1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Q&A What’s A Good Food Truck Concept?

By

Two Friends Buying Ice Cream from a Truck
Caravan Images/ Taxi/ Getty images
Question: Q&A What’s A Good Food Truck Concept?
Dear Restauranting Guide,

I want to start a food truck business, but I want to do something different from sandwiches, pizza, burgers or ice cream. Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to create a food truck theme around healthy food, but I’m not sure it would sell. What do you think?

Kathy T.

Answer: Dear Kathy,

A good truck is a great way to get started in the restaurant business. It is pretty low investment, compared to opening a brand new restaurant. t offers plenty of other perks as well, like low overhead and small payroll. Most food trucks take advantage of free advertising and marketing through social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest.

You definitely should not feel limited to just burgers or sandwiches or pizza when it comes to choosing a food truck theme. Food trucks have come a long way since the days of the ice cream man or selling burgers and dogs. Today, there seems to be a food truck for nearly every kind of cuisine available, from gourmet cupcakes to Austrian bratwurst to Vietnamese lemongrass chicken tacos.

Local foods continues to be one of the strongest restaurant trends over the past several years, with more and more restaurants are incorporating local foods, including organic and sustainable foods, into their regular menu. And food trucks are following suite, offering a wide variety of local food selections. Underdog Truck out of San Diego offers sausage sandwiches made with only locally sourced foods. Celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito has his own food truck, Now Eat This! which focuses on healthy comfort food. Not only are all the entrees like cheesy turkey black bean enchiladas and faux fried general Tsao’s chicken less than 350 calories, the menu board has a calorie information posted on it.

Regional and international cuisines are always popular food truck themes. Red Hook Lobster out of New York City offers a variety of New England seafood specialties, like clam chowder, lobster rolls and shrimp rolls. The Bratwurst King out of Virginia offers European cuisine, with a menu that includes bratwurst (obviously), paprika chicken, Austrian goulash and homemade cakes and strudel. Lemongrass Truck out of Washington DC offers authentic lemongrass chicken or pork in four different styles- salad, with noodles, as a taco or as a sandwich, keeping the menu simple and strait forward. Check out these 10 cool food truck themes to help inspire you!

Before you settle on any theme, you first want to make sure a food truck is legit for your neighborhood, town, or city. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many places don’t allow food trucks or put a cap on the number of food truck permits allowed at any given time. Case in point – both Los Angeles and New York City are two of the busiest areas for food truck businesses and both have caps on the number of permits allowed. Read more about how to start a food truck business.

And while food trucks are considerably less expensive than a traditional restaurant, they still cost money. While far cheaper than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, a food truck itself will costs thousands of dollars, even used. Unless you have a lot of extra cash lying around, you will most likely need to look for financing either through a bank, small business bureau or investors. Read on for how to get ready for a bank interview.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.