According to reports, the Californian Gold Rush attracted thousands of Chinese immigrants to work in mines, infrastructure and railroad. Other Chinese immigrants set up shop to provide for them, offering comfort food from home. They adapted their cuisine, using local produce. And with time they tapped into a new market by adapting their recipes to Western palates.

Now is an exciting time for Asian cuisine entrepreneurs. Note that between 1999 and 2015, sales of Asian fast food rose 135 percent. And in 2019, there were close to 20 million Asian – Americans in the United States. However, you don’t need to have Asian blood to like Asian food. Asian cuisine is very popular and that is why Asian cuisine food trucks are gaining attention.

In the United States, there is an enormous, lucrative market for Asian Food Trucks & Trailers. A full – service Asian food restaurant typically runs a low 3 – 5 percent profit margin. A food truck can increase that to 6.1 – to – 9 percent. And with Millennial of all ethnicities wanting exotic or unexpected food adventures, you can express your gourmet Asian dishes in many creative and unique ways.

Have it in mind that Asian cuisine is as large as the continent itself. There are some common features to the whole, such as the use of rice, ginger, garlic, chillies, soy, etc. But don’t forget that there are slight differences by region.

One of the ideal ways to create a successful Asian food truck business is to first venture into catering. Note that the profit margins for catering jumped up to over 15 percent, although the average runs about 7 percent – 8 percent. You can also choose to focus on special events that draw people in such as sporting events, local festivals, fundraising, local bars and clubs, wedding, family reunions, etc. You can also provide curb side service during the busy lunch hour rush.

However, Asian foods prepared on food trucks are normally priced on a per item basis. Notably, the prices of dishes and items will vary according to food costs (the actual amount it costs the truck to make dishes) and sometimes according to demand. For instance, if your truck is famous for serving Asian fish sauce, you may choose to use a higher mark-up to your cost of preparing it.

How Much Should You Charge for your Asian Dishes?

Note that food trucks in the United States target food – cost percentages between 20 and 40 percent. Howbeit, if a menu item’s total food costs are $2, its sale price should be between $5 (40 percent) and $10 (20 percent). You can adjust the actual percentage you use as you deem necessary. For items that take more time and labour to prepare, you may have to increase the percentage to keep your pricing competitive.

Meanwhile, new entrants into the business typically use one of the following methods to determine menu pricing: Food – cost percentage pricing and Factor pricing. Note that these methods are simply guidelines for your use and aren’t absolute rules. If you feel your market will bear menu item pricing that exceeds what you come up with by using these methods, do it.

The food – cost percentage pricing method is the most widely used method for menu pricing. To determine prices with this method, food truck owner normally calculate: Food cost ÷ target food – cost percentage = menu price. Howbeit, this formula doesn’t take labour or other operational costs into consideration.

The factor pricing method uses a factor, such as 30 percent, that represents food – cost percentage. Note that to determine prices with this method, you simply say: 100 ÷ target food – cost percentage = pricing factor and Food cost x pricing factor = menu price.

5 Factors that will Influence the Price of Asian Dishes in Food Trucks 

Setting the price of Asian dishes on your truck involves considering many factors, including the cost of food, cost of labour, what the competition is doing and what your target customers are willing to pay. Nonetheless, here are key factors that will influence the price of Asian Dishes for Food Trucks in the United States.

  1. Different Styles of Asian Food

First and foremost, Asian cuisine is as big as the continent itself. There are some common features to the whole, such as the use of rice, ginger, garlic, chillies, soy, etc. However, there are slight differences by region. Culinary historians and anthropologists categorize three main types of Asian cuisine based on how they’ve developed over centuries.

  • South western Asian Food – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar: The cuisine from this region is heavily influenced by creamed sauces based on dairy, yogurt, curries, strong spices, and flat breads.
  • North eastern Asian Food – China, Korea, and Japan: The foods in this region are cooked with fats, oils, spices, vinegars, and soy. Noodles are a dominant starch.
  • South eastern Asian Food – Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei: This area brings us fresh, aromatic, lightly prepared food. Discrete spices are used with hints of citrus and herbs. Fish sauce for soy. Curries based on coconut milk.
  1. Food Costs

Food costs remain a very crucial factor that goes into your menu pricing. Note that this is just what it costs to acquire the ingredients used in a dish. There is a reason why sushi tends to cost considerably more than items like noodles and sauce. The cost of purchasing these ingredients is much higher.

However, acquiring very high quality, local, organic or sustainable ingredients can increase pricing as well. Nonetheless, always strive to write down the costs of the ingredients that go into each dish and use this as a base for setting your menu pricing. Keep in mind that there are more factors involved with pricing.

  1. Competition

With the proliferation of Asian cuisine in the mobile food industry, food trucks that serve Asian delicacies are starting to encounter stiff competition. When you want to price your Asian dishes, first do some reconnaissance work to see what your competition is charging for similar items.

This does not mean just food trucks; check out the prices of Asian restaurants in your area to find how they are pricing their menus. Note that the intention may not always be to beat their prices; you can make up for price differences by offering better customer service or higher quality ingredients. Pricing can be a huge part of many strategies.

  1. Customer Base

The exact demographics will indeed influence the prices you set for your dishes. This reflects the image of your food truck and can play a role in bringing back repeat customers. In the United States, customers always want to feel like they are receiving good value for their money. So always analyze on how pricing changes affect your customers. Surveys can be a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers’ attitudes toward your business.

  1. Market Changes

Prices for products needed to make Asian food can fluctuate substantially. Flood or poor growing seasons can affect the price of certain fruits and vegetables. Consider building some flexibility into your menu pricing to accommodate changes in the market.

High – end seafood and other Asian condiments can be priced on a day – by – day basis depending on what it cost to bring them in fresh that day. Take the time to add a note of explanation for your customers when you have to adjust menu pricing in reaction to market changes.

Conclusion

The current Asian food culture embraces various Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, and other Asian influences. Many 3rd or 4th generation Asian American chefs fuse their ancestral fare with other cuisines and cooking techniques. Note that food trucks provide the space to test out new menu items, refine recipes, and specialize in Asian American twists.

Ajaero Tony Martins