What It Takes to Run a Food Truck

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Starting a food truck business can be a rewarding and exciting endeavour. For those looking to start a business in the food industry, food trucks provide many benefits over opening a traditional brick and mortar restaurant. Lower investment costs allow you to build your brand before deciding if you’d like to expand.

What It Takes To Run A Food Truck

The flexibility of owning your own business combined with the fun of working in different locations in a moving restaurant makes starting a food truck appealing to the adventurous entrepreneur.

Although starting food trucks are not as involved as running a fully staffed restaurant, there are some things you need to consider before getting started.

Understand the Industry

According to the Competition Bureau, food truck operators in Canada generated over 300 million dollars in revenue in 2017; there is certainly still room for growth in this industry. The ability to pick an angle that competes with already existing food truck businesses goes hand-in-hand with understanding the industry.

Simultaneously standing out from the competition while providing customers with appealing and tasty food are essential for a successful food truck. Before deciding on the type of food you want to sell, research the food trucks already operating in the area you wish to serve. Avoid common food angles unless you are offering something unique and exceptional.

Once you have decided the type of food you want to serve, research the availability of the necessary ingredients. If you have recipes that contain hard-to-find ingredients, this could be problematic for your budding business.

Obtain a Food Truck

The startup cost for a food truck business is low compared to brick and mortar restaurants. The biggest investment in your business will be the truck itself. While this purchase may initially seem big, it will eventually pay for itself in due time. Loans are available from companies specializing in serving truck businesses.

Evaluate potential food truck options on their features and amenities, taking into account the type of food you wish to serve. Not all food trucks will fit your needs, so invest some time in researching what you’ll need to produce your food.

Business Licenses and Permits

No matter how delicious your food is or how amazing your customer service is, if you lack the proper permits and licenses you won’t be in business for very long. Food trucks may have fewer permits and operational expenses in comparison to brick and mortar restaurants, but what is required should not be overlooked.

Here are some of the licenses and permits required to operate a food truck:

  • Refreshment Truck License
  • Motorised Refreshment Vehicle Owner
  • Refreshment Vehicle Driver
  • Refreshment Vehicle Assistant
  • Food Handler Certification
  • Propane License
  • Public Health Inspection

These licenses and permits will vary based upon the type of truck you are operating and where you intend to operate.


After you’ve secured your food truck and are properly licensed, you’ll want to consider budgeting your expenses to make sure you don’t go bust. Maintaining and ensuring the growth of your business means you have to think about more than just operational expenses and how you pay your employees.

Thoroughly document your expenses and sales to track loss, growth, and trends. Some of the things you’ll want to keep organized and detailed records of are:

  • Payroll expenses
  • Goods sold and taxes
  • Utility and fuel expenses
  • Repairs and improvements
  • Marketing expenses
  • Irregular expenses
  • Profit and loss

In addition to tracking these expenses, owners will want to maintain growth goals as well as emergency savings in the event of unforeseen personal or business emergencies. Along the line of planning for emergencies that may arise, every food truck owner should be insured in the event of theft, collision, fire, or other emergencies.


One of the benefits of running a food truck is that the mobility of your business is often all the marketing you need. When your food truck is decorated with your branding, everywhere you drive it serves as a moving billboard, enticing potential customers with not only the sight but the smell of your product.

Commercials for food trucks are not common because of this direct way of marketing. However, you may want to consider additional marketing to maximize your profit. Social media is an excellent way of getting your brand noticed. Developing a route for your food truck business and posting it on your social media pages allows customers to know when you’ll be in their area.

Know the Area You Want to Serve

The nature of the food truck industry is very much subject to weather. Snow, rain, ice, and wind will affect how much traffic your business receives. Because certain cities are known to have disruptive weather, it’s essential that you know the area you want to serve. Once you know where you want to serve, study the weather patterns of the area so that you can better plan for business highs and lows.

Knowing your area also involves knowing the locations of major sports and cultural venues in that area. When there is a sporting event or cultural event, sales increase exponentially. Don’t ignore how beneficial it can be to map these areas and create a calendar around local events.

Now that you know some of what it takes to run a food truck, you should feel more confident in pursuing this business. Start by creating a list of working goals and make your way through them until you have achieved success. When you’re ready to obtain a food truck, consider the Truck Loan Center. For more information, call the Truck Loan Center at 1-866-230-0094 or contact us here.


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