With their unique style, great food, and convenient locations, food trucks have quickly become a staple in cities around the U.S. They serve a wide variety of foods, from breakfast to dinner and dessert. And their unique take on food like tacos, Cubanos, and Korean BBQ has put them in a league of their own.
Starting one of these food trucks might seem like a dream come true. But the truth is that establishing a food truck takes time, effort, and money. The good news is that if you have the drive and the determination, you can build a successful food truck business for years to come.
In this article, we’ll go over the 15 steps you should take to start your own food truck bakery and how you can plan out your food truck business plan.
1. Research Permit and Licensing Requirements
Your first step in starting a food truck should be to figure out the permit and licensing requirements for food trucks in your area. If you buy a food truck without knowing what it takes to get on the street, you’re bound to have a hard time. When it comes to the permit and licensing requirements, most cities and states are very strict.
Some have different requirements for safety certification, food handling, and even overnight storage. Doing the research about permits and licenses for food trucks in your area is a crucial first step. It will help you figure out how expensive it will be just to get started.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what it takes to get a food truck license, you can move forward and start your application.
2. Find Your Food Niche
You want to start a mobile bakery, but first, you have to figure out exactly what you want to sell. For your bakery, you will need to figure out what kinds of baked goods you want to specialize in.
Picking a specific item like bread, cupcakes, pastries, or cakes will give you some direction. You could even add something like specialty coffee to the menu to help set you apart from the competition.
3. Find Your Truck
This will be one of the most important steps and will determine whether you do your actual baking on the truck, or whether you bake somewhere offsite and just sell your goodies from your truck.
Using your truck as the actual bakery provides some flexibility, as you can bake more things right there if you notice one of your items is running low. But using your truck as the bakery also means that you will need more space for ovens and cooling racks.
These are all things you will want to think about when designing the perfect truck for your operation.
4. Determine What Equipment You Will Need
If you’re going to be baking in your food truck, you need to get equipment that is efficient, in terms of both space and power.
Do your research and find the ovens, mixers, warmers, racks and refrigerators that will best fit your needs and help you keep an organized, efficient truck.
5. Buy the Right Insurance
Another crucial step is making sure you have the right insurance. Your truck is your entire business, and if it is not properly insured, you may be headed for disaster.
Making sure that your truck, your employees, and your equipment are insured will help you avoid major disasters and will keep your business safe.
6. Develop a Mobile Bakery Business Plan
Developing a business plan for your food truck is a crucial step that can’t be skipped. To run your business successfully, you need to develop a rough outline of your startup and operational costs.
This will help you figure out your overhead, startup costs, and how much you need to make in order to be profitable. You will need to do a detailed analysis of how much it costs to produce each muffin or pastry, and determine your prices accordingly, in order to have a more accurate picture of how your mobile bakery will operate.
Having a business plan can also help you secure a loan if you don’t have funding immediately available.
7. Get Your Capital Together
After your business plan is developed, you can start getting capital together for your food truck. This can be done through banks, private lenders, or more creative means.
The important part here is securing a loan that you can eventually pay off and has good terms. You can also get funding through your friends and family, just make sure they know the risks they are taking. Be sure and get all agreements in writing, especially if asking friends or family to invest. You don’t want disagreements over money to ruin your relationships.
8. Brand Your Truck
Part of the fun of visiting a food truck is the personality and feel of the truck. Eye-catching colors, intricate design, and a clear sense of direction are all essential in creating an attractive truck.
Make sure that your truck has its name clearly visible and that its branding is in line with your products and services.
9. Choose Your Locations
Placing your mobile bakery in good locations is key to running a profitable food truck business. Picking locations where parking is available and there is heavy foot traffic is a good place to start.
Streets surrounding major attractions like stadiums, theaters, and shopping centers are great places to park your truck. Just make sure you are following the city’s rules about where you can set up shop.
10. Get an Appropriate POS (Point of Sale) System
If your business strategy finds you getting a lot of sales, a good POS system will help you process transactions efficiently, keep track of profit, and keep the line moving.
Since most people use credit cards and other forms of electronic payment these days, getting a POS system that accepts digital or electronic payment is crucial. Going cash-only might be convenient and cheaper, but it might end up costing you sales in the end.
11. Explore Alternate Revenue Streams
Figuring out alternative ways to utilize your business is also important if you want to succeed. Try offering your bakery services to businesses or events that need catering as a way to make extra money.
You can also try selling custom cakes, coffee service, and other items to boost your sales.
12. Build a Social Media Following
One of the best ways to build a customer base is to hit social media. Starting an Instagram account, Facebook page or Twitter account is a great way to interact with your customers and spread the word.
This also allows you to update your customers regarding your location, specials, and new items you’re offering.
13. Sell Merchandise
As you probably already now, merchandise is a great way to get extra sales and spread the word about your business.
Making attractive T-shirts, mugs, hats, and bags for your customers will help you boost sales, but it also serves as free advertising.
14. Expand Your Business
While alternate revenue streams might require different business practices, you can also expand your business by trying new things. Once you get settled in and your bakery is running smoothly, you might want to start branching out a bit.
For example, if you’re starting a bakery and you only sell breakfast items, try selling lunch items as well. If you only make bread, start selling cakes. Expanding the scope of your business will help you reach those customers who might otherwise not buy from you.
15. Identify Weak Spots in Your Operation
Before you hit the streets, try setting up a “test run” where you serve food to your friends and family. Going through the motions of a normal day without the pressure to perform perfectly will quickly show you what needs to be fixed.
This allows you to adjust your operation and nip problems in the bud before you even officially open.
Start Living the Food Truck Dream
Now that you know more about starting a mobile bakery, you can come up with your own food truck business plan and start living the dream. Make sure to research the specific laws and regulations of the city you want to work in to avoid any unforeseen issues and problems.
Interested in getting into the food truck industry? Follow this link to request a custom quote.
For more food truck advice and inspiration, check out the rest of our blog here.