000
- Net worth – $1 million
- Initial Investment – $781,000 to $1,013,000
- Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
- Royalty Fee – 4.5% – 5%
- Term of Agreement – 20 years
- Toppers pizza
Toppers Pizza is a chain of pizzerias in the United States. The pizzeria was founded by Scott Gittrich in 1991 in Champaign, Illinois. The first Toppers Pizza location in Wisconsin opened in Whitewater in 1993 and they started franchising in 1997 with its first franchise store opening in Eau Claire, WI. The company franchises currently produce very high average unit sales of over $941,000 per year.
In 2014, Toppers was ranked No. 54 in Pizza Today on the “Top 100 Pizza Chains in the United States”. Entrepreneur Magazine equally ranked Toppers as one of the top 500 franchises in the U.S and QSR Magazine listed Toppers as one of the year’s Best Franchise Deals.
In July 2011, Toppers Pizza launched its first-ever mobile pizza store. The truck mainly focused on the late night bar scene aiming to feed hungry college students, but today Toppers mobile pizza truck has diversified its customers.
- Total investment – $292,416 to $530,652
- Initial fees – $10,000 to $30,000
HipPOPs is a mobile Gelato Ice Cream truck that is into the frozen ice cream business. The company started in 2012 and started franchising in 2015. HipPOPs is a gourmet, handcrafted gelato on a stick that is delivered to the people through a truck.
The truck was built on the success of the original HipPOPs mobile ice cream business model, and their passion for delivering handcrafted frozen goodies to people gave them the needed boost. The POPtruck is also a billboard that providing maximum exposure every time it is out on the street. Franchisees vend from the POPtruck at music festivals, golf tournaments, food truck events, arts and crafts fairs, and they as well cater events.
- Initial Investment – $245,175 to $351,450
- Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
- Cousins Maine Lobster food truck
This food truck started in 2012 when Cousins Jim and Sabin from Maine got together and bought a food truck. When they opened they had one truck, a small staff and very little restaurant experience, but their passion saw them through, and on the first day, they experienced lines of 50 to 60 people.
From that day, demand increased resulting to more sales and a future desire to expand the business, which led them to franchising. Cousins Maine Lobster Food Truck sells the freshest and most succulent lobster one can ever enjoy on the streets. Their food offering include an amazing selection of Rolls, Quesadillas, Tacos, Tots, and more, all stuffed to perfection in plump, flavorful fresh Maine lobsters. The truck also offers catering services.
- Initial investment – $210,900 to $342,900
- Johnny Rockets
Johnny Rockets is an international restaurant chain that offers varieties of food, fun and friendliness of the classic, timeless, feel-good Americana. Johnny Rockets restaurant serves simple, great-tasting food from a menu of all-American favorites including juicy burgers, crispy American Fries, classic sandwiches and rich, delicious hand-dipped shakes and malts.
The restaurant offers friendly service, flavorful food, uplifting music and relaxed, casual fun. With its delectable offerings, the company has an annual sale in excess of $300 million. In April 2016, the 30-year-old restaurant chain best known for its hamburgers and handspun milk shakes started its first international food truck in La Serena, Chile. A month later, a second food truck hit the streets of Lagos, Nigeria.
- Liquid Capital Required – $200,000
- Net Worth Required – $500,000
- Total Investment – $650,500 – $1,098,500
- Initial Franchise Fee – $49,000
Cafe2U is USA’s first mobile coffee franchise system that started business in 2000. Cafe2U launched its first prototype mobile café vehicle in Australia on Sydney’s northern beaches. Cafe2U was named the fastest growing coffee franchise in Australia by BRW magazine in February due to the ongoing success of people who join the Cafe2U franchise. In June 2011, the Master Franchise for USA was signed and training of USA franchisees commenced.
- Initial Investment – $109,146 – $154,621
- Net-worth Requirement – $100,000
- Liquid Cash Requirement – $25,000
- Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000 to $25,000
- Ongoing Royalty Fee – $175 per week
- Gigi’s Cupcakes
Gigi’s Cupcakes is a bakery that specializes in delicious cupcakes. The company’s desserts are cooked with fresh ingredients each morning. Gigi’s Cupcakes changes its menu each day so customers can discover new, exciting flavors on a regular basis.
Some of their more unique tasty treats include Lemon Poppy Seed, Merry Margarita, S’mores, White Midnight Magic, Hunka Chunka Banana Love, Hot Fudge Sundae, Kentucky Bourbon Pie, and Champagne. Advanced ordering is also available for weddings and other special events. Gigi’s Cupcakes requires that its franchisees go through 120 hours of training and they offer ongoing assistance to them.
- Liquid capital required – $100,000
- Net worth required – $250,000
- Investment – $225,000 to $225,000
- Franchise fee – $35,000
- Units in operation – 14
- CHURROMANIA food truck
Opening its doors in March 1997, CHURROMANIA has grown from its initial storefront in Venezuela to over 125 locations across North and South America, and its first franchise opened in 1998. Serving fresh, hot, sugar coated churros, the restaurant gains customers because of the delicious smells wafting out from the store and because of the childhood memories customers are reminded of.
CHURROMANIA stands out with its business model among those in the pastry world, since they only sell churros and beverages, and not a dizzying area of merchandise that can get lost in the shuffle. Their two most unique items are their signature treat TWISTMANIA, which offers an array of inviting toppings, and the BIGMANIA, which offers the customer the filling of their choice.
- Investment – $135,000 – $335,000
- Franchise fee – $30,000
- Units in operation – 125
- Little Caesars Mobile Pizza Kitchen
In 1959, Mike and Marian Ilitch opened their first pizza restaurant in Garden City, Michigan. The restaurant also served Italian staples such as spaghetti, as well as fried chicken, but pizza was their top seller. They opened a second location two years later, and the first Little Caesars franchise got its start in 1962.
By the end of that decade, Little Caesars franchises had reached the 50-unit mark. In 1980, Little Caesars franchises accounted for $63.6 million in sales across 226 units, and its “Pizza Pizza” ad campaign – offering two identical pizzas in a single takeout package for one low price – was the hit of the Midwest.
- Franchise fee – $15,000 to $20,000
- Net worth – $150,000
- Liquid capital – $50,000
- Initial investment – $200,000 to $600,000
14. Wayback Burgers
Wayback Burgers is a fast casual restaurant chain dedicated to providing hungry customers with delicious burgers. It was previously known as Jake’s Wayback Burgers and was based in Cheshire, Connecticut. In addition to hamburgers, Wayback serves hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, milkshakes and salads along with a variety of regional selections.
Currently operating in 28 states, Wayback Burgers’ potential has been demonstrated by their loyal following. And while looking for alternative to the high maintenance cost of brick and mortar restaurants, Wayback Burger hopped on the food trailer trend in 2017.
- Liquid Capital Required: $125,000
- Total Investment: $300,000 – $400,000
15. The Grilled Cheese Truck
This food truck started as a joint venture between Dave Danhi (a Los Angeles-based chef) and Michele Grant (an entrepreneur). The idea came to Danhi when he competed in the 7th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational, a grilled cheese competition that takes place every Spring in Los Angeles, California. At the end of the competition, he saw food trucks lined up to serve hungry customers, and that gave him an idea to start the grilled cheese truck to serve such kinds of gatherings.
- Franchise Fee: $15,000
- Royalty: 8%
- Total Investment: $63,700 – $768,750
16. The Halal Guys
The Halal Guys concept originated with a humble food cart in Manhattan in 1990. The cart quickly grew in popularity with their food offering which included their signature chicken, gyro and falafel platters over rice and their world-famous white sauce. The original food cart was known as NYC’s ‘never-ending line’ due to overwhelming consumer demand and constant requests from fans.
- Initial Investment: $231,600-$834,000
17. Pincho Factory
Pincho factory serves fresh, 100% natural, anti-biotic free, made to order, and award winning food. The food truck dispenses their signature burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, fries and tots, and drinks.
- Initial Franchise Fee $30,000
- Total Estimated Initial Investment $357,000 – $455,500
- Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000
- Royalties – 5%
- Marketing Fund Fee – 2%
18. Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen basically got its roots from ice cream. Most businesses came about as a result of experiments, and it was the same with Dairy Queen. Its founder J.F. McCullough was experimenting with a recipe for a new frozen dairy product, owing to his belief that ice cream tasted better when it was soft and served fresh from the freezer, not frozen solid.
The first Dairy Queen opened in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois, and they sold only soft-serve ice cream in form of ice cream sundaes, take-home pints, quarts and cones. Over the years, other ice cream treats were added to the menu like banana splits and Dilly Bars. Today, they have modified to include hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken strips through the Dairy Queen’s Grill and Chill concept. Dairy Queen launched it mobile food truck in 2010.
- Initial Investment – $1,083,525 – $1,850,425
- Net-worth Requirement – $750,000
- Liquid Cash Requirement – $400,000
- Initial Franchise Fee – $35,000
- Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
- Ad Royalty Fee -5-6%
Interesting Statistics About the Food Truck Industry
The annual food truck revenue in the United States is about $1,200,000,000 and the Industry revenue increase by 12.4% over the past five years. The total number of food trucks in U.S. is put at 4,130. Food truck Industry revenue increased over the past five years at the rate of 12.4 %.
The average revenue generated per food truck in the United States is about $290,556 and the average spending per order at a food truck is $12.40. The average amount required to own a food truck is about $85,000.
In the United States, Canada, Australia and even Europe, the percent of sales generated by food trucks based on market segments are; Street locations or street corners accounts for 55%, construction work sites and industrial sites accounts for 15%, shopping malls accounts for 12% and other locations, venues and event centers accounts for 18%.
Food trucks have been around for years, they are popular when it comes to serving construction sites, camp grounds, factories, and other blue-collar work locations. The industry is meeting a need in the society; people who don’t have the time to search for restaurants or travel a distance to eat in a restaurant find it time saving and cheaper to patronize food trucks.