Starting a new business can be scary, especially when that business is on wheels. Whether you're expanding your current business, or starting a new business, there's a lot that goes into building a food truck. If you're buying a new or used food truck you need to consider things like: space, equipment, and budget. So let's get to the first thing to consider...
What's on the menu?
When building a food truck one of the obvious first things you need to know is what you're cookin'. What you serve on your food truck will give you a very good basis on what equipment you will need to install. Some menus also require more prep space than others, for instance, a sandwich serving food truck would need more prep space than a soup truck.
Food Truck or Trailer
Next you'll need to pick out your truck (or trailer). Most builders will help you purchase one if you ask. 10,000-15,000 thousand is a fair budget for a unfabricated truck. Things you'll want to consider is mileage and condition. Our shop offers full motor swaps, and we do the painting in-house. If there is a wrap or design on the truck from a previous owner the painting process is a little more complicated and in turn cost more. Alternatively you can have the truck wrapped which would completely cover anything from before.
Food Truck Equipment
Once you've figured out what's on your menu and you're ready to pick out your food truck equipment, there are a few of things to consider.
- Size: you need to make sure your equipment is within the limitations of space you have. For instance if you have a tall countertop appliance, you need to make sure there's enough space from the counter top to the roof. Same goes for the width of your equipment. Sometimes smaller is better.
- Reputable Brand: you want to be sure that you choose reputable brands for your equipment. When using lower quality items you run the risk of your equipment breaking during peak times or even causing small electrical fires.
- Power Consumption: Since you are using a generator to power your equipment you need to be very aware of how much you're using. A simple conversion you can use to calculate power consumption is Watts = Volts x Amps and/or Amps = Watts / Volts. You should consult with your food truck builder about power consumption and our next thing...
Choosing Your Generator
"If there's one thing you don't want to cut corners on it's your generator!" -Bill Tillson, Owner of Gorilla Fabrication
Your generator is one of the most important things on your food truck. We could write a whole post on just what generator to select alone. We'll try to water it down for you. When choosing a generator for your food truck there are three main types to consider Gas, Propane, and Diesel. Each has its different advantages and setbacks. If you're using a very high volume of electricity Diesel is your best option. You want to make sure that you are never using more than 75% of your food trucks generators power. For example if you have appliances that equal up to 7,000 watts you want to make sure your generator supports up to 10,000 watts at least. Another huge thing to consider is how loud your generator is. If your generator is connected to your food truck and is 70db or more you'll have to yell over it to talk to customers or move it very far away.
DHEC Food Truck Laws
DHEC laws for food trucks change from state to state. In most states if you have a menu that doesn't require cooking on the food truck (like when serving coffee or pastries) it's not required to have an exhaust hood which can save upwards of $3,000. The law is much more lenient on trucks that do catering and private events; so if you're not serving the public your options are vast.
Those are the main things you'll need to think about when purchasing a food truck.