Food truck as a business idea: everything you need to know as a career changer

Being independent and free with your own food truck – an idea that not only gastronomers dream of!

If you’re a gastronomer a food trailer can be a great addition to your restaurant, by which you can advertise your restaurant. During corona, when the usual restaurant business is not possible or only possible to a limited extent, a mobile kitchen is an ideal alternative.

But even if you haven’t had so much to do with hosting guests so far, but simply have had enough of the perpetual office routine and finally want to start your own business, perhaps the food truck business idea is an opportunity for you to stand on your feet independently and let your creativity run free.


You would like to get into the food truck scene, but you are not a caterer?

You are an absolute career changer and do not yet have a precise plan of how to implement your idea of your own sales trailer, what requirements you should bring with you, what costs are involved and whether you need a business plan?

It doesn’t matter whether you have a gastronomic experience or come from a completely different background: In this article we show you that starting a food truck business is the perfect opportunity for career changers and what you need to know to make your food truck life a reality.

Founding a food truck? You don’t need a professional qualification in the conventional sense

In order to realise your food truck business idea, you don’t need a specific professional qualification, but rather a great passion for your dream of being a food trucker. So if you want to be really successful with your food trailer, it will definitely help to learn as much as possible about how the food truck business ticks before you start out.

Setting up a food truck is of course associated with some work, but with our walkingboxes blog we want to make it easier for you to start your own street food business. With your own research and knowledge acquisition in the areas of business creation, being an entrepreneur, marketing and mobile catering, you will be able to establish a successful gourmet truck.

Good planning is the right entry into the food truck business

You want your food truck business idea to take on a more precise form? Then you should deal with your idea systematically. Before it really gets underway, good planning is essential. Consider the following points in your planning:

Draw up a detailed business plan: Yes, to be able to implement your food truck business idea, you need a professional business plan. Especially if you are looking for an investor. A business plan shows whether your business idea really has potential and is profitable. With a well elaborated business plan you create a clear vision of your goals and get a precise picture of the individual steps you need to take to realise your street food business idea. As an alternative to the classic business plan, the Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder is also suitable for a quick check of your business idea.

Check your financing: If you want to start your own business, you need a financial basis. Many start-up projects in the gastronomy sector fail due to lack of financing. Also make sure that your investments are in a good relation to the planned turnover. Also make sure that you have sufficient budget for marketing, staff and times when you have less income (e.g. during a cold winter).

Obtain all necessary applications and permits: You will need these before the opening of your food truck. You can’t go out on the streets and sell food in Germany – and many other countries – just like that. In the food service business hygiene regulations are particularly important.

Choose the appropriate company form: Whether GbR, GmbH, UG or sole proprietor – the choice of legal form depends, among other things, on whether you want to realise the Foodtruck business idea alone or as a team, as well as on capital procurement, liability obligations and accounting.

Better insure your food trailer: An insurance for your sales trailer may mean additional fixed costs, but it gives you the security of not losing everything in the end because of a glitch.

Where you can stand with your sales trailer, how many dishes you have to prepare each day, where you can get the best ingredients for your dishes at a fair price and how to win customers, you will learn over time.

Bookkeeping and paperwork are also part of the food truck life

It can't hurt if you bring these skills and qualities with you!

Fun and a smile on your face: Yes, these two points are especially important for your success!

Offer your customers an unbeatable service: In the catering business, great customer service is the be-all and end-all. Especially when selling on the street, it is important that you build a relationship with your customers and that you have an open ear for their wishes and concerns. And isn’t the sight of a smiling satisfied customer exactly what makes a food trucker enjoy his work?

Also keep an eye on current trends such as vegan nutrition, regional cuisine and food intolerances (such as gluten and lactose intolerance). Be careful not to bet on a short-lived bubble tea trend. A good orientation of what will prevail in the long term can be found in the megatrends. These include health, urbanisation, neo-ecology and a few more. 

Excellent cooking skills are half the battle: If you can cook well, it will definitely pay off! Together with your hospitality, you will lay the foundation for a successful food truck business!

Your street food recipes should not only be delicious, but also quick and easy to prepare. If you don’t have any experience with commercial kitchens, it can be helpful to take a few cooking lessons or get advice from a chef or hire one.

Marketing know-how attracts customers: A good understanding of marketing and self-marketing (online and offline) will help you build a distinctive brand and create a menu that represents it.

Commercial skills are also required: Starting a business in the catering industry requires commercial knowledge. As a food trucker, you don’t just have to prepare food, you also have to manage tasks such as price calculation, accounting, purchasing and staff management.

A spreadsheet software (e.g. Google spreadsheets) proves to be extremely useful for calculating your break-even point, calculating food costs, managing schedules and other calculations you need to manage your business.

Before you open a food truck: weigh all the pros and cons

Do you have a passion for street food and believe that the sales trailer will finally help you gain the freedom that you miss so much in your routine office life?

The idea of ​​unleashing your creativity, being around town with a custom-designed sales trailer and making your living selling delicious street food – may sound like fun. But let me tell you that in the everyday life of a food trucker, not everything always runs smoothly and some challenges await you.

The food truck adventure: opportunities and challenges

Starting your own food truck will definitely open up numerous great opportunities for you and will also let you grow as a person. But a little patience and practical experience are certainly required until you have found out how you can get the best out of your business for yourself and perhaps for your employees and what it takes to make your food trailer an institution on the street. 

The working days can be very long, it is not always easy to find an ideal parking space and unexpected events such as bad weather can mess up your planning.

Be aware of all the pros and cons before you dive into the food truck life. But if you always keep your goal of a successful food truck business in mind and know what you are doing all this for, you will also be able to master the challenges that may come your way with ease and enjoy the food truck adventure to the fullest.

Gain industry knowledge and first food truck experiences

If you are an absolute career changer and have never worked in the catering industry before, it can help you to gain industry knowledge by getting a job in a restaurant, catering business or even better in a food truck, provided that you have the time and the opportunity.

If you openly communicate to your potential employer that you are planning to start your own food truck, they will definitely appreciate that you have an open mind and passion for the business and who knows, maybe they will even work with you later.

This way you can take a look behind the scenes and find out if the food truck business is really the right thing for you. You can collect ideas which you can hopefully implement for your own food trailer soon.

All set to start in the street food industry?

As you can see, entering the food truck industry is absolutely feasible for career changers. And if you can come up with a good concept that suits you, enough motivation and joy, and acquire a little marketing and commercial know-how, you are well on the way to success with your mobile gourmet trailer.

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