If you have an innovative culinary concept and would like to open your very own food truck, this article is for you. Read on for the tips, tricks, and hints essential to know to be successful in the refrigerated van industry!
WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST?
The first step is to procure your food truck. Search for refrigerated vans that are on sale. Used vans for sale are preferable, as they will already be outfitted with kitchens and storage space. Be aware that these used trucks may be overly specific- if you’re looking to sell fresh juice to the masses, a truck boasting a deep fat fryer may be unnecessary. Below are some of our favorite refrigerated vans, preferred for their quality square footage and curb appeal good looks.
• Reefer vans
• Sprinter vans
• Cargo vans
Our top choice would have to be the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van. Reliable and sleek, this van is the perfect size for any food truck entrepreneur. There is enough room for storage and food prep, but the van remains small enough so that the parking space required for it is not obscene.
SECURE THE APPROPRIATE PERMITS AND PAPERWORK
Every city is different when it comes to regulating refrigerated vans. Below are the top seven cities with food trucks, and links to their requirements.
• Los Angeles, CA- http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/AreasofInterest/food.htm (Under Mobile Food Facility)
• Austin, TX- http://www.austintexas.gov/department/food-establishment-requirements and http://austintexas.gov/department/mobile-food-establishments
• Portland, OR- https://multco.us/services/food-carts-mobile-food-units
• Miami, FL- http://media.wix.com/ugd/1268b5_424f4d863b7841da8cf314cbf304e87c.pdf
• Chicago, IL- http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bacp/supp_info/mobile_food_vendorlicenses.html
• New York, NY- http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/2920/food-cart-vendor-license-or-permit
• San Francisco, CA- http://sfdpw.org/index.aspx?page=1376
If you don’t see your city, go to your county’s website and search for food truck ordinances. They will define what a mobile food facility is in your county, and what permits may be required.
CONSIDER THE LOGISTICS
Having your refrigerated van and all of your legal requirements is well and dandy, but make sure you’ve considered everything else that goes into running a successful business. For example;
• Insurance- We don’t see your insurance costing more than that of any regular truck’s insurance, but do make sure that your underwriter is aware of the additional hazards associated with your vehicle. For instance, you may want to include that your cargo van has open flame on board.
• Expansion Capabilities- Planning for the future is always important. You may be preparing the food in an at-home kitchen or on board your reefer van now, but what about in 5 years? Keep your business plan flexible and allow for extra wiggle room. If all goes well, you may be searching for additional refrigerated vans for sale before long.
• Safety and Storage- A food truck is a business like any other. It’s important that you protect your interests and look out for its security. During closed hours, know where you plan to leave your sprinter van. Some cities require food trucks to be stored in specific commissary locations during off-hours. Know these requirements and be prepared to pay for the parking costs this can incur. Keep in mind that this can also raise the costs associated with refrigeration and electricity.
• Location- Food trucks are a novel idea, and since 2008, their popularity has soared. This means that you could be up against a lot of competition. Knowing the location of refrigerated vans selling similar wares gives you an edge against your competitors. It’s wise to park at a distance from your competitors and in a location that is more tourist-heavy or population dense.
• Appearance- An important factor to consider when purchasing your refrigerated van, make sure that you have a theme in mind, and have a plan of how to achieve this image. Patrons will be more inclined toward an attractive storefront that is unique and appealing.
As with any business, to stay successful you must supply the public with what they demand. Know your niche, your strengths, and your weaknesses. You are now ready to begin the process by searching for your ideal refrigerated van for sale.