What is the set up and requirements for a food truck kitchen? Here are various types of food truck kitchen equipment & appliances you need. A well – designed food truck kitchen is very imperative if you want your mobile kitchen to be efficient and safe. Extensive planning in the design of the kitchen will save you money and time during the build – out phase and over time will increase the profitability of your truck.
Although it would be impossible to list and explain all the numerous requirements because each state, county and city has their own, there are general concerns that need to be addressed. Your local department of health will have all the information you need, so you can get started by calling to inquire about the necessary requirements.
Note that your state or city will have particular requirements that are expected to be met depending on your mode of operation. For example, if you are selling pre – packaged foods, you are not considered a food handler and may have less stringent requirements than if you are actually preparing foods or even scooping ice cream.
Outfitting a food truck kitchen is more like designing a commercial kitchen. You are expected to designate areas for cooking, chilling, storing and serving. And since a food truck is much smaller than most restaurant kitchens, you will have to utilize every inch of space.
Also note that most of your food truck designs will depend on your menu—will you be preparing the bulk of food in a separate area (like sandwiches or wraps) or will it be prepared on site (such as pizza or fried food). But irrespective of what type of food you plan to serve, you’ll have to ensure that your food truck meets all local and state health and safety codes.
Owing to the size and style of a food truck, there are only a few layouts that can be considered. Normally, both sides of the truck are lined with items, and there may be something across the back, as well. But you are expected to have adequate room for employees to move around, so the equipment has to fit the space very well and be efficient, too.
Also depending on your menu choice, there are relatively standard setups that a food truck owner can choose from. This earlier consideration can help you get the equipment that fits your menu and your truck, so you can keep your employees working and your customers happy.
It is imperative to make the most of your truck space and ensure that you’ll have everything your business needs. Here is a comprehensive list of food truck equipment and appliances to help you get your truck ready for service.
Types of Food Truck Kitchen Equipment & Appliances You Need
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1. Food Prep Equipment
Being able to prep food matters, and as a good trucker you want tables or counter spaces where you can do that. In addition, there are a number of great worktable options to be aware of, so you can choose the one that gives you the right level of space for your food truck. Here are some food prep supplies that you can start with:
- Stainless Steel Work Table: Depending on your food truck’s counter setup, you may want a stainless steel work table for added prep space.
- Cutting Boards: Whether you are dicing, chopping, or slicing, cutting boards are a necessity for every kitchen.
- Knives and Knife Rack: Purchasing good quality knives will save you replacement costs in the long run, and having a rack or roll to store them safely is important for a compact kitchen.
- Skillets or Frying Pans: Use these to pan fry, saute, or even steam your menu items.
- Sauce Pans: Sauce pans help you to reduce, simmer, and boil sauces and broths.
- Turners: Turners are another versatile item that can be used for anything from burgers to vegetables.
- Thermometers: If you want to keep your customers safe, use thermometers to ensure that all of your food items are cooked thoroughly.
- Blender or Food Processor: You can make smoothies, salsa, sauces, and soups with the help of a blender or food processor.
- French fry Cutter: A French fry cutter will save you plenty of time if your food truck has fries on the menu.
2. Cooking Equipment
Depending on your menu choice and the foods you hope to serve to customers, you may need assorted cooking equipment and these choices tend to vary. Cooking equipment is an important option for your food truck, and knowing the kind of menu you are going to have will make choosing which of these you need easier. Here is some important food truck cooking equipment:
- Griddle or Flat Top Grill: Griddles and grills are important for cooking popular items like pancakes, burgers, eggs, and vegetables.
- Range: Ranges allow you to pan fry, saute, boil, and simmer anything from your proteins to your sauces.
- Charbroiler: Charbroilers help you to achieve grill marks and the signature “grilled” flavour on chicken, steaks, vegetables, and more.
- Microwave: You can use a microwave to reheat sides or even steam vegetables.
- Toaster: With a toaster, you can get the perfect texture on bread for sandwiches or breakfast items like waffles, English muffins, and bagels.
- Salamander or Cheese Melter: Salamanders help you to brown the tops of foods like open – face sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. Plus, you can efficiently melt cheese on casseroles.
- Fryer: A fryer is a necessity item for many food trucks, allowing you to cook popular menu items like French fries, chicken tenders, and onion rings.
3. Refrigeration Equipment
Your foods are expected to stay at the right temperature, and that often means keeping it cold or cool until you are ready to either use it or serve it. However, depending on your menu and what the food is, you may be serving it cold. You may also be heating it up or cooking it, but if it doesn’t stay at a safe temperature until then you risk illness for your customers.
That’s why proper refrigeration techniques and equipment are both so crucial for food truck owners and employees to be aware of. Here is some specialized refrigeration equipment that you could consider:
- Worktop or under counter Refrigerator: A worktop refrigerator doubles as a work surface, which is optimal for your compact space.
- Sandwich or Salad Preparation Refrigerator: A sandwich or salad prep refrigerator has a bottom chilled cabinet, top with space for pans of toppings, and a strip of prep space for assembly.
- Pizza Preparation Refrigerator: Pizza prep refrigerators are similar to sandwich preparation models, but they offer a larger workspace for you to easily assemble your pizzas.
- Countertop Glass Door Refrigerator: A countertop glass door refrigerator is an excellent solution for merchandising canned or bottled beverages in your food truck.
4. Warming and Holding Equipment
Just like refrigeration equipment mentioned above, warming and holding equipment is very crucial for keeping your food at safe temperatures. Aside the fact that these pieces of equipment help you avoid food borne illness and health inspection violations, they also help to hold your menu items at appetizing temperatures for your customers. Here are basics for warming and holding equipment to consider:
- Countertop Food Warmer: A countertop food warmer is a versatile addition to your equipment, and it can keep foods like pasta, vegetables, and casseroles at safe temperatures.
- Fry Dump Station: Use a fry dump station to keep your fries warm once they are out of the fryer.
- Soup Warmer or Kettle: Soup kettles ensure that your soups remain hot until they are ready for serving.
5. Janitorial Equipment
You can’t operate a food truck in the United States without proper sanitation and janitorial equipment. If your truck is not safe or sanitary, the health department won’t be happy with you. So instead of risking those kinds of problems, make sure you consider this option extensively. Equip your food truck with the following janitorial supplies:
- Three – Compartment Sink: If you have the room, a three – compartment sink is important for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing your dishes and small wares.
- Hand Sink: A dedicated hand sink encourages your employees to practice good personal hygiene and keep your food safe.
- Anti – Fatigue or Wet Area Floor Mats: These mats will help to cushion the area you stand on every day and protect you from slipping.
- Sanitizing Chemicals: You can find sanitizing chemicals intended for both surfaces and dishware.
- Scrubbers and Sponges: You’ll need scrubbers and sponges to keep dishware and cooking utensils clean.
- Trash Can and Liners: Keep your waste disposal area tidy with a large bin and plenty of liners.
- Broom and Dustpan: A broom and dustpan is perfect for keeping the floor of your food truck tidy.
6. Serving Equipment and Disposables
Since the aim of your food truck is to serve on – the – go customers, you are expected to stock up on a number of disposable serving supplies. However, it is imperative you have adequate room to store these supplies in your truck, because running out of them could mean that you have to close your window for the day. Here are serving supplies to consider:
- Serving Utensils: Whether you need spoons, ladles, or tongs, always ensure you have clean serving utensils on hand.
- Pump Condiment Dispenser: You can put a pump condiment dispenser outside of your truck for self – service, or opt for one inside for more portion control.
- Squeeze Bottles: These bottles will help you top your menu items or allow guests to put condiments on for themselves.
- Sugar, Spice, or Cheese Shakers: With sugar, spice, or cheese shakers, you can dust your offerings with the appropriate toppings.
- Paper Food Trays: Paper food trays are a classic option for serving your food truck’s main and side dishes.
- Paper, Foam, or Plastic Dinnerware: If you offer platters or large portions, disposable dinnerware is the way to go.
- Paper or Plastic Cups: Paper or plastic cups allow you to serve beverages outside of bottles or cans.
- Plastic Utensils: A necessity for every food truck, plastic utensils helps your guests to enjoy their food.
- Take – Out Containers: Take – out containers make it easy for on – the – go customers to transport their food.
- Portion Cups: Portion cups allow customers to take just the right amount of condiments for their food.
- Paper Napkins and Dispenser: Put a napkin dispenser outside of your truck for guests to help themselves.
- Guest Checks or Order Forms: Guest checks and order forms will help you stay organized as you prepare orders.
- Disposable Gloves: With disposable gloves, you can handle food sanitarily.
- Aluminium or Plastic Food Wrap: Whether you need to wrap prepared servings or store ingredients for later use, aluminium or plastic food wrap will come in handy.
7. Service Window Choices
Also note that you will need a service window that you can open for customers to place orders and get their food. It is also expected to be closed if the weather is very bad or when you are not open for the day. Getting a good service window is a necessity a lot of food truck owners overlook when they are planning their equipment budget. Make sure you have it as one of your considerations.
A food truck kitchen design is more or less dictated by the minimal space you have as well as your required equipment and budget. When designing your food truck’s kitchen, consider ergonomics as this will always be appreciated by the chef and truck’s other on – board employees.
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