Everything You Need to Know About Writing a Food Truck Business Plan
You’ve done it! You’ve got the restaurant idea that you just know will be the next big thing, and now all you need to do is turn it into a reality. First, of course, to get your idea off the ground, you’ll need to write a business plan, which can be daunting, but luckily there are plenty of online resources and templates that can help you on your way!
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Food Truck Business?
It’s not easy to estimate startup costs because they vary depending on what you want the food truck to look like and how much work you want to put into your business. However, it is possible to figure out a ballpark figure. For example, if you are willing to invest $25,000 in your new venture, then that’s about how much it will cost for permits, licenses, fees for starting a food truck business, equipment (ex: mixer), kitchen (ex: stove), supplies (ex: pans), and office supplies.
Location, Location, Location
The ideal food truck business plan is going to have to take into account your location. Before you can get rolling with marketing or researching the competition, you’re going to need to think about where you can operate your food truck. For example, if you want it based in Seattle, the plan will probably differ from someone who wants their food truck in Portland. The first thing that you’ll need to do is find a location! If you don’t already have one in mind, then start looking for the perfect spot for your operations. One of the most important considerations when picking out a spot is parking availability. You don’t want customers circling around looking for a space and possibly driving away before they ever see your menu! With this information on hand, you should be able to start brainstorming how much space you’ll need (planning on more than just the vehicle), how many seats you want to include, and what kind of kitchen set up works best for your type of cuisine. It’s also worth noting that some locations are better suited for catering gigs than others, so keep that in mind.
A food truck business plan should address these topics:
-What it will cost you to keep your food truck restaurant running and operating. A key question is whether you’ll need employees and the corresponding cost of payroll taxes, insurance, and salaries or if you’ll do all the work yourself. Often times, even if it’s just one person’s income, you will still have to pay them minimum wage, which will have some affect on your finances. Your costs for groceries, equipment maintenance, permits, and licenses are also important considerations when estimating how much it will cost you to operate your mobile food service. Your fixed costs may be low, but variable costs can be substantial depending on how often you’re selling and what expenses are incurred as a result of cooking at festivals or parking in busy areas like tourist destinations.
Putting Together an Effective Marketing Strategy
Marketing is one of the biggest parts of any business plan and one that should not be overlooked. A successful marketing strategy will go far beyond picking out the perfect logo. There are so many variables when it comes to effective marketing, but here are some tried-and-true tips:
Set objectives. Marketing is most effective when you know exactly what you want your customers or clients to do or understand. If you have specific goals for each aspect of your marketing campaign, then chances are good that you will achieve them.
Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy.
Test ad campaigns before running them on social media. Make sure ads produce the desired results with small test groups before investing more money into an advertising campaign. Research customer demographics and psychographics to find people who might be interested in your products. Consider sponsoring events or donating time and money to organizations that align with your values as well as customer demographics. For example, if you sell vegan cookies and live near a school campus where there is growing demand for healthy food options, consider becoming involved with the campus health center and local youth sports teams by providing snacks at games or participating in fundraising events such as canned food drives.
Understanding Your Target Audience
A well-written business plan should include an overview of your target audience, whether you’re selling your own brand or just the food. This will help you find out what’s most popular, what keywords are most likely to capture the attention of potential customers, and the demographics that’ll be interested in your products. Having this knowledge will make it easier for you to craft marketing materials like ads and landing pages that speak directly to your prospective clients. It also helps with understanding what type of content they’re looking for on social media. For example, if your target demographic is mostly teenagers and college students, then your posts should be fun and casual with little text so people can quickly scroll through their feed without reading anything too wordy. On the other hand, if you want to reach busy professionals who may not have time to scroll through their feed, then more text-heavy posts with a clear call-to-action are best.
Does Your Menu Excite People?
Think about your menu. It’s going to be one of the most important factors in whether or not people choose your food truck. Make sure that your menu excites people and also has something for everyone in your community. Make sure that you are using fresh ingredients with recognizable flavors, but also take the time to create some bold dishes that will really make people stand up and take notice. Think outside the box while still creating classics that keep things comfortable for customers who might be on the fence about trying something new. For example, many Mexican restaurants have items like burritos and tacos as staples on their menus, but you can also find nachos, quesadillas, tortas, and other more adventurous options.
The financial projections for your food truck business plan should include various assumptions. You’ll want to make educated estimations on the location of your food truck, what your vehicle will cost, how much it will cost you in insurance, and the operational expenses of running the business (think things like water and electricity). The next section of your financial projections should be based on expected income streams. How much money do you expect from each type of purchase? Will there be any specials that you offer? What about daily specials or weekly specials? What is the average price of each item you sell at your food truck? These are all important questions to answer when estimating how much money you can make.