Plenty of people would love to hop into a food truck and drive off as their own boss. However, there’s more to operating a successful food truck business than simply cooking and serving food. Anyone seriously interested in joining the growing food truck industry should spend some time with an experienced professional before buying a food truck.
Mike Mikhail owns several LA restaurants and a fleet of gourmet food trucks. He frequently consults with new food truck owners and those interested in becoming part of the industry. His advice has prepared them to compete in a booming industry, while avoiding costly mistakes of a fledgling food truck owner.
“The food truck industry is growing and becoming more challenging and competitive,” said Mikhail. “Approximately 6,000 food trucks are now operating in the LA area, and the demand for food truck fare is booming. In fact, food trucks are so popular that they are showing up in rural areas and suburbs. The idea of operating a food truck is attractive because it is considerably less costly than opening a bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Unfortunately, many people aren’t realistic about the demands of this business.”
Food trucks provide many opportunities for revenue beyond selling meals on the street. They can provide sandwiches and salads on wheels or elaborate dinners for hundreds of guests. They are often hired to feed people at music concerts, festivals and business meetings. They are becoming regular features at bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers, wedding receptions, events at the bride’s house, rehearsal dinners, and bridesmaids’ lunches.
Food trucks serve film production employees on location and can be wrapped in special vinyl “skins” to promote special events or introduce new products or foods. Recently, they have been rented to movie and TV production companies where they are used as part of the set. A food truck owner must know how to promote the truck’s diverse services in order to profit.
“New operators can make many mistakes in the beginning,” Mikhail said. “They don’t know how to brand their business or establish price points. Many aren’t familiar with parking regulations and health requirements where they will operate. Some haven’t had to establish policies and training for employees, so they aren’t sure how to do it when they launch their own business. And there are people who don’t really understand the importance of good customer service.”
A food truck operator should know the local market, prospective customers and the areas where hungry people congregate. And it’s most important that the business be adequately capitalized, while reserving cash for unexpected emergencies that often occur.
Mikhail is available to consult with new or veteran food truck owners and anyone considering become part of the industry. To discuss your business plan, contact Mikhail at one of his food trucks. They are Hang 10 Tacos at 855-5-Hang-10, Greenz on Wheelz at 855-6Greenz and The Hungry Nomad at 877-NOMAD-10.