How to Start a Food Truck Business
Photo Credit: Fit Small Business

The food truck industry has expanded steadily over the last ten years. According to IBISWorld, there are now over 4,000 food trucks in the U.S., and industry revenue increased by 7.9 percent per year. Food trucks are ideally suited to meet the massive demand for high-quality food at low prices due to a shift in consumer food preferences. Additionally, there are now more intriguing food trucks because they enable entrepreneurs to enter the food industry at a much lower cost than starting a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant. If your dream has always been to start a food truck business with little or no money, we can help you get the licenses needed and take the steps you need to make it happen.

How to Start a Food Truck Business

#1. Make Research

Find out what your target market likes (and dislikes), so you can determine how to appeal to it. Then, find out how the competition stands by investigating nearby food trucks; if nearby restaurants are also vying for the same customer base as you, you might also want to investigate them. Finally, conduct a SWOT analysis to determine where your food truck has an opportunity.

#2. Plan Your Business

Your business plan guides the direction of your food truck. When starting a new business, writing down your main objectives and goals and the methods you intend to employ to achieve them can help you stay focused (and for years after).

#3. Establish Your Expenses and Obtain Money

Startup expenditures for a food truck business include a vehicle, cooking supplies, and personalized truck wrapping, among other things. Most startup business owners approach investors and take out a business loan to get capital.

#4. Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

You must obtain the proper permissions and abide by local, state, and federal laws to operate your food truck. These fall under several categories: zoning/parking, business permits, licensing, and food and restaurant safety. To avoid any legal snags, be sure to educate yourself about local business legislation. Here is more information on food truck permits.

#5. Purchase Equipment for a Food Truck

Purchasing a truck and kitchen necessities makes up a sizable chunk of your initial costs. You might rent a car to test the market to lower your launch costs. You can also think about getting a trailer. It is a less expensive option to start, albeit being less mobile.

#6. Assemble a Menu

Since you don’t have a lot of room to make meals, your menu should include a few essential dishes that can be made in a small space. Because clients will be waiting outside your truck while you cook, you need also to make sure that your food can be rapidly prepared or cooked.

#7. Spend Money on the Best Technology

Invest in a secure payment system that is quick and dependable to guarantee a smooth transaction for clients. You want your payment processor to process consumer payments rapidly before rush hours so you can increase sales.

Many operators of food trucks look for new technology to help with operations and reporting. The inventory management and reporting features of Square’s POS system can assist you in managing and expanding your firm.

#8. Create a Marketing Strategy

Wherever and whenever you park your vehicle, you should make sure there is a crowd there. Begin with a vehicle design that stands out on the street and expresses your idea. Then develop a budget and a plan for restaurant marketing.

How to Start a Food Truck Business With No Money

I wish I could say that you don’t need money to start a food truck business. However, the truth is that it will need at least some money, just like any new business initiative. However, the good news is that starting a food truck or street food business is less expensive than starting other start-ups.

So, here are 10 suggestions on how to start a food truck business with no money.

#1. Instead of Starting With a Food Truck, Use a Food Booth

How to start a food truck business without any money: street food stall

The cost of purchasing a food truck can range from £10,000 to £100,000 for the large concession trailers you see at festivals. However, for less than £1000, you may begin operating a food stand.

#2. Purchase Used Goods

I can’t stress this starting-out advice enough. When beginning a food truck on the cheap, you don’t require all the latest technology and glitzy equipment. For your requirements, used catering equipment is entirely adequate. Several online marketplaces, like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and Preloved, for instance, feature a variety of used catering supplies.

#3. Equipment Rental

If the product you are considering selling requires more specialized and expensive equipment to produce, you might want to consider renting the equipment rather than attempting to pay the entire cost upfront.

#4. Get a Van

You will need transportation for your equipment, preferably a van, if your original plan is to operate a street food stall rather than a food truck.

The last thing you want is to break down en route to an event, so you’ll need something dependable (something I have done a few times).

#5. Obtain a Credit Card With 0% Interest

How to establish a food truck with little money and a 0% credit card

If you don’t have any money to start a food truck or street food business, I propose a zero-percent interest credit card. It’s not ideal to fund any form of business with debt, but if it’s your only option.

#6. Join Facebook Groups for Mobile Catering

You can find food truck catering equipment at a discount in these groups and receive a lot of expertise, contacts, and leads from people who have been in the business for a long time.

#7. Create a Minimum Viable Product First (MVP)

This is a word used in business to describe producing a good with the fewest resources possible and charging the customer for it.

It would be lovely to be able to purchase that delectable free-range, organic fried chicken burger from the golden highlands locally. But in actuality, it will considerably reduce your profit.

#8. Collect Food Waste From Neighborhood Stores and Businesses

Food waste: How to launch a food truck enterprise without any cash

The food sector faces a serious problem with food waste, particularly in the west. The public, governments, and the food business are now beginning to recognize this reality and take action.

#9. Find a Business Associate

A problem shared is a problem half, as the proverb says. The idea is that there is always some risk involved with new endeavors, and the risk is bigger for start-ups.

#10. Involve Your Family and Friends

Continue along the same lines by attempting to involve relatives and friends. You can at least try to persuade them to donate some of their time to helping with operations if they cannot assist with start-up fees.

What Licenses Are Needed to Start a Food Truck

Where you live determines what licenses and permits you will need. In general, you should be aware of any rules governing the handling of food, health licenses, parking permits, and other licenses required to operate a business.

  • One of the first things you must do is obtain a health permit to drive your truck. Where you are allowed to operate is determined by this permit. Remember that depending on your region, permits might need to be renewed.
  • Your company is mobile; thus, you must also deal with parking permits. Zoning regulations distinguish between commercial and noncommercial zones in all towns, cities, and counties. You can’t park anywhere as you are now a commercial enterprise.
  • There are particular parking permit requirements that must be completed in each city and state. Your county clerk should have a list of parking locations you can use. To avoid penalties, do your homework in advance. This study from the U.S. has more information on permitting in significant U.S. cities. Foundation of the Chamber of Commerce.
  • To lawfully conduct business, you also need standard business permissions and/or licensing. This could involve choosing a business entity, filing for patents, and registering your company with the IRS.

The aforementioned permits and licenses are needed to start a food truck business.

How to Advertise a Food Truck

If you want lines around the block for your food truck, you must aggressively market it like any other business. You should utilize the following strategies to get started:

#1. Prioritize Social Media

Social networking is a tool that some of the most prosperous food truck companies employ to promote their brands. Utilize social media to stay in touch with fans and update your followers on where you are. For this, Twitter is fantastic. Don’t forget to set up an Instagram account to display your products (as well as any deals or exciting information you want to offer to clients).

#2. Create a Website

You should also create a website that reflects the character of your business. Either use an internet tool to create the website yourself or hire a developer for a more polished appearance. So that others may call and find out where you are, make sure to give your phone number.

#3. Establish Review Pages

Make sure to add that webpage to your review pages on sites like Yelp and Google Reviews. Include photographs, hours, usual locations, and a price range in your business accounts. Encourage clients to post reviews for you online after receiving service to help your business develop a positive reputation.

#4. Do not Disregard Promotions

Depending on your genre, you may want to provide some coupons or discounts for your grand opening or on occasions like “Taco Tuesdays.”

How Profitable Is a Food Truck Business?

Don’t be alarmed if some of the above figures give you sticker shock. Although the initial cost estimates may appear exorbitant, statistics show that a $100,000 investment can provide between $250,000 and $500,000 in income.

Remember that not all sales result in a profit, so you should estimate your predicted costs and expenses before figuring out how much to charge for your menus to break even.

Is a Food Truck a Good Investment?

According to industry statistics, a successful food truck can earn between $23,000 and over $100,000 annually. This range is affected by various factors, including geographic location, marketing tactics, menu options, and more. Even though it could be challenging to estimate a precise sales figure upfront, a few typical elements can affect costs and possible profit.

Where Do Food Trucks Make the Most Money?

Where the majority of individuals who will pay to buy food is the straightforward answer.

That can make you think of gatherings like festivals or places with plenty of people but few other food options.

How Much Does a Food Truck Make per Day?

The daily maximum revenue for food trucks is $2,500. A food truck’s daily average revenue is $1,000.


If you’ve been thinking about how to launch a food truck business, you should know that it’s a rewarding but time-consuming process with lots of room for expansion and financial success. If you invest the time to carefully craft a business plan with market research and a practical marketing approach, the food truck business is tough but ultimately lucrative. The greatest method to promote success is to ensure you have lots of startup money and the appropriate tools.

Before you can start a food truck business, you must first obtain the needed permits and licenses.

How to Start a Food Truck Business FAQs

What Licenses are Needed To Start a Food Truck?

Licenses are Needed To Start a Food Truck:

  • A health permit to drive your truck.
  • Parking permits.
  • Standard business permissions and/or licensing.
  • Registering your company with the IRS.

Is a Food Truck a Good Investment?

Yes, According to industry statistics, a successful food truck can earn between $23,000 and over $100,000 annually

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