Opening a food truck is the dream of many people who love to cook. It is an affordable way to enter the food industry and has the potential to make a lot of money. Scaling the business up and opening a fleet of food trucks is a distinct possibility. The problem is that many people don’t know what is involved when running a successful food truck, never mind a whole fleet of them.

A specific formula for success needs to be understood to become successful and even expand one day. There have been a lot of other successful food truck owners that you should learn from. They have already made their mistakes and understand how the business works. This article will cover several tips to help you avoid mistakes and follow the roadmap that other successful food truck owners have made.

1 - Understand your costs

In any business, having a healthy profit margin is the key to success. When you are working with food, this is all the more important because the costs can get very high. These high costs can limit your profits if you aren’t careful. Many food trucks and restaurants go under because they don’t have their costs under control.

The most significant expense is going to be buying the truck. Most people will not pay cash for their food truck, so you will likely be spending a loan every month. This will have to factor into your costs so you can charge accordingly.

There are things like the fuel for the truck, gas for cooking, labour costs, and the cost of the food. Then you have to factor in the little things, such as to-go food containers and the cutlery.

After you have all of your costs calculated, you can understand how much to charge for the food and if you can make a large enough profit to make a living.

2 - Control your costs

Once you have calculated the costs, it is time to see how to lower them. Some of those costs are fixed and set in stone. For example, the loan for your truck will always be the same until it is paid off.

Other costs can be lowered since some are either not essential, or there are ways to not have to pay so much. Labour costs can vary since you can always have people working with you for only part of the day. If the cost of labour is high in your area, then try to do most of the work on your own and have some help during the service peak, for instance.

Food costs are often adjustable and can be much lower than what you expect to pay. Shopping for the purveyor that gives you the best prices is one way to lower costs. Another is to pay off the invoice as soon as you get it to get a discount. Many purveyors struggle with cash flow problems and will reward those that pay quickly and in cash by offering a discount for paying when they receive the invoice.

Reducing the size of the menu is an excellent way to reduce food costs. Try to limit yourself to how many offerings you have so you are not throwing away food. Also, find menu items that use many of the same ingredients so you can use them across multiple dishes. An example would be using ground meat for chilli, burgers, and meatballs instead of having three different meat dishes that use various cuts.

3 - Find your niche

The key to success for a food truck is to specialize in a specific type of food. The goal is to become known as the truck that makes the best of a particular cuisine or style of food. For instance, is known to have the best gourmet grilled cheese or the best Vietnamese soups is better than having a broad menu without a particular focus.

This will help you to market your truck much easier since there is something to grab onto. A general menu with no focus makes it hard to stand out when there is a lot of competition.

You can also save a lot of money by being specialized since you don’t have to have many products to buy since much of it overlaps with different menu items. If you have an extensive menu, then the costs of your food will be much higher than if you have a limited menu with only a specific type of food offered.

4 - Know how to market yourself

Getting the word out is essential if you are trying to be successful. You could have a great location that does much of the work to get customers. However, the trick is to have a constant flow of people, especially if you have to move locations.

Have a solid marketing strategy, and you will ensure the lines don’t stop and you make a lot of money. Use social media to build a brand for yourself while also letting people know where to find you. The key is to create engaging content that people will enjoy consuming.

Once in a while, you can make promotional posts about menu changes or any specials you run. The rest of the time should be about starting conversations with potential customers so they can understand what you are about and will want to support you.


Running a food truck takes work. It is a lot of hard work, and there will be some points when you aren’t sure if you will make it. However, if you follow these tips, you are setting yourself up for success.