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How to Start a Food Truck Business

Starting a food truck can be an excellent introduction to the world of running your own business.

Food-Truck Business

Food trucks are self-contained ventures that will give you plenty of exposure to essential business skills. From creating a great menu to sourcing ingredients, and preparing meals to making a profit, you’ll need to get up to speed quickly.

We know it can be daunting to start a food truck business, and we’re here to help.

We’ve supported over 1,000,000 people to form their business and provided answers, guidance and support to transform them into entrepreneurs. We’ll guide you through what you need to know to start your food truck business and get it off the ground.

Here’s our simple guide to opening up your successful food truck business. From exploring the types of food trucks you can start to the legalities of setting up your business and the realities of your day to day operations, this guide is here to help.

Read on for some insight into creating your own food truck business and becoming an entrepreneur. In this guide we will cover:

  • Food truck business planning

  • Food truck business planning

  • Deciding whether a food truck business could be right for you

  • Groups, forums and support for food truck business owners

  • Ideas for the type of food business you could form

  • Helpful software for food truck businesses

  • Statistics on why you should start a food truck business selling meals to the public

  • Setting up your food truck business including location, equipment, employees, taxes, finances, licenses and more

What Type of Food Truck Business Should You Start?

When it comes to starting a food truck business, you have plenty of choices. Here are the main areas where food truck businesses can be successful:

Food Trucks Focusing on Specific Cuisines

These are the most popular food trucks of all — those that specialize in food from a particular region or culinary tradition. From Asian-inspired noodles to grab-and-go burritos, or spicy curries to artisanal grilled sandwiches, there are plenty of niches you can explore and grow into.

Food Trucks for Special Diets

There’s a growth in specialized diets, with diners looking for food that will meet their nutritional choices. From plant-based or gluten-free to diets focused on a specific culture, you can quickly build up a good reputation with a subset of diners and get excellent word of mouth.

Food Trucks Tied to Events or Locations

Some food trucks may only go to particular locations or events. These food truck entrepreneurs have done their research and know exactly what their diners want. They’ve often negotiated long-term deals with venue owners and event organizers and may have exclusive rights to provide food.

Food Trucks Associated With Restaurants and Breweries

Some restaurants may want to extend their offerings through a food truck. If you have a close association with a particular eatery, it could be worth talking to them to see if they’ll sponsor you as their “face on the road.” Likewise, breweries and bars often want food trucks to give their patrons somewhere to eat, so that could be an excellent partnership.

The thing to learn here is that it’s okay to say “no” to your first, second or third bookstore business ideas. Very few entrepreneurs get it right first time. In fact, getting it wrong is often a badge of honor! Still, you don’t want to waste too much time, energy or money on the wrong initiatives, so ask and answer these questions honestly to find the right way forward.

Validating Your Food Truck Business Idea

These ideas are just starting points — you’ll need to do plenty of research to understand your customers and create a food truck experience they’re going to love.

It can be quite expensive to open a food truck business, with estimates of between $50,000 and $100,000 for your startup costs. Before committing too much time, energy and money into your new food truck business, it’s vital to test the marketplace.

Look at who your competitors are in the space

Food trucks are a popular type of business, so it’s important to know who else is operating in your area. Before starting your own, see who else is out there. Do some local research, go to events and popular public places and see the types of food trucks already operating, This can help you find a niche that’s not already taken.

Identify your food truck business’ unique selling points (USPs)

What does your food truck offer that your competitors don’t? Look for ways that you can stand out, whether that’s with your chosen cuisine, supporting people on particular diets or something else.

Understand your market

Clearly identify exactly who your customers are likely to be and what they want to eat. You’ll need to find a food truck niche where there’s enough demand for the food you’re making and selling.

Talk to clients

Speak with potential customers about what they want from a food truck. Are they after a particular type of food that they can’t already get? Can you offer a meal experience in a different way?

Get involved with food truck communities and discussion groups

One of the great things about food truck businesses is that there are several communities and discussion groups. Get involved in them and learn the ins and outs of your chosen market before committing.

Keep researching and testing until you find the right type of food truck business. It’s fine to say no to the first few ideas, so long as you settle on a niche where there’s a genuine need.

The Food Truck Business Plan

You need to define how you’re going to run your food truck business, market yourself, get sales, make a profit and grow. This can only come about by creating a watertight food truck business plan. It will help you get your thinking in order and show your commitment to your new venture.

You will also need to look at financial projections for your food truck business.

What are your expected sales and revenues? What is your profitability? How much money will you keep in the business to grow it? How much will you pay yourself and others?

Food truck business plans do vary slightly, but they should all cover the following areas:


An executive summary with the most important points from your business plan


Your goals and what you hope to achieve with your food truck business


A description of your food truck business, background information, and context


A market analysis and likely demand


An overview of how your food truck business is structured


Your business model


How you will market and sell your offerings


Financial projections, revenue, and profitability



In particular, your food truck business plan should cover your startup and operational costs. You’ll need to work out how long it will be before you can turn a profit, bearing in mind the expense to buy a truck and equip it with specialized food facilities. Even after that, you’ll also need to put money toward ingredients, permits, wages, utility costs and more. Your food truck business will succeed or fail based on its profitability, so a rock solid understanding of your pricing and expenses is essential . We’ve got the perfect guide to writing your business plan.

Right Business Structure

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Food Truck Business

There are five main business structures you can have in the U.S., and it’s important to choose the right one. We’ve shared your options below. They are:

  • Sole Proprietorship

    If you don’t choose to form a legal business entity for your food truck business, you will be a sole proprietor by default. This won’t give you the legal protections you need, so we do not recommend this.

  • Partnership Company or LLC

    Similar to a sole proprietorship, if you go into business with someone else without forming a legal business entity, you will be treated as a partnership. This doesn’t give you limited liability protections, so we don’t recommend it for your food truck business.

  • Limited Liability Company or LLC

    The most common type of business entity. An LLC is fast, simple and inexpensive to set up and maintain. It protects your personal finances and assets and is a great way to start your food truck business.

  • S Corporation

    This is a more complex type of business and isn't generally recommended for smaller organizations, like a food truck business.

  • C Corporation

    These are the largest and most complex types of businesses and are typically far more than the average entrepreneur or food truck business owner will need.

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of businesses, please see our in-depth guide. If you’ve still got questions, we’ve answered them to help you choose the right business structure for your food truck business.

In most cases, our recommendation for a food truck business would be to create an LLC. We’ve got a complete guide to everything you need to do. LLC formation does vary from state to state, but we’ve got you covered, wherever you are.

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Setting up Your Food Truck and Business Operations

Once you've legally created your food truck business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.

Marketing Your Food Truck Business

Much of your marketing will come from being in the right place at the right time. You can also try local advertising with flyers, press, radio ads, and other promotions. Don’t underestimate the power of local social media either- connecting with your customers can create great ongoing revenue.

Finances and Taxes

You will need a separate business bank account for your food truck business. You might also want to consider a business credit card. Additionally, you will also need to keep careful bookkeeping records and file business and personal taxes. Here at Bizee we can even help you file your taxes.


If you are working from home on the administration of your bookstore business or driving a vehicle for work, check whether your existing home and auto policies cover you for work use of your home or car. If not, you should either expand your policy so you’re covered or get dedicated business insurance.

Software and Process

The right software and processes will make running your food truck business a little easier, especially for financial management, point of sale and ingredient tracking. See our list of the best apps and software at the end of this guide.

Location of your Food Truck business

You’ll mainly be operating your business from the truck itself, and this will be your most important initial investment. You need a truck that has enough space to work, can fit all your equipment, allows easy access to customers, will fit into most parking lots and is easy to repair and maintain.You might buy an empty truck and build it out yourself, buy a truck that’s already been fitted out for food service or even get a preowned vehicle. Make sure you explore all your options and figure them into your business plan and expenses.

Equipment for Your Food Truck

You will need cooking and other special equipment for your food truck. Depending on the type of food you make, you may need a stove top, oven, grill, refrigerator, broiler or other cooking equipment. The appliances you choose will need to be engineered to fit into your food truck and secured so they’re safe to use.

The Complete "Start Your Business" Checklist

A Clear and Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Business the Right Way

Rules, Regulations and Taxes for Your Food Truck Business

You can’t escape real-world licenses, permits and regulations, and they’re particularly onerous for a food-based business. You will need to explore local, state and federal licenses and permits, and we can also help out with researching your business licensing needs. Pay particular attention to any permits or licenses needed for safety and hygiene.


Taxes are a fact of life if you’re in business, and there are various ways you will need to file and pay them. This can include self-employment tax, state income tax and federal income tax. It’s also very likely that the food you sell will be subject to sales and use tax. As a rule of thumb, we recommend holding back around a third of your earnings to pay your taxes. We can also prepare and file your tax returns for you.

Insurance for Your Food Truck

Most food truck businesses should have comprehensive business insurance. There are various types.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for job-related illnesses, disabilities or injuries that affect employees. Regulations for this insurance vary from state to state. It typically covers areas like medical costs, loss of earnings, compensation and retraining. If you do not have employees, you may not need this insurance.

General Liability Insurance

This insurance protects your food truck business from claims due to being sued. This may include injury to members of the public, property damage, personal liabilities, legal defense and more. It can help protect your business from financial penalties and bankruptcy. This type of insurance could be essential to your food truck business since you’re always dealing with members of the public and want to ensure you’re properly covered.

Home and Auto Insurance

You will need special insurance for your food truck, as standard auto insurance isn’t likely to cover it. Speak to your insurance provider and make sure you have the right type of cover.

Maintaining Your Food Truck Business Documentation

There are certain forms and legalities you need to follow to keep your food truck business in good standing.


File an Annual Report

Most states require all businesses to file a report once a year. This report has details of any major changes to who owns a business and other major impacts on a business’ legal status. We can file your Annual Report on your behalf.


Pay estimated taxes

You will be expected to pay estimated taxes on what you plan to earn in the current business year. Typically, you will need to pay estimated taxes in April, June, September and January (of the following year).


Renew Business Permits and Licenses

Your business will probably have several licenses, permits, and other regulations. These typically need to be renewed every year.


Prepare Your Taxes

You will need to work with your accountant to prepare all the taxes you need to pay.


File your taxes

You will need to file your taxes once a year.


Pay payroll and sales taxes

If applicable, you will need to make payroll and sales tax payments on a regular basis.

Groups and Forums for Food Truck Entrepreneurs

Here are some useful places where you can connect with other food truck entrepreneurs.

Useful Online Tools for Your Food Truck Business

Here are some really great online tools for managing your food truck business. They will reduce the time you spend on administration, help you to collaborate with others and free up your time to grow and manage your new venture.

Project Management


Marketing Automation

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Support

Human Resources

Website Development

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Find the right niche, and your food truck business could be an enormous success. You’ll certainly learn quickly if it’s right for you, and with perseverance, you can turn a food truck into a very profitable venture.