Note that one of the benefits of building your own truck or kitchen is that you will understand the inner workings of your truck. Regular breakdowns are an unfortunate reality for many food trucks. So if you put the vehicle together, you will understand how to fix it. You may also be able to cut some of the costs if you have friends that are willing to help you out with electrical/mechanical work and lend you tools.
A well-designed food truck kitchen is an absolute must if you want your mobile kitchen to be efficient and safe. Careful 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.
Remember that your state or city will have particular requirements that are expected to be met depending on your mode of operation. For instance, if you are selling pre-packaged food, 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 for a new restaurant. 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.
Basic Steps to Plan and Build a Food Truck Kitchen
Owing to the size and style of a food truck, there are only a few layouts that can be considered. Ideally, both sides of the truck are lined with items, and there may be something across the back, as well. However, you will be 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 indeed 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. Here are simple steps to take to ensure you build a well functioning kitchen.
List Your Menu Items
Start by preparing a detailed list or menu of all foods you intend to prepare in the truck. Describe in detail the method of food storage and preparation. Note that this is one of the most crucial steps in planning any type of kitchen and should be done prior to choosing equipment.
You do not know what kind of equipment you will need until you have decided on the foods you will prepare. Don’t forget to include all menu items you may wish to add in the future. Adequate planning will avoid costly changes if these changes need to be made after the kitchen has been completed.
List Your Food Truck Equipment
Also, create a complete list (including detailed measurements) of all equipment you will need. Make sure to include onboard food prep, refrigeration, and storage. Every single item of equipment is expected to meet commercial health code requirements.
The size and amount of equipment, plus the food preparation counter surface, will dictate the amount of space your food truck kitchen must have. In addition, if you are using a used truck, then be sure to take exact measurements of the size of the space set aside for the kitchen.
Remember to make note of existing service windows, doorways, and electrical outlets. Create a sketch of the existing space, making note of the present flooring material, wall and ceiling surface, and all heating, exhaust, or air-conditioning vents. For a new truck, draw out a rough sketch of the dimensions and special features of the proposed construction of your mobile kitchen.
Plan Your Food Truck Design
At this point, plan how you will use the space with your food truck equipment inside your mobile kitchen. Ergonomics is the number one consideration in the design of kitchen space. Your kitchen is expected to be designed for maximum labor efficiency, safety, and functionality.
Also, ensure that there is enough room to move about freely when carrying hot pots and bulky supplies. If employees do not have to waste time and extra movement completing a task, efficiency is increased. Fatigue and workplace injuries will also be reduced.
Setup a Review for Your Food Truck Design
Note that you will have to contact your local city or state department tasked with reviewing all mobile kitchens. Fix an appointment to review your preliminary plans. Health and fire codes must be met. The kitchen area may need to be remodeled to satisfy requirements even if the truck had been licensed in the past.
Regulations govern how far a food preparation area is expected to be away from any sinks or electrical outlets, the installation of vents, and the size and temperature capacity of insta-hot water units. Also, make sure you receive a printed copy of all rules and regulations prior to designing the truck’s kitchen space.
Regulations vary from state to state. City or county ordinances may also apply. However, if you lack the skills to layout or build your kitchen yourself, then consider employing a mobile kitchen builder to design the kitchen.
They will be able to incorporate all building and health department rules that apply. But before you purchase equipment or begin construction, in many municipalities the detailed drawings or blueprints must be reviewed and officially approved by both the health department and fire inspector. In many cities across the country the blueprints must include:
- Electrical wiring schematics.
- Fire suppression equipment installation drawings.
- Plumbing plans.
- Electrical installation plans.
- Complete a list of all building materials used.
No food truck business venture is the same, which means that no food truck design experience will be the same either. The dimensions of your food truck will vary depending on your menu, equipment, and staff. If you decide that building a truck kitchen is the right path for you, then you should not hesitate to reach out to the experts. You might even be surprised that any friends that are plumbers, electricians, or mechanics will be happy to help you out with this interesting project.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Do You Start A Food Truck Kitchen?
- Do a research for your food truck location
- Choose a good food truck Concept
- Write a good business plan
- Have reasonable funds
- Acquire the Proper Licenses and Permits
- Purchase a food truck
- Get the necessary equipment.
2. How Can you Start A Catering Food Truck Business?
To start a catering business, you need the following tips;
- Gain exposure and experience
- Choose a concept
- Find a suitable working space
- Evaluate liability issues
- Select your staff
- Get good idea for marketing and advertising plans.
3. Can You Convert A Cargo Trailer Into A Food Truck?
4. What Profit Does A Food Truck Make?
Food trucks make satisfactory profits which can be in the range of $20,000 to $50,000 in sales each month.
5. Can You Prepare Food In A Food Truck?
No! It is not acceptable in some countries to prepare food in a food truck.
6. What Do You Need To Start A Food Truck Business?
You need the following requirement to start a food truck business;
- Tax Registration document
- Business Licenses
- Local Permits
7. What Food Can You Sell To Make Money in a Food Truck?
Some of the food you can sell to make money are;
8. How To Buy A Food Truck At Uft?
Request a quote on their website and choose according to your budget.
9. What Makes A Successful Food Truck?
10. Can You Sell Food You Make At Home?
No! It is prohibited to sell a home made food because of the food borne illness it may cause.
11. Can You Run A Sandwich Business From Home?
Yes, sandwich business can be run from home if only your home kitchen is up to standard.
12. How Do You Manage A Food Truck?
You can manage a food by considering the following ideas;
- Focus on great service
- Learn and use local marketing strategies
- Build trust
- Keep the staff optimistic
- Be consistent with your discipline
- Plan ahead
- Communicate with your team
- Know your marketing audience
- Calculate prime costs weekly or daily
13. How Much Does It Cost To Turn A Trailer Into A Food Truck?
The price depends on the size of the truck, but to turn a trailer into a food truck can cost $15,000 to $50,000.
14. What Equipment Does A Food Truck Need?
The equipment a food truck needs are;
- Under-counter refrigerator
15. How To Choose Between A Food Truck And A Concession Trailer?
Consider the following;
- The amount of money involved
- The size
- Time factor
16. What Are Some Popular Food Truck Concepts?
Popular food truck concepts are;
- Ice cream
- Shaved ice
- Indian food
- Hawaiian food
17. How Do You Design The Outside Of Your Food Truck?
- Get a food truck builder company to develop and lay a catchy design for your food truck outlet
- Give it a colorful paint design for attraction
- Inject familiarity into a design knowing what your customers will love
18. How Do You Start A Food Truck Business In Pa?
- First of all get an operating budget
- Fill the commissary application form
- Fill the vending application form
- Open a business insurance savings
- Take a food safety course for clarification
- Get your truck.
19. How Much Does It Cost To Start A Food Truck?
To start a food truck costs about $28,000 to $114,000.
20. Do Food Trucks Have Bathrooms?
21. What Are The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Food Truck?
The pros are;
- You will be your own boss
- Create your own menu
- Take the possible risk
- Make good use of opportunities
The cons are;
- You will have to work in a Small Space
- Abide by local legal laws
- Be prepared to take responsibility of paying the bills
- Be ready for considerable competition in the business.
22. What Should I Look For When Buying A Food Truck?
You should look the following;
- The equipment necessary for the food truck
- Sales Projections
- Parking permit, the terms and conditions
- Food ruck Concept
- Size restrictions
- Number of the Staff involved.
23. Why Choose United Food Truck?
Reason for choosing united food truck is because it is the largest and it is more accommodating than other trucks.
24. What Is A Good Marketing Budget For A Food Truck?
A good food truck marketing budget is within the range of 3 to 6 percent of sales.
25. How Much Do You Need To Invest In A Food Truck?
The average amount you may need to invest in a food truck is between $70,000 and $80,000.
26. Why Is Food Truck Food So Expensive?
Food truck food is expensive because of the high quality ingredients it uses in making food.
27. How Much Does A Food Truck Make Per Day?
Some trucks can pull in big bucks each day in sales and make $8,000 or more in a day.
28. How Much Does A Food Truck Cost To Operate?
It costs between $28,000 and $114,000.
29. How Do You Price Your Food?
You can price your food by using this equation; Price = Raw Food Cost of Item and Ideal Food Cost Percentage. And you can possibly alter the price to make it a round number, also make some changes where necessary.
30. Can You Park Anywhere With A Food Truck?
No! Food trucks are restricted to park in most areas because of limited parking space.
31. How Much Electricity Does A Food Truck Use?
Food truck electricity usage is within the range of 5000 watts up to around 7000 watts.
32. Is It Cheaper To Build A Food Truck?
No, building a food truck is not cheap, it is pretty expensive.
33. Can You Run A Food Business From Home If You Have Pets?
Yes, you can run a food business from home if you have pets. But the pets should be prevented from entering the kitchen or being in food preparation areas.
34. Do Mobile Kitchens Require Permits?
Yes, mobile kitchens require several licenses and permits to be able to operate.
35. How Much Does A Food Truck Cost?
A food truck costs from the range of $28,000 and $114,000.
36. How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Mobile Kitchen?
To rent a mobile kitchen costs $2,000 to $3,000 per day, just for short term rental.
37. Who Can Benefit From Mobile Kitchens?
The beneficiaries of food truck business are mostly families, especially when kids are involved. Because it saves them more time in food preparation.
38. Is Food Truck Business Profitable?
Yes, food truck is profitable because of the high revenue it generates for the owner daily.
39. How Do Food Trucks Get Water?
Through water system which is usually powered by electricity.
40. What Are The Top 5 Reasons Why Food Trucks Fail?
- Lack of execution and proper planning
- Failure to pivot industry shifts
- Lack of understanding
- Lack of patronages
- Lack of determination spirit.
41. How Do Food Trucks Keep Food Hot?
You can keep food hot with a steam table.
42. Why Do Food Trucks Fail?
High expenses are a common reason food trucks fail. It can collapse if it gets into unforeseen expenses like; equipment maintenance, fueling and parking tickets. If not properly managed.
43. What Is A Good Profit Margin For A Food Truck?
A good profit margin is ranged from 7 to 8%
44. What Percentage Of Food Trucks Fail?
45. What Are The Most Common Issues Faced By Food Truck Businesses?
The common challenges are;
- Challenges on mobile vending laws
- Parking permits
- Health codes
- Rules about distances from other businesses
- Needing a commissary for food preparation
- Insurance costs and challenges
- Fire codes
- Rival food trucks.
46. What Is The Most Profitable Food Truck?
Fukuburger Truck is the most profitable because of its annual sales which is higher than other trucks, it is about $1,060,000.
47. Do Food Trucks Pay Taxes?
Yes! Every food truck is required to pay taxes.