Updated on: September 22nd, 2023

How to Start a Food Truck Business? (a Beginner-friendly Guide)

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In just a few short years, food trucks have become the talk of the town! A relatively new concept has grown to become a global trend as people can now take their taste buds on an exciting journey. If you’re intrigued by this phenomenon and wondering how to add your own mobile eatery into the mix, let us help guide you through it with our steps and tips. Get ready for your very own food truck business – let’s roll!

As for any business, you will also need an LLC for your food truck business. You can create one yourself easily by following our step-by-step guide on how to start an LLC.

If you want to skip the hassle of starting an LLC for food truck business yourself, consider using professional help:

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Food Truck?

Launching a food truck entails a considerable investment that varies between $10,000 and an astronomical $250,000 based on your niche, customization needs, legal fees, and the region you are in. The costs of launching can thus range from slightly over seventy thousand to as much as one hundred thirty thousand – but this figure is subject to change due to multiple different factors.

Pros and Cons of Opening a Food Truck

Before launching your food truck business, it is critical to weigh the exceptional benefits and difficulties that come with this unique venture.


  • Mobility. Having a food truck gives you the advantage of mobility, allowing you to take your business anywhere and expand your customer base. Plus, it also provides an incredible opportunity for advertising across different locations!
  • Flexibility. Not only do you not have to rent out any equipment, but food trucks also grant you the freedom of delivering fresh cuisine right at events and festivals. Plus, they give an unparalleled sense of adaptability when it comes to making changes in their menus or timetables.
  • Tax deductions. Food truck proprietors have the benefit of deducting expenses on their taxes that are unattainable to traditional restaurant owners, such as the cost of their food truck and parking fees for where they keep it.


  • Competition. With the food truck industry in full swing, it can be quite daunting to make your mark and create a unique idea that will draw people in.
  • Long hours. Running a food truck involves many hours of effort including maintenance, scouting for suitable locations, cleaning, and booking events.
  • Zoning laws. Navigating zoning rules and regulations for food truck owners can be a daunting task due to their ever-changing nature, making it hard for them to know where they can park their trucks and how long they are allowed to stay at each location.

Reasons Why You Should Choose Food Truck Business

If you’re passionate about food and want to start your own business, a food truck is a great option. But why should you choose a food truck over other businesses?

Here are some reasons:

  • You can reach more customers with a food truck than with other types of businesses. You can go where the people are, rather than wait for them to come to you.
  • A food truck is a great way to test out new menu items and gauge customer reaction before investing in a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
  • Your competition is likely not as mobile as you are, so you have an advantage when it comes to reaching new customers in different areas.

9 Steps on How to Start a Food Truck Business

It’s time for starting a successful food truck business by following our step-by-step Guide. It’ll make launching your own food truck operations much easier!

1. Research Your Food Truck Scene

Prior to jumping into the food truck business, you must make sure that your idea is unique and stands out in comparison with current market trends.

To do this, begin by examining your city – research existing food trucks and restaurants as well as the average demographic of people living there.

Discover spots where vehicles can stop to offer their products for sale, such as busy streets during rush hour when commuters may have a chance to become customers.

It’s essential that you assess whether or not there is sufficient demand in your area for the concept of the food truck you plan on introducing.

2. Choose a Food Truck Concept

In order to craft the ideal food truck for your city, you must take into consideration both the desires of its citizens and your own personal passions. After gathering all relevant information, pick a concept that creatively combines these components. Subsequently, opt for a name and logo that accurately illustrate what your business stands for. Doing so will ensure that everyone involved is satisfied with the result!

Your concept, name, and logo should be distinctive and unforgettable. It must capture attention while expressively conveying your mission without being too specific to guarantee growth potential down the line. A meticulously planned idea along with a visually attractive logo can significantly sway people’s decisions on whether or not they want to buy from your truck.

3. Write a Food Truck Business Plan


It’s time to begin putting your concept into action by creating a food truck business plan – this is the document you’ll show potential investors and it should accurately display your vision and financial strategy. Writing out a thoughtful, organized plan will help ensure that all of the details of your business are addressed before investing money or resources. Taking the time to craft an effective blueprint now can save you stress later on! A comprehensive food truck business plan should include the following elements:

  • An Executive Summary: This section of your business plan should define and articulate who you are, what your goals are, as well as indicate the type of food product that you intend to sell and why.
  • A Company Description: Describe what you are offering as a food truck company and what unique advantage people will have if they take service from you. In other words what special ingredient you are providing as compared to the other competitors.
  • A Market Analysis: This section is devoted to describing the demographic that our truck appeals to and who we view as our target audience.
  • An Organization and Management Plan: To demonstrate the organization of your business, clearly describe the ranks and hierarchy among employees in this section.
  • A Service or Product Line Description: To ensure that your patrons remain engaged, you should take the time to provide details and options regarding your menu—including any seasonal or future changes.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategies: To ensure a successful launch of our food truck, we will create and execute an advertising plan that includes various marketing strategies. We’ll use these tactics to share the news about our business with as many people as possible.
  • A Funding Request: Carefully determine the funding source and amount necessary to get your truck business off the ground..
  • Financial Projections: Convince your investors with a comprehensive growth plan, including financial forecasts and projections for the next 5 years of your organization’s success.
  • An Appendix: To complete the plan, you can include any additional pieces here such as images, company logo designs, and drawings.

4. Get Funding for Your Food Truck

You must have a foolproof business plan before you can apply for funding to get your food truck off the ground. It will take large investments of cash and resources, so you may need an loan in order to make it happen.

Thankfully, there are numerous sources of financing available:

  • Local sponsorships,
  • Personal investors like family and friends,
  • Crowdfunding campaigns such as Kickstarter,
  • Small Business Administration microloans,
  • ROBS (Rollover of Business Startup) from retirement funds ,
  • Credit cards tailored specifically for businesses or
  • Even loans that cover equipment acquisition costs

Just pick the one most suitable for your situation!

5. Get Licenses and Permits


After determining your source of funding, it is essential to research the licenses necessary for starting a food truck. The stipulations on permits and licenses differ from state to state, as well as city to city. Therefore, contacting the local Chamber of Commerce, Health Department, and DMV office can provide you with full clarity on their particular regulations.

Starting a food truck necessitates securing the same licenses and permits as those for restaurant businesses, including:

  • Business License;
  • Employer Identification Number;
  • Food Service License; and
  • Employee Health Permit.

These steps are essential to ensure your success

In the process of registering for your food truck permits, including a Mobile Food Facility Permit and Zoning and Parking Permit from your corresponding DMV, investigate any parking regulations in town. It is essential to inquire about any potential limitations or prohibitions as well as overnight stalls accessible to you.

6. Buy a Food Truck Itself

When allocating your start-up capital, you’ll want to make sure that the bulk of it goes toward your food truck. To ensure you select a vehicle that will be an asset to your business, there are several factors to take into account:

  • Will you lease or own the truck?
  • Do you favor new or used vehicles?
  • What vendor can provide a reliable and trustworthy model for purchase?
  • What customization options do I need for my specific goals with this mobile enterprise?

It’s absolutely crucial to get insurance for your truck and business in order to protect yourself from any potential physical damage or liabilities that may arise. Once you have acquired the food truck, make sure all inspections and permits are finalized so that you can be considered street legal.

7. Purchase Your Equipment and Supplies

Once you have your truck, the next step is to equip it with necessary food truck equipment and supplies for efficient production of your products. These items are essential for keeping things running smoothly in order to maximize profitability.

If you own a food truck, stocking it requires:

  • Cooking Equipment 
  • Warming and Holding Equipment 
  • Food Prep Equipment 
  • Serving Equipment 
  • Refrigeration Equipment 
  • Janitorial Equipment 

8. Choose a POS System

If you’re in the food truck game, then having a mobile Point of Sale (POS) system is essential. These amazing systems enable you to accept credit card payments on-the-go, although they will need access to an internet connection.

With the transition to digital payments, cash-only food trucks may find themselves lagging behind those who accept both credit and cash. As more food truck customers are likely to carry a card rather than paper money, not having access to alternative payment methods can limit your customer base. To remain competitive in this shifting market, many mobile businesses have begun opting for POS systems that enable them to receive both forms of currency with ease.

Toast POS systems are the perfect match for food trucks! With their ability to facilitate mobile ordering and payments, your customers can pay with ease while you focus on making excellent dishes. This remarkable technology is like a dream come true; no more pens or paper needed – just seamless order fulfillment!

Many food truck owners seek additional technology to aid in reporting and operations. Square’s POS system has inventory management and reporting capabilities that can help you run and grow your business.

9. Invest in Food Truck Marketing and Advertising

To ensure your food truck’s success, advertising and marketing is a must since it lacks a physical address. Fortunately, there are manifold marketing strategies you can use to elevate brand recognition in the public eye.

Here are just some food truck marketing ideas:

  • Make your eye-catching logo highly visible. Promote your business on your truck, through flyers, or across the internet – make sure you get it out there!
  • Design a bold menu board. To ensure that your customers can easily identify the food you offer, it’s essential to have a menu board that is highly visible, attractive and straightforward.
  • Make a website featuring vivid images of your most frequent destinations, and offer insight into who you are with an “About Us” section.
  • Get social media accounts so your customers can stay up to date with your business events, view visuals, and engage with your brand by utilizing social media!
  • Discovering the perfect spot for your food truck is essential. Do a deep dive into various neighborhoods to find out where exactly you’ll fit best. When you have identified those locations, be sure to visit frequently so that locals come to recognize and trust your brand.
  • Elevate your business by appearing at community events like catered parties and food truck gatherings. These special occasions will make customers more mindful of who you are, creating a greater familiarity with your brand.
  • Showcase your branding with unique merchandise such as custom t-shirts, travel mugs and stickers that customers can obtain directly from your truck or online.

The Advantages of A Food Truck Business

  • Business ownership: Starting and managing a business can be quite a challenge, but thankfully there are several tax benefits that come with it. That’s one less burden to worry about! 
  • Freedom: As a food truck business owner, you have total autonomy to determine which menu items you’d like to offer, the vendors from whom you’ll buy supplies, your staff members, and where events fit in with your schedule. Furthermore, there’s no one telling you what type of marketing campaigns or social media posts should look like – it all boils down to the choices made by yourself!
  • Mobility: Angulo affirms that having the mobility to take your business to various locations contingent on demand during different times of day, days of the week, and so forth is a tremendous benefit.

The Challenges of A Food Truck Business

  • Time: Working extended hours is a consistent occurrence with food truck businesses. From shopping, cleaning, prepping and marketing to event planning and taking care of the vehicles themselves; running this type of business requires an extensive amount of time – more than what you’d accomplish in an average day job. Don’t forget that accounting & taxes need to be taken into account as well!
  • Competition and market: To maximize your chances of success, make sure to conduct a thorough investigation into the market. After all, you will have competition from other food trucks vying for customers.
  • Ordinances and zoning: Every locale has its own parking regulations for food trucks, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local laws before you set up shop. Doing this will save you from any costly tickets or fines!

Food Truck Permits and Regulations

Before selecting your business location, it is essential to research the area and make sure you comply with all necessary permits and regulations.

Here are a few main things to look out for: 

  • Food safety: To ensure that you comply with all local food safety standards, reach out to your county health department. They will be able to provide more information regarding any requirements such as if you need a commercial kitchen or can use the one in your home. Keeping everyone safe and healthy while dining at your establishment should always remain priority number one!
  • Seller’s permit: For many states, food truck owners must obtain a seller’s permit in order to take advantage of wholesale prices without having to pay sales taxes. This permit allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to purchase food and equipment at cost-effective rates that would otherwise be unavailable.
  • Zoning and parking: Before starting your business, be sure to investigate any potential parking rules and regulations. Depending on the area, you may have distinct zoning requirements for commercial versus noncommercial usage or restrictions related to time limits when parking in certain areas or distances from other establishments. To ensure that all of your plans are up-to-date with local legislation, contact both the city and motor vehicle department.
  • Vehicle license: Depending on the size of your vehicle and where you are located, obtaining a commercial driver’s license may be essential for legally running your business from within it. To ensure that all drivers are adequately certified and knowledgeable in driving the food truck, make sure to acquire this mandatory credential!
  • Fire certificates: If you are running a commercial kitchen on-the-go, it’s essential to undergo an inspection by the local fire department. However, be sure to remember that the specific fire regulations may vary depending on your state or city of operation.
  • Employee Identification Number (EIN): Building a successful business requires dedication and hard work. To ensure your venture is off to the best start, make sure you apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This federal tax ID will help identify your business entity while also allowing you to open a bank account in order to establish creditworthiness with other financial institutions. An EIN can potentially be one of the most important steps when starting up!
  • Business permits and licenses: Setting up a food truck requires several licenses and permits, including a DBA and state sales tax permit. Both are affordable to acquire and the process is straightforward. To determine what your home state needs for you to legally form this business, LegalZoom offers an easy-to-use online service that helps decide which legal structure will be most beneficial for your venture.

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