Mobile food is one of the most lucrative businesses in the present times. It is the business of selling food from mobile vehicles such as trucks and trailers. There are two main types of mobile catering vehicles: industrial catering vehicle (ICV) and mobile food preparation vehicle (MFPV). An industrial catering vehicle only sells pre-packaged foods as opposed to a mobile food preparation vehicle which prepares your food order while you wait. Below are some additional terms for both industrial catering vehicles and mobile food preparation vehicles.
Industrial Catering Vehicle (ICV):
- Catering Truck
- Coffee Truck
- Canteen Truck
- Lunch Truck
- Snack Truck
Mobile Food Preparation Vehicle (MFPV):
- Catering Truck
- Food Truck
- Food Trailer
- Concession Trailer
- Mobile Kitchen
- Food Service Container
At Silver Star Metal Fabricating we can design and build any mobile food solution you can imagine. Below are the common mobile food service solutions:
Mobile Food Service is a great business to set in motion. Not only are the hours of operation generally limited to 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM, but the business can also generate a combined income and profit earnings of $75,000 per year or more. The food products can be purchased from commissaries, restaurants, wholesale food distributors, food manufacturers, local and regional suppliers, greenmarkets and farmers markets, food cooperatives and shopping clubs like Costco.
The following tips are the keys to a successful Mobile Food Service business:
Keep your vehicle and yourself clean and organized
In recent years the industry has worked hard to clean up the image associated with mobile catering vehicles. These catering vehicles 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 vehicle daily before and after use. Clean all the equipment including condiment trays and bottles. Customers are also more likely to purchase food from someone that is clean, friendly, and respectable. Keep your garments and personal appearance clean and neat. You may also want to consider a uniform that will distinguish you from others.
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 regulars by their first name. You can even take this a step further and remember their preferences in food and drink. This allows you to build a good rapport with your customer. 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 mobile catering vehicle is one of the hardest parts of the job. You can fill up the vehicle 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, commercial offices, fairs, festivals, 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.
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 tomorrow’s 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 lineup. Make sure to have it made professionally. It shouldn’t cost you much and it will keep your business looking professional.