According to industry reports, food truck parks make money in a few ways. Almost every food truck park charges vendors rent to set up and sell at the park.
Besides collecting rent, some food truck parks charge customers an admission charge and require a payment for parking on the site. Another great aspect of the food truck park business is operators who do not have long-term leases can change locations if the first one doesn’t work out.
However, note that the exact amount any food truck park can generate will depend on the number of vendors you can recruit and the foot traffic you can generate.
If your vendors see continued value in selling in your spaces, they will come back. Parks are managed by a small group of leaders who form that park’s association and outline the park’s rules and regulations. These leaders may be the vendors themselves or a combination of vendors and community members.
One of the first decisions the leadership will make is who can and cannot sell at the park. This decision is more or less based on what types of foods will be sold and what the criteria for “local” is. Ninety-four percent of all food trucks are considered small businesses.
Vendors who manage their own operations and make less than $250,000 annually are considered small food truck operators. Have it in mind that small food trucks are the center of vendor membership at food truck parks, but many parks also allow local brick and mortar restaurants to set up shop too.
Potential vendors typically apply for space at the food truck park. They let the leadership know about their products and their products’ quality as well as any other detail the park requests.
Vendors pay fees for membership and space and acquire any permits or licenses that may be required by local laws. Physical liability insurance in case of accident or injury is either provided by the park or purchased by each vendor, depending on that park’s established rules.
Food truck parks are not only spring to fall operations – you can enjoy the foods and festivities year-round in some communities. Food parks in winter are similar to parks in summer but are held indoors. Food trucks are also available online and they offer the same types of goods as traditional open-air parks.
How Food Truck Parks Make Money
Rent from Food Truck Owners
The major source of income for a food truck park is the rent they get from food truck owners. Basically, food truck parks make available parking spaces for food truck operators to park their food trucks overnight or position their food trucks with the purpose of vending food and drinks to customers.
A food truck park places a fee which is known as rent (short-term rent) on their parking lots. This fee can be paid daily, weekly, or monthly.
Percentage of Sales
Apart from the rental fee that a food truck park charges food truck operators, some food truck parks also take a percentage of the sales generated by each food truck in addition to the rent. In this type of arrangement, the operator of the food truck park may also drive traffic to the food truck park.
This is indeed a cool means of generating income for a food truck park especially if the food truck park operator knows how to pull traffic.
Event hosting is yet another source of income for a food truck park. Generally, food truck parks host special events, such as food festivals, community events, live music performances, or themed nights.
Usually, these events attract visitors and tourists, and of course, when food truck parks host events, they usually sell tickets to attendees of the events, and they will also generate revenue through food and beverage sales.
Food truck parks also make money from vendor fees. The fact that the facility is primarily meant for food trucks, does not mean they cannot engage other related businesses.
For that reason, it is common to find food truck parks lease space to other vendors, such as beverage stands, dessert vendors, flea market organizers, or craft vendors. As expected, these vendors pay rent or a percentage of their sales to the park.
Advertising and Sponsorships
Another source of income for a food truck park is from advertising and sponsorship deals. If a food truck park is strategically located, it is easier for other corporate organizations, and businesses to partner with the food truck park for advertising and sponsorship deals.
For example, these organizations and businesses may pay to have their banners or signage displayed in strategic positions in the park or even sponsor specific events that will be taking place in the food truck park.
Hosting Private Events
Hosting private events is yet another source of income for a food truck park. Of course, it is common to find quite a number of food truck parks offering their space for private events like weddings, corporate parties, or family gatherings.
Anyone who wants to host their private event in a food truck park will be ready to pay some money. Apart from the rental fees, a food truck park pay also offers additional services such as the rental of party supplies, catering charges et al. It is a cool way a food truck can make additional income.
Another source of income for a food truck is the money they generate from membership programs if they have one in place.
Some food truck parks offer membership programs where food truck operators or even vendors pay a monthly or annual subscription fee in exchange for incentives such as discounts, early access, strategic positions, or exclusive events.
Please note that if your membership program is well organized and comes with attractive packages, you will generate a significant amount from it.
Food Truck Commissary Services
Lastly, another source of income for a food truck park is what is known as food truck commissary services. The average food truck park usually offers food truck commissary services.
A food truck commissary service is a shared commercial kitchen and operational facility where food truck operators can perform various tasks necessary for running their mobile food businesses.
Commissary services are essential for food truck owners because they provide a central location for all food trucks within the parking facility to handle several important aspects of their operations.
Interestingly, the fees generated from food truck commissary services make up a significant portion of the total income generated by a food truck park.
Useful Tips on How to Run a Food Truck Park Successfully
Especially in your food truck park for the first few months, advertising is crucial. Exploit everything you imagine that’s within your budget. Here are few tips to help out.
Get Elected Officials Involved
Have it in mind that the best leaders lead by example. Encourage your local elected officials to help you promote your park and its offerings.
Ask that they post and share information on their social media profiles and mention upcoming events at relevant speaking engagements. Encourage them to attend events as well. The opportunity to hit a home run pitched by the mayor is the type of opportunity that will encourage overwhelming participation.
Businesses and organizations with a presence in your community could benefit from sponsoring your park and more. Approach these organizations with the opportunity to sponsor your park competition or other specific events or programs. Be sure to match up with their goals – if they have green initiatives, can you align those with one of your events?
Choose a Great Location
Location! Location! Location! It is very critical to choose a great location for your park. Ideally, you’ll want a location that includes all of the following elements:
- A central location in a high-traffic area
- Space for vendors to park Trucks, carts, or trailers
- Amenities for customers
- Plenty of parking
Coordinate With Locals, Consumers, and the Community
Have it in mind that you need to balance the goals, objectives, and needs of each group to ensure that each one is satisfied.
- Sellers – It is important to choose a time and a season that works well for locals, and will allow them to sell their food to consumers for a long period of time, and at peak freshness. You also need to choose a time for the park that fits their busy schedule.
- Consumers – Consumers will want a wide variety of locally grown, fresh foods, a diverse selection of meals, and prices that are reasonable.
- Community – The community at-large should be involved with the process of planning a Food Truck Park. The input of community leaders, town officials, and committees should be taken into account when planning a food truck park, to ensure maximum positive effects on the community.
Add to Community Calendars
Be sure to post all your park activities to your community calendars on your civic website to generate awareness and encourage participation. If your park offers integrated marketing features, leverage them to promote sign ups and attendance at every market day throughout the month as well.
Work with your local media outlets to spread the word about the importance of being active and enjoying the numerous offerings of your Park. Submit a press release to all your media outlets and encourage them to cover local events.
Look for Diverse Products
The best food truck parks are chock-full of diverse products from local business owners. Not just great foods from local trucks, but products from a variety of local businesses. Talk to your local chamber of commerce, and do research to find great local small business owners who you can invite to your food truck park.
Note that to get more vendors trying out your facilities, offer a free pass program. Allow them to try the park for free for one visit, one week, or any other time period you see fit. Another way to offer free passes would be to set up a buddy pass for members. Members get two free passes per month, for example, so they can bring their friends along.
Although flyers at this point are considered old-fashioned, but they can still be effective. Consider delivering targeted flyers to organizations around town. Also, distributing flyers through schools has been a proven way to get the word out.
Use Smart Marketing and Advertising to Spread the Word
Even the best food truck parks in the world won’t succeed if people don’t know about them. Therefore, it is very necessary to advertise and market your food truck park and make sure that plenty of local community members know about it – before opening day. Here are a couple of great ways to advertise your market:
- Social Media: Start with creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your new food truck park. This is a great way to promote your local market and to give consumers and vendors information about things such as products available, scheduling, and special events.
- You can also partner with local community members and social media accounts to cross-promote, and ensure that you spread plenty of awareness about this new event.
- DialMyCalls – DialMyCalls offers a fantastic way to communicate with consumers about your upcoming food truck park. Using their mass notification system, if your customers sign up, you can send them customized SMS, voice, and email messages about the vendors and special events at your food truck park.
Allow Vendors to Have an Input
A great good truck park is indeed about cooperation. The vendors at your local food truck park depend on this income to survive – so it is very necessary that you listen to any concerns, comments, or input that they may have about the market.
Vendors can form a board of directors or a consumer advisory committee, and this is a great way to allow them to exercise a bit more control over the management of the park, and also make sure that any concerns they have are addressed.
When you involve the vendors, your park will be more inviting to both vendors and consumers – increasing diversity of products, and sales. That Is a win-win!
Just because you will be offering parking lots to food truck owners to conduct their business means that you are expected to prepare a document that will protect you from legal actions that may arise from the lease.
Coupled with your insurance cover, it is still imperative to ensure that you talk to a lawyer to help you draft an agreement document between you and your clients and you must ensure that it is properly signed before offering your food truck park to any customer.