Are you about starting a food truck business and you want to know where food trucks park at night? If YES, here are 10 alternative parking spots. First of all, it is imperative to know that the degree to which restrictions are placed on food trucks can vary dramatically from city to city and even from day to day.
Sometimes, a food trucker might be lucky enough to be around an area with lax policing, but it is advisable that food truckers stay prepared for every law to be carried out to its full extent. After serving their last customers, food truck around the country more or less have one more stop on their itinerary; a commissary. That’s where they park the truck for maintenance, cleaning, and restocking for the next day or shift.
Whether trucks are mandated by law in their area to park at commissaries—as is the case in many cities—or use them for convenience, commissaries provide many services. Commissaries have been around for decades, working with traditional commercial food trucks, but with the rise of gourmet trucks, commissaries are in the spotlight.
In the United States, many cities require food trucks to be parked at commissaries overnight. So have it in mind that if you don’t rent commissary space to prepare your food, you may need to pay for somewhere to park your truck each night.
Many cities won’t allow you to park a food truck on the street when it isn’t vending. Instead, you must either park it in your driveway or garage or you must rent an off-street parking spot from someone with an appropriate space such as a lot.
A lot of commissary kitchens in the United States also dedicate parking lots for this purpose or you may be able to negotiate with anyone who has an available spot that is compliant with local regulations.
10 Other Parking Alternatives for Food Trucks
Aside commissaries, there are some other places you can consider if you want to save a bit of money. You only have to get a little creative and think outside of the box. These places include;
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When considering an alternative food truck space to rent, warehouses are without doubts one of your safest options. These places are where you store your truck in a warehouse-type facility and you would also have a code to the gate and warehouse. Most storage companies offer 24-hour access but it is worth checking.
2. Private property
In the United States, there are a lot of people out there looking to make extra money from their unused space. For instance, you can find people with large driveways or land at the back of their house that is unused and they want to rent. You can also see ‘food truck space to rent’, advertised on sites such as: Social media, Craigslist, Gumtree, and Facebook market place etc.
3. Covered outdoor parking
Note that these are dedicated parking areas or lots where you can store your food truck. This type of store tends to be secured with gates and sometimes they are not. They will also be covered by a canopy which will protect your food truck from the elements.
4. Uncovered outdoor parking
In addition, if you have no problem with your food truck being uncovered, then uncovered outdoor parking is a wonderful option. This is more or less an open space in a car park with a truck storage company, and similar to covered parking. The storage company may also offer some security such as a gate.
Campsites are known to have large open spaces with capacity for onsite parking and storage for RV’s. Food trucks are almost the same size with RVs, so it may be worth contacting camping companies to see if they can accommodate you.
6. Friends & family
This option tends to be the first port of call for food truckers when contemplating where to park their food truck overnight. But just in case it slipped your mind, it is worth mentioning that family and friends can be a very useful resource when called upon. And even if they don’t have adequate space, they might even know who does.
7. Commercial business premises
Note there are businesses that have space in or outside of their premises but don’t advertise. It is always worthwhile to approach businesses in your local area to see if they have free space. Types of businesses you can approach that often have large amounts of storage space are: Warehouses, Breakers yards, RV and Car sales lots etc.
8. Truck stops
These stops are more or less used for long haul trucks that travel the length and breadth of the country, and these stops are a good free alternative to park your food truck overnight. As long as you buy some food or gas from the station, they should be fine with you to park their overnight.
9. Casino car parks
There are many casinos in the US that offer free parking or a very small fee if you use their services. It doesn’t mean you have to gamble away all your hard-earned cash, but you can have some food and drink in the restaurant.
Consider checking with the casino’s reception or security first to find out what their policy is before parking your food truck. Casinos are known to have high levels of security and a lot of people milling around so this helps with peace of mind.
10. Car parks
Also note that some car parks offer free overnight parking between certain hours. Most of the time public and private car parks will have 24 hour CCTV which is viewed remotely from a security box. Car parks are also well lit which can make these a safe option.
Always take your time to figure out what kind of parking is legal in your area. In some cities, limited parking is a very real problem for food truck owners because legislation around the industry is still very much in flux. But with all types of parking and storage, remember to always check your own insurance to see what you are covered for.
In addition, ask (especially professional storage companies) what additional protection they offer and bear in mind you may need to sign a contract based on a minimum period.