A food truck is like a restaurant on wheels. It has several distinct advantages over a traditional eat-in restaurant. A food truck can go to where the customers are. It has pretty low overhead, compared to a restaurant, and requires far less staff. However, a food truck is still a business that requires a lot of work and attention- especially in the first couple of years. Food truck owners put in long days and have similar problems as restaurant owners, such as slow seasons, bad weather, and a sluggish economy.
Steps to starting a Mobile food truck business
Contact your local health department to obtain the necessary licenses to operate a mobile food truck. Required licenses include food manager identification license, food manager’s license, food handler’s license and vending license. Attend licensing classes, complete exam and pay licensing fees.
Obtain a list of acceptable foods you can prepare and sell from a mobile food truck from the health department. Create a food plan that includes a list of food items prepared in the truck and items prepared in your home or commercial kitchen. In most states, approval of this plan by the health department is necessary for you to sell food to the public.
Apply for a business license through your local small business administration office or county clerk’s office. Register your business if forming a corporation, partnership or limited liability company through your state’s secretary of state’s office. Apply for an Employer Identification Number through the Internal Revenue Service to use on tax forms and other business documents.
Purchase a mobile food truck or truck that can be modified to fit all kitchen equipment such as a small refrigerator, fryer, grill and storage space. Contact the health department to learn more about required truck dimensions, acceptable kitchen equipment and safety items, such as fire extinguishers or ventilation requirements.
Contact local restaurants, communal kitchen managers, schools and other public places that offer small businesses the use of commercial kitchen space for preparing food. If preparing food in your home, contact the health department to learn more about home health inspections and additional licensing requirements.
Complete a health inspection of your mobile food truck by contacting the health department to set up an appointment. Inspections may be completed at the health department or an inspector may visit you depending on health department regulations.
Apply for a Class A license to drive a mobile food truck. Contact your local department of motor vehicles for licensing information