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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Whether you just started your own food truck business or have been in operation for years, there is always more work to be done.
One great way to ensure you've crossed all your T's and dotted all your I's is to follow expert-made checklists. From how to re-open after a short closure to maintenance and equipment checklists, our guide covers them all.
Food Truck Equipment Checklist
If you are wanting to open a food truck from scratch, you'll need to get the right equipment. But that doesn't just mean a truck and a stovetop — food trucks are much more involved than that.
Make sure you have everything you need to run a successful food truck with these food truck startup checklists.
Cooking and Prep Equipment
How you prep and cook the food you serve in your truck will be dependent on a variety of factors, such as the type of food you make, the number of average customers you get, and your personal preference.
But one thing is for certain — you'll need supplies. Consider this checklist your guide to getting your truck stocked with everything you might need.
- Stovetop broilers, griddles, grills, or flat tops
- Tortilla or panini pressers
- Gyro rotisserie
- Electric hot plates or a range stove
- Fryer and frying oil skimmer
- Countertop appliances such as a microwave, toaster, blender, food processor, steamer, or pizza oven
- Fridges, freezers, and blast chillers
- Exhaust hoods, fans, and an A.C. or heating unit
- Work table
- Skillets, frying pans, saucepans, and pots of various sizes
- Cutlery such as ladles, spoons, spatulas, etc.
- Freshly sharpened knives in various sizes
- Fruit, vegetable, and french fry cutters
- Cutting boards, bowls, and storage containers
Serving Equipment and Supplies
Once the food is cooked, you'll need specific supplies to keep the food warm for your customers and serve it to them in an appealing way. Those supplies include:
- Food warmers for various food types, including liquids and solids
- Insulation containers for cold beverages and food
- Disposable plates, bowls, utensils, cups, straws, and napkins
- Condiment dispensers or single-use packets
- Various condiments such as salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, etc.
- To-go boxes for takeaway orders or doggie bags
- Foodwrap to keep bugs away from prepared food
In an ideal world, all the food you buy will be bought and eaten by your customers. But in reality, you're gonna have some leftovers. Make sure they don't go to waste with the proper storage equipment.
- Tupperware and other types of storage containers for smaller food items
- Cabinets and boxes for storing equipment and workers' personal items
- A locked drawer for holding cash if you aren't a cashless business
- Fireproof box for storing licenses, tax documents, receipts, and other important papers
- Proper storage and refrigeration to keep food items from expiring or spoiling
Cleaning and Safety Equipment
Arguably the two most important things your food truck needs to be are clean and safe. Help ensure your truck always meets those standards with a food truck cleaning checklist and a safety supply list.
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher and unlimited water supply
- Flashlights, jumper cables, tire jack, spare tire, and other truck maintenance supplies
- A large sink with a facet and a dishwasher
- Wet-area floor mats or signs
- Anti-fatigue mats
- Gloves, aprons, and hair nets
- A small vacuum, broom, dustpan, and mop
- Cleaners such as dish soap, hand soap, hand sanitizer, bleach, oven cleaners, and all-purpose cleaners
- Cleaning devices such as sponges, rags, paper towels, scrubbers, sprayers, etc.
- Trash can, replacement liners, and a recycling bin
Last but not least, you'll need some supplies for advertising purposes. This can include:
- Hand-held and oversize menus
- Open and closed signs
- Operating hours sign
- Proof of inspection and cleaning processes
- A-frame signs to advertise your business
- Signs showcasing awards, coupons, hiring status, or current specials
Checklist for Food Truck Maintenance
Once you've got all the right supplies and have opened for business, there are certain tasks you'll need to complete on a regular basis to keep your business running smoothly.
Check off the following food truck inspection checklist every day you're open to the public:
- Check your supply of needed ingredients and reorder anything that's running low.
- Restock customer-facing products such as menus, napkins, cutlery, and condiments.
- Check current levels of cleaning supplies to ensure there is enough for the day ahead.
When closing down for the night, make sure your employees conduct the following food truck daily checklist:
- Wash, dry, and store all reusable dishes, cutlery, knives, and cooking equipment.
- Wipe down all surfaces to ensure a sanitary working environment.
- Bring any customer-facing supplies into the truck.
- Sort, count, and record all cash received for the day.
- Sweep and mop the floors.
- Take out the trash and recycling to the proper receptacles.
- Securely lock the truck from the outside.
In order to keep the truck and equipment in working order, you'll need to complete some monthly tasks.
- Deep-clean all equipment and storage containers from the inside out.
- Sharpen knives and replace broken or outdated equipment.
- Rinse off the outside of your food truck.
- Inspect your truck and replace any parts as necessary.
- Clean walls, exhaust hoods, and behind all appliances.
- Audit your truck's income and payroll to ensure finances are in order.
Once a year, if not more frequently, there are some additional steps food truck owners must take.
- Pay annual, biannual, or quarterly taxes (hint: our Business Accounting service can help).
- Update licenses, permits, etc., as needed.
- Submit your annual report.
- Re-evaluate your menu, marketing strategy, and other operations to make adjustments.
A Checklist for Reopening Your Food Truck Business
If you're taking a vacation or just closing up shop momentarily to pursue other ventures, this helpful checklist can help you get things moving once you're ready to dive back in.
Get Your Paperwork in Order
Start by looking over your paperwork to get your legal obligations in order. Some of the things to look at specifically include:
- Renew or Update Business Licenses: It's easy to get out of the swing of things when you're not operational, and not having all of your paperwork in order could delay your reopening. If you need help ensuring you're all set, Bizee has a great business license service that can help you get up to speed.
- Check on Your LLC Standing and Regulation: Not being in good standing is like deflating the tires on your food truck. You're not going anywhere and you're not going to be able to reopen for business. Make sure you're in good standing and check your state regulations with Bizee.
- Get an Insurance Policy: If you terminated your business insurance or let it lapse during your break, take steps to get your policy back in order.
- Re-Setup Your Utilities: Look at your utilities and contracts to ensure they are all current and no further action is needed. This can be anything from contracts you have with water companies to the propane and electricity companies you work with to keep things in working order.
Don't wait until the last minute to check these things because if they take time to complete and be finalized, it could set you back weeks or even longer.
Prioritize Cleanliness and Hygiene
While your truck was closed, there's a chance some grime has built up that needs to be cleaned. Customers rightly take cleanliness seriously when it comes to food, so you've got a lot of reasons to prioritize hygiene when reopening.
Make sure to check off all these items to get your truck in tip-top shape:
- Thoroughly clean your vehicle, inside and out. This includes all equipment, storage, and customer spaces.
- Evaluate all your stock and toss any expired or damaged products.
- Develop a new cleaning schedule and train your staff to follow any new hygiene guidelines and measures.
- Provide sufficient safety equipment to the staff, like a PPE kit, gloves, masks, contactless payment options, etc.
- Make sure that the food is prepared in compliance with all safety standards.
- Provide utensils and items such as sauces in single-use containers.
- Provide hand sanitizer for guests to use.
Grow Your Online Presence
While you were away, it's likely that your online following dropped a bit. To get growing again, update your social media accounts with your new operating hours, and make some posts showing everything set up and sparkling. This will help customers know that you're back and better than ever.
But don't stop there. Other ways to grow your online presence include:
- Promote offers, coupons, and deals to your customers to encourage visits and follows.
- Establish trust by communicating your social distancing and hygiene measures.
- Adopt new marketing and communication strategies after reopening.
- Promote the times and places where customers can come to purchase their favorite food from you.
Offer a Memorable Experience
Apart from the product or service you provide with your food truck business, offer your customers something that builds a long-term relationship. Here’s what a food truck business can do:
- Add new welcome signs and consider offering a discount for returning customers.
- Create signage that assures your customers of your cleaning standards.
- Focus more on the quality of the products and the experience you are offering through your food truck business.
- Play music that keeps your customers engaged and lightens up the mood (simultaneously, listen to the feedback you hear about your music selection and make changes if what you’re playing is not preferred).
- Consider offering delivery or online ordering to help expand your reach.
How Many Items Should You Sell on a Food Truck?
It's recommended that you sell anywhere from six to twelve items on your food truck menu. Of course, this number can vary drastically depending on what type of cuisine you serve, the number of employees, customer demand, and your level of efficiency.
How Much Do Most Food Trucks Make a Day?
Most food trucks make an average of $1,000 a day. However, this number can vary widely. Popular food trucks in busy locations may make much more, while those who serve unique items and aren't well-located might not hit one grand a day. If you feel you aren't making as much as you should, consider switching up your menu or moving to a busier location.
Making your food truck a city staple takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But with the right business plan in place and an expert team like Bizee behind you, there's nothing you can't accomplish.
Matt Weik is the Founder/Owner of Weik Fitness, LLC and is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. He’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. His work has been featured in over 85 fitness magazines and over 1,500 websites. You can contact Matt via www.weikfitness.com or on his social channels found on his website.
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