Where do food trucks make the most money?

Become self-employed with a food truck

Anyone who has a business idea with a moving If you are looking for a feeling of freedom, you can deal with the hip option of 'self-employed with a food truck' in a compact form. For some years now, this form of street food, which is firmly anchored in America, has also been seen more and more often on German streets. But that doesn't mean that setting up a business with a food truck is a sure-fire success: Particularly with a view to the bureaucracy in Germany, the freedom of food trucks on streets and squares is opposed to tight limits. In any case, it is a modern business idea for everyone who has gained experience in gastronomy or a new approach drive want to become self-employed as a cook. It is in the nature of things that such a travel trade is not restricted to a specific location. One of the greatest challenges for starting up a business with a food truck will be to find vacancies with great revenue potential. Without high-selling places or business ideas, immense pressure to sell will arise very quickly.

Not just fast food!

Depending on the design of the food truck, the rolling restaurants have a fascinating attraction that can be used for marketing purposes. It is important to distinguish yourself from the competition at first glance in the form of snacks or kebab shops and to attract hungry customers with individual concepts. Long queues are attractive to customers despite the waiting time, because what everyone obviously wants has to be good. In recent years, growing health awareness has not stopped at the fast food sector. Therefore, when creating a concept, attention should be paid to high-quality ingredients that may have regional references, for example. In-house creations that cannot be tasted anywhere else are very popular. A food truck can take customers around the world and serve Mexican or Hawaiian specialties, for example. In this respect, a food truck should not be limited to classics such as currywurst, because the market already has a large supply ready for this. Rather, a food truck has to offer added taste with an experience character that hungry customers can spend one or two euros more.

Starting up a business with a food truck: becoming self-employed in the food service industry

  • Analysis of the initial situation

  • Become self-employed with a food truck: options

  • possible business areas for a broad revenue base

  • Requirements for starting a business with a food truck

  • Earning money with a food truck?

Analysis of the initial situation

If you want to be successful in self-employment with a food truck, you have to deal with the essential differences to stationary gastronomy at the beginning. A restaurant is very dependent on a good location, whereas in a travel trade for a food truck this can be changed frequently. In this respect, a food truck can address customers or an existing demand directly! In principle, many locations ensure that a solid income base can be provided every day or over a longer period of time. The business idea of ​​'self-employed with a food truck' may suggest a high degree of freedom, but in reality it looks different! In Germany, it is forbidden to stop and sell spontaneously in public spaces. Free spaces have to be found and often paid for with high fees, which is one of the greatest challenges for a food truck.

Dealing with the region

What should be prepared in the food truck or what does the target group like? In this context, your own taste must not be decisive, but rather act on the market. In the course of developing the concept, it should be analyzed which dishes are popular in the region or for which there is not yet a large selection. It is also necessary to find out how which food trends are being received in the region. For this purpose, tests can be carried out shortly after the food truck opens. The menu that was initially worked out must therefore not be set in stone. If the specific demand shows that customers taste something different, this should be addressed in a targeted manner. Considerations on the price level and purchasing power in the region round off the holistic initial analysis in order to strategically place the food truck on the fast food market. Of course, it must be clarified in particular how much direct competition there is from food trucks. Of course, owners can avoid each other through different routes and locations. Nevertheless, they will have to share a common territory.

Starting up a business with a food truck: Lean startup!

Based on the Lean Startup method, which was also presented, founders of a food truck can find out cost-effectively what customers actually like in an early phase of setting up a business. This can be done directly in the food truck or during the concept development phase. A homepage could present the project and give customers the opportunity to describe their taste preferences. A number of trends are emerging that give the food truck an unmistakable face. The range of food and beverages should always be analyzed for its potential before the store is opened.

(Fast) food trends, consumer behavior & digitization

Meaningful analyzes in this area should round off the thorough preparation of starting a business with a food truck. In general, the trend can be observed that ingredients in the fast food sector are becoming healthier and of higher quality. It is not uncommon for organic products of regional origin to end up on the plate. In addition, the dishes on offer are becoming more exotic, the hunger for new taste experiences is great. With well-known recipes, only a few customers can be lured out from behind the oven and only if they are really well crafted.

In terms of demand, there is a lot to be said for setting up a self-employed food truck in Germany: Almost a quarter of all Germans state that they regularly consume fast food. The current nutrition report from 2018 shows that 20% of all Germans eat out regularly. 43% of all Germans cook daily or very regularly, but the majority do not! If you want to consistently make the business idea of ​​'self-employed with a food truck' big right from the start, you have to Chances of digitization have on the strategic account. It is important to ensure maximum presence with a search engine optimized homepage, relevant portals and new apps and to lure adventure-hungry customers to the various locations of the food truck.

Decisions to be made in the business plan

The food truck will be the business basis for starting a business. The question is therefore whether a finished truck should be ordered from a manufacturer according to individual requirements or whether a truck should be converted / expanded yourself. In addition to the existing budget, time and craftsmanship certainly play a decisive role. A fully purchased truck will usually result in a much higher investment. When ordering or planning, all details relating to the kitchen must be established, including the range of culinary services. The kitchen equipment must be optimally adapted to the individual requirements of the concept. You should also think of adequately sized water tanks for fresh and waste water. Furthermore, there must be at least two separate basins for the necessary cleaning of utensils. Food must be stored separately from necessary cleaning agents.

A spit guard will be necessary for an appealing product presentation or more transparency during preparation. Anyone who works with fresh food in the food truck will have to cool it in accordance with the legal requirements. With regard to the storage capacity, it is important to ensure that it is of sufficient size. It would be annoying and a hindrance to growth if existing demand could not be met due to insufficient stocks on board. If storage rooms are used beyond the food truck, they must be strict hygiene regulations (=> LINK to the new text).

Special features for doing business with a food truck

As already mentioned at the beginning, a food truck cannot simply sell in public. If you want to be present at markets and events, you have to find free spaces, which are often associated with high costs. It is therefore important to calculate precisely whether the investment in a stand is worthwhile. Alternatively, it can be calculated how many customers with what average turnover it would take to turn the stand into a profit. Recently, with a view to the food truck, there has been a trend towards owners focusing more on private parking spaces. If the owners succeed in convincing them of a win-win situation, the parking space can in principle be free of charge. A win-win situation could be that both businesses pass customers on to each other.

Possible business areas for a food truck

Aside from the local sale in public or private locations, other options need to be examined in order to put the income on the largest possible basis. With this in mind, promising business areas are to be examined in the event sector. For more and more celebrations (weddings, birthdays, etc.) drives up to the food truck, to offer guests a special form of catering. In view of this, there is an opportunity to use catering as a second important pillar for starting a business with a food truck. Depending on the location and your own capacities, this type of mobile event catering refer to both private and business customers.

Requirements for becoming self-employed with a food truck

Before the fully equipped and well-stocked food truck can be on the road, a business must be registered. Since it is a moving business, a travel business card must be obtained. This travel trade card should always be on board as official proof in the event of an unannounced hygiene check. This threatening scenario already shows that perfect hygiene and compliance with all requirements must be ensured right from the start. In order to be allowed to operate a business with a food truck at all, knowledge of the relevant hygiene regulations must be proven. Particularly noteworthy in this context are the certificate of initial instruction in accordance with Section 43 of the Infection Protection Act and the inspection certificate from the Food Inspectorate. From the technical point of view, the food truck is subjected to a test before it is the go for business operations. A current health certificate must be presented, which also applies to any employees. In addition, the following documents are common when registering a business for a food truck (regionally there may be different regulations, so the individual requirements in the federal state must be clarified):

  • Police clearance certificate and tax clearance check

  • Restaurant instruction certificate (by the IHK)

  • Bar license (if alcoholic beverages are offered for consumption)

  • Registration with the responsible trade association

  • Commercial insurance as protection against financial claims

  • Request for outdoor entertainment at the responsible public order office

Requirements so that the cash register can ring correctly

A suitable cash register system that meets the legal requirements must also be on board. In this context, it should be noted that apart from purchasing goods and selling them in the food truck, accounting will be a daily task. Since January 1st, 2017 there are new requirements for cash management: An electronic cash register must be compliant with the law accounting and thus be the basis for correct bookkeeping. In order to consistently avoid anger and possible penalties, start-ups should deal with these formal framework conditions in detail.

Earning money with a food truck?

One thing is certain: if you want to earn a lot with a food truck, you have to pay in advance. Because without a set up truck sales will not be able to start. Anyone who examines franchise models in this sector may be able to get started faster. Revenue sharing and high fees ensure that this alternative is not necessarily more attractive in terms of the amount of investment.

If you want to earn a lot of money with a food truck, you have to plan holistically and make commercial calculations right from the start. The prices for the dishes offered should be calculated with care. Apart from the pure cost of goods, all running costs (especially the stand rental) must be taken into account. Every price must include a sufficient margin so that start-ups can pay off a wage and increase business reserves for further investments. Of course, earnings with a food truck also depend directly on diligence: If you are always in different places 7 days a week and achieve a high level of occupancy, you will earn significantly higher income than a competitor who is not in use at the weekend and is up Places that are expensive but hardly generate any income. With the careful elaboration of the business plan, the foundations are laid in order to make 'filling' profits with a food truck!

Short summary for the business idea 'start your own business with a food truck'

  1. It is an up-and-coming business idea in the catering industry for start-ups who do not want to be tied to a specific location

  2. Anyone who wants to get off to a successful start with a food truck should make the fast food concept very modern and individually palatable for the target group

  3. Despite the freedom of trade in Germany, unlike in the USA, it is not allowed to stop and sell anywhere in public spaces. The search for (affordable!) Parking spaces must be given high strategic weight in the start-up phase

  4. A business must be registered to operate a food truck. A travel trade card can be obtained due to the mobile character

  5. As you work with food in a food truck, knowledge of the hygiene regulations must be demonstrated

  6. If you want to earn good money with a food truck, you have to lay the operational and commercial foundations with holistic planning.