Today’s food trucks are far from cheap eats on wheels, there are some seriously gourmet offerings on four wheels.
Tyler Florence, Chef
Food truck business is a huge part of the United States restaurant business. This type of business has come into fashion in Los Angeles relatively recently, in 2008. But the very first food truck in the USA was opened in 1972, almost 100 years before the beginning of the history of Uncle Gussy’s.
The difference between a wheeled restaurant from the usual fast-casual restaurant is that the food truck can move to new places and find new customers there. But with Uncle Gussy’s, things are completely different. We love to give our customers a feeling of stability and loyalty. They always know where to find us, because we are always open in the same familiar places.
Today we will tell you a little about the main steps that you need to take to open a similar food truck today. Thus, you can learn some new details about the modern quickly-served food business.
Food truck business is good because it can be launched relatively quickly, without unnecessary delays. Although some important steps you still need to take, and it will take some time.
Another significant advantage of a food truck over an ordinary fast food restaurant is its lower and affordable cost.
If you are in love with Uncle Gussy’s and would like to try to open a similar food truck with your unique quick service restaurant menu, then you should start with a business plan. A well-designed business plan will help you in many ways. First of all, to have a business plan is required by the bank, in case you are willing to take a bank loan. In addition, a business plan helps to structure the thoughts and actions of an entrepreneur.
In the beginning, you need to determine what you will sell, where and to whom, and also what is your difference from others and who your competitors are.
The best way is to talk to some professional who will give valuable advice, proven by experience. Indeed, the experience is the most truthful consultant.
Having been in the fast-casual food market for almost half a century, we know everything about this business. Show us your plan, your thoughts and we will help you to choose the direction to move on. Having reached the highest level in our business, we are always glad to help those who are just starting this way.
After your business plan is ready, you need to assess your finances and understand whether you need to attract funds and who to contact.
At this stage, you need to move from words to deeds, i.e. to start looking for financing. The cost of a relatively new car and organizing a kitchen from scratch will cost you about $70k-100k. If you take a used car and you will not strive for tight deadlines, the cost of starting your fast food business will be much lower.
After that, it will be just step-by-step actions. You need to find a car, plan a kitchen, and organize it with the help of a food truck vendor, depending on the specifics of the menu.
You also need to include in the budget the cost of all licenses and permits.
The next step will be to obtain all the necessary permissions. This should be considered from the point of view of the timing and financial costs.
If listed in order of importance, the most important paper for the food truck will be the Health Department Permit. Without it, you cannot sell food in any way. Obtaining this permission must begin at the planning stage. The Health Department will consider how you plan to organize your kitchen, whether it meets its safety requirements. Keep in mind that for each county you must receive a separate Health Department Permit.
Health Department Permit can be obtained only after obtaining the Commissary Agreement, which is mandatory for every mobile food establishment. Your truck cannot be parked in any convenient or free place. In the USA, all operations related to the preparation of food, such as water supply or draining are regimented.
The next important certificate for launching your food truck business is the Food Safety Manager Certificate. This certification is mandatory for the person who will be in the truck for the prevailing amount of time. It can be either its owner or the appointed general manager. The rest of the staff must have a Food Handlers Card.
Another necessary certificate is a business license, which makes it possible to conduct business in each specific locality.
The equipment of your food truck can be conveniently classified as the one required by the Health Department and the one that depends on your fast-casual food menu.
Health Department regulations require you to have the following:
- electric power generator
- tanks for clean and dirty water
- water heater
- air extraction
The rest of the equipment is optional. You can have an air conditioner in your truck or not, it’s your choice. The same applies to all the equipment which you will use to cook food to be served quickly. But keep in mind that once the devices and their location in the food truck are approved, then in order to remove one of them or add a new one, you will have to coordinate these actions with authorities and get written permission to perform changes.
The composition of the surfaces inside the food truck is also regulated. There should not be any flammable materials, wood panels or anything else of this kind. Everything should be predominantly stainless steel.
How it works
Before the vendor begins preparing the food truck, the plan must be duly designed and approved. Vendor acts according to this plan, and according to the same plan, the inspector checks whether everything is ready and suitable for preparing and selling affordable food, whether there is a sink for washing hands, right temperature of the water, and so on. It may seem that strict adherence to the rules and the approved plan set hard limits to the entrepreneur’s work. But in fact, it saves the truck owner from unnecessary risks and makes his job easier.