Location is key – how to find the right location for your food truck

The recipe for success of a food truck business consists of several ingredients: Besides good food and great customer service, the choice of the sales location is the key to business success.

The location of your food truck can be even more important than your menu and has a strong influence on the amount of revenue you make. If you are hungry, you like to eat at a familiar place that is easy to reach. The price and the cuisine usually play a secondary role.

In this blog post, you will learn what to consider when choosing a food truck location and which locations are particularly suitable for mobile kitchens.

Finding the perfect food truck pitch is not always easy

Food trailers with one main location or changing locations?

Whether you stay exclusively at one location or change your location regularly is up to you. There are many food trucks that have one main location and sell their street food at other locations on some days.

For example, you could park your food trailer in a business district on weekdays and attend an event on weekends or park near bars or a theatre.

You could also change your location more often and park at a weekly market two days a week, spend two days in an industrial area and the rest of the week at a flea market and an event. However, if you park your food trailer at a new location every day, it can be difficult to build consistent sales and customer loyalty.

Also bear in mind that you have to register a travel business with the local authorities and carry the travel business card with you if you do not have a fixed location but change it regularly. Depending on the region, the costs for applying for a travel business vary greatly (25 € to 400 €).

Food trucks can achieve high sales at festivals

Does it make sense to park near other food trucks?

Parking near your competitors doesn’t have to put your business at a disadvantage. On the contrary, where there are other food trailers or restaurants, there are bound to be pedestrians. And pedestrians are potential customers.

However, if you offer Mexican tacos, it is not necessarily good for your business to park next to an already well-established food truck with the same offer. But if you park near food trucks offering Korean dumplings, Danish hot dogs and Breton galettes, you’ve found the ideal location.

If your direct competitors have not yet won over the local clientele, you have room to manoeuvre. Competition can inspire and motivate you to fine-tune your offer, which can ultimately be beneficial for your business. Especially if the perfect location is involved, you should park where your competition is.

A lunch offer in an industrial park can prove to be a reliable source of revenue

These locations are particularly suitable

A location is suitable for your food trailer if your target group is close by. Do you offer casual street food or upscale cuisine? Do you have a breakfast or lunch offer that appeals to business people or do you offer desserts for a younger audience?

The first step is to determine who your target audience is. The next step is to find a location where they will be. Ideally, a location with high footfall. In a peripheral location or outside the city centre, it can be difficult to generate attractive revenue.

The following locations are usually well attended:

  • Markets (e.g. street food markets, weekly markets and farmers’ markets, which by the way are a great way to build new relationships with local producers)
  • Business districts
  • Shopping centres (note that large malls usually have a food court)
  • Bars, clubs, concert halls
  • Train and bus stations
  • Schools and universities
  • Petrol stations
  • Events and festivals
  • Public places like local parks and museums

Always keep your eyes open for new and profitable locations. Find out where other successful food truckers like to park. The longer you are in the food truck business and the better you network with other business owners and organisers, the easier it will be to find profitable locations near you.

Checklist: Before you park your food trailer

1. Is parking allowed?
Before you set off for the desired location, you should know the applicable laws, regulations and rules and find out whether there is parking available there at all.
2. Will there be enough pedestrians?
3. Are there other food trailers or restaurants nearby?
4. Is there enough space for your food trailer and your guests?
5. Do I have a parking permit?

Once you have found a location that allows profitable business and offers parking, the next step is to apply for a parking permit. Setting up a food truck without a permit is prohibited throughout Germany.

How to help your customers find your street food trolley

In order to not only depend on walk-in customers, but to draw the attention of your target group to your offer and drive your growth, you can use simple marketing and advertising measures:

  • Network on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram through regular posts or advertisements, if applicable.
  • Use posters and flyers to draw attention to yourself in the immediate neighbourhood of your mobile kitchen.
  • Publicise yourself through traditional press work in the regional daily paper or neighbourhood magazine.

Conclusion: All depends on the combination

The choice of your food truck location will determine your success. If you offer excellent street food but have a poor location, you will not achieve decent sales. It is more likely that if you have mediocre food at a top location, you will have a good chance of generating high sales.

However, the key to sustainable trump in the food truck business is to combine a top location with great food.

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