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Catering Trucks - Tips For A Successful Business

Mobile catering is one of the most lucrative businesses in the present times.  It is the business of selling prepared food from a truck.  The type of catering truck is defined as a Industrial Catering Vehicle (ICV).  This truck only sells pre-packaged/prepared foods as opposed to a Mobile Food Preparation Vehicle (MFPV) seen here.  Below are some additional terms for both Industrial Catering Vehicles (ICV) and Mobile Food Preparation Vehicles (MFPV).


Industrial Catering Vehicle:

  • Catering Truck

  • Coffee Truck

  • Lunch Truck

  • Snack Truck

  • Break Truck

  • Canteen Truck

  • Mobile Canteen

  • Food Truck

Catering Coffee Lunch Truck

Mobile Food Preparation Vehicle:

  • Mobile Kitchen

  • Mobile Kitchen Trailer

  • Mobile Kitchen Truck

  • Food Truck

  • Gourmet Food Truck

  • Lunch Wagon

  • Mobile Canteen

Frankie Fettuccini Catering Truck


A Catering Truck is a great business to set in motion.  Not only are the hours of operation generally limited to 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM, but the business can also generate a combined income and profit earnings of $50,000 per year or more.  The food products can be purchased from restaurants, catering services and wholesalers and marked up by as much as 150%


The following tips are the keys to a successful Catering Truck business:

  • Keep your truck and yourself clean and organized

    • In recent years the industry has worked hard to clean up the image associated with mobile catering units.  These catering units were often referred to as "roach coaches", "maggot wagons", "vomit comets", or "gut trucks". 

    • People are turned off by mess especially where they buy their food. Clean your Catering Truck daily before and after use. Clean all the equipment including condiment trays and bottles. 

    • Customers are also more likely to purchase food from a clean, friendly, and respectable driver.  Keep your garments and personal appearance clean and neat. You may also want to consider a uniform that will distinguish you from other drivers.

    • Greet each customer with a cheerful smile. A smile can be the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity, besides it costs you nothing.  Get to know your regular Customers by their first name. You can even want to take this a step further and remember their preferences in food and drink.  This allows you to build a good rapport with your customer. Theses Customers in turn will spread the word about your quality service and draw new customers to your business. The best advertising is generated by word of mouth.

  • Plan a menu that will satisfy your customers' needs

    • Planning a menu for your Catering Truck is one of the hardest parts of the job.  You can fill up the truck with various items, but may be stuck with them if your customers are not interested.  Knowing what items will sell is the key to a successful business, so plan your menu carefully.

  • Plan a catering route that will attract hungry customers

    • Oftentimes, Catering Truck owners will plan a route and provide breakfast, lunch, and/or coffee & snack service to several hundred people in just a few hours each day.  All people love food and if you provide the type of food that your customers demand, owning a Catering Truck can be a very rewarding experience.

    • The ideal stopping points for any mobile catering business are construction sites, factories, industrial offices, fairs, trade shows, parks, beaches, and sporting events.

    • Plan your stops throughout the day carefully according to either breakfast, lunch, or coffee breaks.  Make sure you keep to the schedule as your customers will begin to expect you at certain times.  Become a part of their daily routine.  This will build a loyal customer base.

    • Speed of service is important; most customers only have a few minutes to grab food and get back to work. 

  • Advertise

    • Your customers rarely have the time to review all the items you stock.  Create a flyer with the items you have stocked along with prices.  A flyer would also allow you to announce tomorrows specials and possibly attract new interested customers.

    • Displaying what you sell will save you time repeating and explaining your menu, especially during the busy hours of your day. It allows your Customers to be prepared before they order. It is known that most Customers decide their purchases while waiting in line.  Mount your menu to a highly visible spot.  You may want to hang it so as to be visible even from the end of a long line-up. Make sure to have it made professionally. It shouldn't cost you much and it will keep your business looking professional.

    • Many catering truck drivers are now offering advertising space on their catering unit.  You may want to consider a poster, "Your AD here! (555) 555-5555" to attract a company to advertise on your catering unit.

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