A taco truck is a great choice for a spicy entrepreneur deciding to go into the mobile food cart business. Mexican cuisine is widely enjoyed across all of North America, making it a really easy market to dig into. As a niche, the taco cart world is roomy enough to keep a newbie from growing discouraged, yet established enough to ensure a good chance for traction. Taco carts allow you to offer your customers a familiar, yet slightly exotic, fun food. If you’re dedicated enough to deliver quality product that’s priced to sell with a strong dash of quickness, then a taco truck business might work for you. Read on for some pros of the trade and some potholes to avoid along the way.
Everyone loves Tacos. Everyone.
If a fast food titan, like Taco Bell, isn’t proof enough, just take a look around your town or on the menu of your favorite restaurant and notice how Mexican food options are more prevalent today than ever before, no matter where on the continent you live. It’s simple to understand; the cuisine is delicious, even if you don’t care for super-hot foods. Ingredients are uncomplicated to procure at a good price, and the structure of some well-known dishes, specifically tacos, make them portable and easy to eat.
A creative chef can produce endless permutations of taco fillers, allowing them to tailor their menu to a defined local customer base. This goes further than ensuring you offer chicken instead of beef, or pork instead of seafood depending on the preferences of your clients. Tailoring your menu can even include changing things up for different times of the day, all while remaining true to your taco truck roots. Think savory breakfast burritos or flaky, cream cheese and fruit filled sweet tacos. The Kogi Korean BBQ truck offer a menu that is a fusion of Mexican and Korean flavors…who would have thought?
Little, if Any, Onsite Cooking
Making a taco mostly consists of combining already prepared ingredients. This means that you can do most, if not all, of the cooking in your kitchen beforehand. Onsite, all you have to do is put everything together, heat press or fry if you choose to, and hand the taco over to your paying customer. This makes a business based on a taco menu ideal for one or two man operations. If you forgo frying and heating, you only need to make sure your ingredients maintain proper holding temperatures. This significantly lowers the amount of equipment needed to get a taco truck up and running.
Caution; Taco Truck Road is Not Made of Glass
Once you’re up and running, it’s important to remember that not all surfaces are smoothly paved and bump free. Here’s a guide to a few potholes that you might encounter along your way to taco bliss, and some smart ways to avoid them.
Licensing & Permitting
Unfortunately, this part is reportedly the most difficult. Often, regulations regarding mobile food venders vary significantly from one place to another, even within counties and individual municipalities. The process is lengthy and time consuming. However, diligent research and making sure you fill out forms properly combine for a winning recipe when starting your business. A good way to use the down time while waiting for bureaucratic approval is to create a strong and detailed business plan. Make sure to leave a lot of cushion in financing and deadlines.
It is true that a mobile food business is a smaller expense than a full service restaurant. However, a food truck owner has just as big a workload and time investment as his brick and mortar counterparts. Beyond actual time spent serving customers, owners of food vending trucks also spend time preparing food in a distant kitchen, traveling to and in between vending spots, completing office work and marketing tasks, as well as networking to find the next best place to park. The rewards are great, but so are the demands. Make sure you think of every need your business may develop, no matter how far-fetched, to keep a decent perspective on profitability and life balance.
“…think of other service you could offer, like taco truck catering to office parties, and have marketing materials available to pass out as you invite people to partake of your south-of-the-border goodness.”
Limiting Exposure and Revenue Sources
Once you have your truck, your food and your cash register, you are ready for business, right? Well sure, if you want to ensure you have a financially difficult road to travel. Consistently high profits in a taco truck business mean consistently high sales volumes. Typically, business comes in spurts even during large events like fairs and festivals. Use the time you have in the public eye to attract more income. Make sure your truck displays a highly visible and attractive brand. Have a printed list of locations you frequent available for patrons. Also, think of other service you could offer, like taco truck catering to office parties, and have marketing materials available to pass out as you invite people to partake of your south-of-the-border goodness.
Starting a taco truck business is exhilarating, even if it’s also exhausting at times. Once your profits start rolling in, though, the fight to serve the streets is well worth the effort.