Do you want to plan a very detailed and effective food truck park layout design in 2021? If YES, here is how to go about it and everything you need to know. Food trucks have come a long way from the utilitarian vehicles that dish out hot dogs and chips that defined the brand until the first decade of the 21st century.

For most chefs and entrepreneurs, trucks have presented a lower cost alternative to restaurants, with extra toppings of being able to cater to multiple sites. As food truck fare has been elevated to a gourmet trend, ideas and options for parking and vending have boomed with creative energy and enthusiastic community support.

What is a Food Truck Park?

A food truck park, or pod, is a well organized space that hosts a community of food trucks and carts, attracts customers eager for a mass gathering of food options, and provides an area with eating amenities such as tables, tents, and bathrooms. Rental rates for a food truck park are around $500 to $1,000 per month and these parks offer space on a daily basis as well.

Advocates of food truck parks say they can revitalize neighbourhoods, bringing business to little-visited areas and offering dining options where there once were few. Since trucks have much lower start-up costs than brick and mortar restaurants, they are a way for new chefs to establish themselves in the community.

To start and run a food park, you have to first rent a commercial space in a highly visible area with lots of passing traffic, one that is large enough to be subdivided into smaller vendor spaces for trucks and carts. If climate permits or during summer months, and if space allows, extra revenues can be earned by renting outside vendor stalls as well. Rents vary depending on factors such as space size, location, equipment (tables included, etc.), and hours of operation.

When booking vendors, it is advisable to gun for a wide variety of food offerings that will ensure broad appeal to a large target audience. You can earn additional revenues by charging a gate fee, parking fees, having an onsite ATM, renting equipment, and providing shoppers with delivery services if they so desire.

Have it in mind that vendor occupancy is indeed much more important than charging a dollar to park. The investment to get this business up and running can be enormous, once costs such as rent, deposits, renovations, equipment, signage, and marketing have been taken into consideration. But with that said, the profit potential is excellent, as are the long-term growth opportunities.

When it comes to food truck park design planning, you have to consider various crucial factors. These considerations help you design a layout that facilitates optimum operational efficiency and ensure you attract more vendors and customers. Nonetheless, here are various ideas and factors to consider;

Factors to Consider When Planning a Food Truck Park Layout

  1. Park Location

Building a park always starts with identifying the location. If you have a park location in mind, or are looking at several potential locations, consider these fundamental factors:

  • Accessibility: Is the location wheelchair accessible, and can it be easily reached by public transport, car or bike? The easier it is to get to the park, the more use it will get. It’s necessary to build inclusive parks to make everyone feel welcome.
  • Safety: Is the area you somewhere that’s considered safe, with low crime rate?
  • Zoning: You will also have to research zoning regulations and permitting within the geographic region of interest. You don’t have to put down all the exact specifications required since you’ll need to constantly keep pace with this in the future as you move along, but a general idea of all city requirements needed will help you determine if you have the resources and funding to go through with the project.
  1. Know the Market and Community

If you want people and vendors to visit your park regularly, it needs to fit with what the community requires— for example, is your town full of couples and young children, and do you have a large school district? Or, do you have a more senior community with older couples? Perhaps a nice mix of both demographics.

Note that you have to make sure your park offering can entice children if the spot you are considering is central to several local schools. At the same time, the park should engage local seniors if the property is within walking distance of senior communities or homes. When designing your food truck park layout, you want to consider how to build participation and encourage community members across diverse groups to take advantage of their local food court.

  1. Park Appearance

Have it in mind that the appearance of a food truck park is another important consideration you should not neglect when planning food truck park layout. It depends on a number of elements such as theme, lighting, functional, and operational designs.

When deciding on the appearance of a food truck park, make sure it is attractive and reflecting the character of the services and customers you are eager to attract. Consider the natural terrain. In many cases, it’s best to work with the ground, not against it. Existing slopes, banks, and flat spaces enhance the native feel of your park.

Sun pattern is another consideration. You can’t change the sun, but you can accommodate for time of day and seasonal changes. Shade provision can be natural through best tree use. Or, you can provide shade by artificial screening.

  1. Physical Preparation

Established food truck parks provide their vendors covered selling areas, tables, and storage lockers. As a start-up, you can operate an open-air park with vendors providing their own tables. Once you become established, you should consider providing some sort of cover.

Customer parking should be segregated from the selling area. Bathroom facilities are also a must – there are plenty of enterprises from which you can rent temporary freestanding toilets. Another convenience you should try to provide to your vendors is electricity but consults a licensed electrician for guidance, and follow the guidelines carefully.

  1. Budget

Budget is another prominent factor that plays a vital role in a food truck park design layout. The availability of funds and management of finance should be considered carefully when designing a food truck park layout. If you are not sure how to utilize your funds in an effective manner, consider various ‘what-if’ scenarios to wisely handle your funds.

6. Engage the Community During the Planning Process

No one knows more about the community’s needs than its citizens. Bringing the community into the park design phase is critical. Collective community minds will identify strengths and weaknesses in proposed and developing plans. Concerned citizens are also sure to voice their likes and dislikes.

If you roll out park plans without community inclusion, you are sure to get opposition. You might encounter the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) argument rather than strong support. To help prevent this, get community members on board as soon as you start planning. Most will be happy to help and can offer great input on your design.

  1. Management

A food truck park design also depends on the quality of management you are planning to utilize to operate the park. If, in your park, quality management and experienced manpower exist, only then can you place sophisticated equipment and high-tech gadgets.

  1. Execution Plan

All the services included in your execution plan such as material management are expected to be designed in such a manner that meets all the principles of the food truck park design layout. For example, check whether your plan ensures the proper utilization of resources. A food truck park should be designed in such a way that utilizes the locally available material, making it cost effective.

  1. Incorporate the Right Site Furnishings Into the Layout

No food truck park design is complete without specifying site furnishings. These are features that enhance the customer’s experience and make vendors more comfortable and likely to enjoy their time at the park. This is where your imagination might clash with your budget, but there’s no dispute that the right amenities worked into your park plan will pay back. When choosing site furnishings for a park, here are some components to consider:

  • Benches and Tables: Every park needs adequate seating components. That can be standard park benches or combined with picnic tables. The best seating components are durable and made of lasting materials.
  • Litter Receptacles: No one likes a trash-strewn park, and the best prevention for litter is having plenty of receptacles.
  • Grills and Fire Rings: Many folks enjoy picnicking outdoors — and also love a place to grill. Provide them with some spots. Give grills and fire rings their proper place in your park so visitors can bring charcoal or gas to grill with and enjoy a meal.
  1. Other Attractions

Many food truck parks offer other attractions and amenities for customers. Bounce houses for children can be rented and offered as a free attraction, but your insurance must cover it. Many food truck parks have local bands playing live music for tips and exposure, which gives customers a pleasant break while eating. Visit other parks to get an idea of what they offer and what people are used to seeing at a food truck park.

Joy Nwokoro