If you already have a thriving catering business, maybe it’s time to take your business on the road ” literally. Food trucks are becoming popular across the country because they can bring the party anywhere. As a caterer, you’re already well-positioned to expand your business into the food truck world. You already know how to cook in remote locations, and the barriers to entry in the food truck business are fairly low.
What’s Needed to Translate Your Catering Business Into a Food Truck
One of the key things you need to translate your catering business successfully into a food truck business is a unique food niche. If your town already has half a dozen taco trucks, adding to the traffic jam is unlikely to help you stand out from the crowd. Think about ways to put an unusual spin on the food you already prepare successfully at your catering gigs. Could you create Korean barbecue tacos, perhaps, or turn the humble grilled cheese sandwich into a gourmet treat? Don’t forget to consider desserts ” maybe your town is just waiting for spicy chocolate ice cream, for example. The food choices you consider should all be items that can be prepared quickly and that your customers can eat easily using no more than a fork.
Another important requirement for your startup food truck business is funding. If your business is already going strong, you may be able to buy your food truck and furnish it with the needed appliances and food from your catering profits. Don’t forget to research and apply for all the required licenses, which vary from province to province and town to town.
Steps to Starting a Food Truck Business
Start your transition from catering to food trucking with a solid business plan. If you need to raise funds to purchase your food truck ” by far the largest expense involved in this venture ” search for investors, tapping your existing clients if possible or arranging a crowdsourcing fundraising campaign. Choosing the right food niche is of course vital. Consider consulting with repeat customers who are happy with your catering to ask what types of food trucks they might hire for their next event or what dishes they consider must-haves from your repertoire.
Marketing and branding a food truck business requires a different approach than you use for your catering business. An eye-catching logo and a memorable name are key, since your food truck will attract customers in part through its visual appeal as it drives down the street or parks at the curb. Consider hiring a graphics or branding firm to help you design the look of your truck, and match your social media pages, menus and packaging to your overall look to help solidify your brand in your customers’ minds.
As you reach out to expand your customer base, start with your existing clients. Offer them discounts to bring your truck in to special events, or offer your truck as a treat for their employees during a Friday lunch hour. Ask your clients to pass along names of potential customers, and see if they’ll let you park in their strategically located parking lots. Don’t forget to get the word out on social media. Many food trucks develop a customer list who wait for texts each day to see where their favorite trucks will be located at lunchtime. As an already-existing small food business, you are in a prime position to translate your food service knowhow into the thriving food truck world.
Food trucks can be an excellent investment for new entrepreneurs. By planning ahead and carefully exploring new markets, you can have a food truck of your very own.