Quick Facts and Figures on Creating a Food Truck Business

December 6, 2012

Is this food truck trend here to stay? We say yes. Although it’s a trend that’s emerging from the death of its evil cousin the “roach coach” the new mobile gourmet food business is going to be the one that sticks.
Here are some quick facts and figures that were released by Column Five Media in an infographic recently:

  • 91% of present food truck consumers say that the trend is here to stay
  • Only 7% of food truck patrons expect to curb their visits over the next year
  • Only 1 in 5 people in the United States isn’t aware of what a mobile food truck is (or haven’t seen one)
  • 61% of customers found the mobile food stands just by “happening upon them,” rather than through word of mouth from friends or family
  • More than one food truck at a given location encourages spending by the consumer; ¾ of customers that shop where multiple trucks are together make purchases from two or more food truck operators
  • 54% of customers indicate that if they hadn’t bought food from the mobile street vendor, they would have bought their meals from a fast food restaurant
  • Mobile food restaurant start-up costs ($30,000 – $80,000) are only a fraction of what traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant start-up costs are ($125,000 – $500,000); however, food truck maintenance costs add up quickly. These include: permits, gas, staff, supplies and truck repairs
  • Acquiring permits can be tricky – if not just downright hard. Some cities require more than one permit and/or may have a cap on the number of permits that can be issued during a set period of time
  • Food truck businesses have several obstacles that are unique to this industry. These include: parking wars (between your food truck and parking and zoning requirements), turf battles (between your food truck and your competitions’ trucks for prime spots), poor weather conditions (that affect driving, serving, and the presence of customers), storage shortages (in which your truck fails to provide adequate space for your supplies), and restaurant rants (in which traditional restaurants argue that food trucks are taking business away from their establishments by parking their trucks too closely to the brick-and-mortar businesses).
  • Of consumers who follow food trucks on social media, 84% check their favorites’ pages at least once a week

Quick summary: The food truck trend is here to stay, and it’s continuing to grow year after year. However, costs associated with entering and staying in this market are rising – given the rise in gas prices (which affects all other necessary costs) and the supply and demand of permits in certain cities. However, it can be expected that as food trucks continue to gain popularity in particular states and cities that the laws and regulations concerning permits will loosen. Hopefully. Lastly, as a mobile food vendor, it is absolutely necessary that you update and maintain your social networking sites daily. Your customers can’t find you if they don’t know where you are!