As overhead costs go, a food business on wheels isn’t likely to break the bank as a brick-and-mortar restaurant could. Which is probably why more entrepreneurs are taking the food-truck concept for a spin these days.
Thanks to reality TV shows like Eat St. and The Great Food Truck Race shown in the United States and Canada, customers and entrepreneurs can now have their fill of how food-truck businesses operate. They aren’t exactly a new idea. Food trucks have been making the rounds since the late 1800s, but have been in the public eye more often in recent years thanks to TV programs and social media.
In the local scene, fast food chain Binalot launched Food Vans back in July 2012. The Cheese Steak Shop has also gone on the road to complement its in-line stores. Guactruck, which offers Filipino-Mexican fusion dishes in a cozy and mobile format, is another enterprise that’s getting attention both for its food and its sustainability efforts. Aside from welcoming and assisting food truckers, the folks behind the Mercato Centrale weekend food market have also given them their own venue via Cucina Andare, in front of the Glorietta shopping complex in Makati City, which began in December 2012.
Aspiring food-truck owners can go with the franchise option, but those who want to start from scratch will have to handle more than name, concept, menu, price points and staffing concerns. Most crucial is fitting some (or all) of these items in your truck: a stove, oven, fryer, grill, broiler, a cooler or refrigerator, a ventilation system, and storage—all in compact form so that the crew has room to move around.
Of course, you also need an order counteror cashier and a prep area. You’ll also need a stable power source for the kitchen during service hours.
On the legal front, you’ll need to check with the Department of Trade and Industry and city halls on such matters as business registration, permits and allotted space for parking and operations. Health and safety regulations have to be followed, too.
In an excerpt from David Weber’s book The Food Truck Handbook: Start, Grow and Succeed in the Mobile Food Business, Entrepreneur.com enumerates some tipd from the mobile food mogul:
Get ready for extra-long workdays!
Be at your headquarters or commissary hours before you open to do the following: prepare the day’s supplies, pre-cook items, do admin work, and inspect your truck. Add to these the hours required for cleaning, restocking, transport, and truck repairs.
Having very well-trained and competent employees is a must.
All of you will work in a confined space and meet orders in quick succession. Each person has to know what he or she needs to do and how to do it in the fastest possible time.
Have realistic expectations, and be fully committed to your food-truck business.