8 June, 2016
Food trucks: A guide to setting up a food service on wheels
The food truck fad is here to stay. This type of business offers the entrepreneur many advantages over a traditional restaurant establishment. If you are thinking of setting up a food business on wheels, we would like to present you with this guide about how to set up a food truck business.
Market analysis: given that food trucks offer more specific gastronomy, it is worthwhile carrying out an analysis of the market and demand in order to ensure the viability of your product. Ask yourself questions about location (is your lorry going to be fixed in one place or is it going to travel to parties and events?), the possible competition, the type of clientele you wish to target and the potential demand.
Menu design: as with any restaurant business, menu design is fundamental. The good news about this kind of initiative is that it is very specialised, which makes it is simpler to calculate purchases, losses and the final cost of the product. It is important to investigate the potential suppliers and to come to agreements which ensure the availability of and best price for the ingredients.
Staff: in a street vending food business you will need staff for driving, purchasing, food preparation, sales and cleaning. There are many different management models.
Vehicle: The three types of vehicle most commonly used as food trucks are conventional caravans, homologated vintage trucks and adapted vans. Vintage trucks have a lot of charm about them and can add a touch of retro style to your proposal. Some of them, however, cannot travel very far and have to be transported by pick-up truck. As well as choosing the vehicle which best meets your needs, it is very important to contract a good graphic design service to help you create your brand and decorate your vehicle.
Equipment: The limited space inside food trucks poses a challenge when it comes to choosing the correct equipment. On the other hand, greater specialisation means that less equipment is needed, and as disposable cutlery is generally used, there is no need for a dishwasher.
• Cooking area: Given the importance of speed in this kind of establishment, cooking machinery that allows nimble preparation is essential. You will need fry-tops, deep-fryers and ovens that adapt to your needs and to the spaces available. Once you are sure of what your needs are, the possibilities are endless. The ADVANCE ovens are a good example, which come in three ranges and five different sizes.
• Refrigeration: refrigeration machinery is, without a doubt, indispensable in these restaurants on wheels. Food trucks are parked on the street, which means that they should house equipment which preserves the food they commercialise correctly. This will ensure that the quality of the food is at its best and will keep it fresh for longer.
• Preparation zone: The type of gastronomy offered on these premises usually requires a certain amount of preparation. Therefore, a work table is vital. It should be remembered that stainless steel is the material par excellence to use thanks to its long durability and the advantages it offers in terms of hygiene.
• Storage room: taking into account the limited space available on food trucks, it is essential that everything is in perfect order. To that end it is important to fit out a storage area which allows you to keep all the utensils perfectly organised.
At Fagor Industrial we run a planning and consulting service by means of which we can help you to take full advantage of the space you have available and to find the products that best suit your proposal.
Regulations: regulations regarding food trucks vary depending on the autonomous community and the council. Before setting up your business, make sure you know the demands of the different types of regulations:
• Food and health standards legislation: regulation 2004/852/CE regulates issues concerning the hygiene of food products in the European Community. The Health and Consumption departments of each autonomous community are charged with the enforcement of this regulation. It is essential to be in possession of a food handling licence and to obtain your veterinary certificate for the food truck. In many cases it is obligatory to have an authorised workshop for the pre-preparation of food before handling and selling it in the food truck.
• Land law: regulation 2004/852/CE delegates the regulation of street vending to the local councils. Your council will provide you with information on the municipal ordinances your food truck should comply with.
• Transport legislation: depending on the type of vehicle in which you wish to set up your business, you should take into account aspects like historical vehicles regulations, homologation and the obligatory transportation document if your vehicle weighs more than 3500 kg. Not all food trucks are driven as some models can only be transported by pick-up truck, but if you drive yours, you should have your MOT/roadworthiness test up-to-date.
• Self-employed worker legislation: as with any other business, you will need to register the business with the Economic Activities Tax (IAE in Spain), be registered as a self-employed worker, in Social Security and with the municipal taxes, pay income tax (IPRF in Spain) and comply with the tax obligations of any business. The easiest thing to do is to employ the services of a consultancy or commercial management company, where they will inform you of the steps that need to be taken and will help you carry them out.
We hope that this brief guide to setting up a food truck has been useful to you. If you decide to set up a business of this type, we recommend that you contact the food truck associations, entrepreneurs’ associations and the chambers of commerce in your city to obtain more detailed information. In addition, Fagor Industrial’s planning and consulting service is at your disposal to advise you on the catering equipment you need to fit out your food truck. We wish you the very best and invite you to share your experiences with us in the comments section.
Image source: entrepreneur.com