Food trucks can make big money.
According to surveys, food truck owners make $20,000 to $50,000 each month.
If you have something unique and flavorful to offer, a food truck business might be right for you.
But aside from a sumptuous menu, you need to have the right equipment to ensure efficiency in your mobile kitchen.
Food Truck Equipment: What You Need to Know
Before you purchase commercial kitchen equipment, there are several factors you need to consider. These include the following:
What you plan to put on your menu determines the equipment and tools you need. If you're selling desserts, you may need specialized equipment like commercial ice makers for your truck, ovens, freezers, deep fryers, grillers, etc.
Are you going to prepare food inside the truck or do you have a dedicated kitchen elsewhere? If you're using a commercial kitchen, you don't need a lot of equipment. Where are you going to store your supplies? Perhaps all you need are a refrigerator, microwave, and cooking machines, and storage units.
You have three options when it comes to the vehicle to use for your mobile restaurant. You can choose among a truck, trailer, or cart.
Often, beginners choose food carts as they are smaller and are cheaper to maintain. You can attach a cart to your car and tow them to your designated area. If you need a bigger space, you can decide between a food trailer and a food truck.
Location is a major factor to consider too.
Among the three types, food carts are the most mobile and won't need a ton of space to set up. Check your city's laws and regulations on food truck parking so you won't have any issues when you start selling your products.
Size of Your Business
How many people do you plan to serve daily? Are you looking to feed hungry workers near factories or offices? If yes, you need a larger truck that has tons of storage space, bigger refrigerators and freezers, and more cooking equipment.
Consequently, you need enough staff to efficiently manage your food truck business. If you will have two or more staff, you need a bigger space.
Choosing the Right Food Truck Equipment
No matter what food you're serving, your truck should be equipped with several staples.
To start, you need a three-compartment sink, a separate hand-washing sink, an exhaust system, and a water heater. Of course, you also need mechanical systems, which include plumbing, electrical wiring gas lines, etc.
Before you buy one, check with the FDA office and your state regulatory board for the required equipment.
Food Truck Equipment & Supplies
As mentioned earlier, your menu will dictate the types of equipment you need. That's why it's important to conceptualize your menu before purchasing equipment. You certainly don't want to waste money on machines and tools you won't use.
Your food truck layout and size will also dictate the size of equipment you need.
Essentially, you need the right equipment for cooking, warming, holding and preparing food, storing supplies and ingredients, and cleaning or sanitizing.
Should you buy new or used food truck equipment?
The decision to buy new or used equipment mainly depends on your financial situation. Upfront, used products will cost cheaper but they could cost you more in the long run.
If you're buying used equipment, take time to check whether it's still in good condition. If the machine has only been used for a few months to a year or two, it may be a good buy. It's best to buy used equipment from a person you know and trust.
What You Should Consider Before Purchasing
Purchasing new equipment for your food truck can be an expensive undertaking. However, if you choose the right products, you can save so much money over the long run.
Here are the factors to consider when purchasing new equipment for your food truck business:
Cost of Ownership
Understand the total cost of ownership calculation (TCO). This helps you determine how much particular equipment or machine will cost over its entire lifecycle.
Check the warranties and maintenance agreements.
Always, always investigate the warranty of your equipment. A high-quality machine will have a reasonable warranty period. Some equipment comes with an extended warranty which you can purchase. Explore whether the extra money is worth it.
Size and Functionality
Since you're running a food truck, you'll most likely need smaller equipment that will fit in your truck. Some manufacturers customize machines and equipment for food trucks for optimum efficiency.
Shipment costs depend on where you plan to buy your equipment or how far it has to travel to get you. As much as possible, you want to purchase equipment from a trusted dealer near you to avoid hefty shipping costs.
All in, food truck equipment is a big investment. A big chunk of your capital will go into them so it's important to plan and do your research before you purchase one.
You should start by creating a solid business plan that details the type of food truck business, from your menu to your customer base.
While it costs more upfront, new equipment is more efficient and could save you more money in the long run. If buying used equipment, consider its condition and always check for defects.