Tips on How to Take Your Restaurant on the Road with a Food Truck
Canadians love food trucks. Though we initially lagged behind our neighbours to the south when it came to restaurants on wheels, in recent years food trucks have flourished in Canada and become a mainstay of festivals, special events and everyday urban life.
The rise of food trucks in Canada presents restaurateurs and aspiring restaurant owners with an enticing alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants. Compared to the costs associated with opening and operating a traditional restaurant, sourcing the business financing to start a food truck can be much more realistic. Here are just some of the benefits of starting a food truck:
- Low Startup Costs: The average cost of starting a food truck is only a fraction (20-25%) of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. This is true whether you are looking to start a new restaurant, or expanding your business to a second location.
- Keep Overhead Costs Down: It takes a village to run a restaurant – hosts, servers, a line of cooks and cleaning staff. A mobile restaurant on the other hand typically only requires three people at a time to run efficiently.
- Test Drive Various Locations: Even if you have your heart set on opening another brick-and-mortar restaurant, you may be having doubts about the best spot for your first, second or third restaurant location. Every neighborhood has a unique flavor and a taste for different foods. By visiting different areas with your food truck, you can test and learn which locations respond best to your brand.
- Build Brand Recognition and Loyalty: A food truck is not only a mobile restaurant; if branded well, it can also act as a billboard on wheels for your small business. A food truck allows your restaurant to have a presence at the busiest intersections, top sporting events and hottest festivals. Take your restaurant to the Calgary Stampede or the Ex in Toronto. The road’s the limit!
Ready to start a Food Truck? Here are a couple of tips:
Getting Your Food Truck
Work with a credible food truck manufacturer or food truck customization company – someone who specializes in the food business and has experience working with businesses like yours, with expertise in your municipality.
Aside from ensuring the branding is on point and that the interior suits your cooking needs, it is imperative that your vehicle adheres to all necessary regulations. Finding a vendor to work with that is familiar with your local regulations can make this process much easier.
Consider All Costs and Financing Options
There are several business financing options available in Canada to small business owners looking to start a Food Truck business.
Firstly, many custom food truck builders and manufacturers offer food truck leasing. Just as there are pros and cons to equipment leasing, the same goes for financing your mobile restaurant.
When assessing your needs, consider all costs associated with operating your food truck business. Aside from acquiring and customizing the truck itself, municipalities require operators to posses a number of licenses and permits. Many food truck operators rent space in a commissary to prepare food. Then there are the operational costs of supplies, inventory, staff and marketing.
After doing the math, you may decide that a small business loan is the best option for your needs, allowing you to reserve working capital while financing your business until your food truck starts generating revenue.
If you have an existing restaurant and want to expand into food trucks you can consider an online loan from a credible Canadian small business lender like Lendified. The online application is simple and secure, and you’ll receive a decision right away. If eligible, you can get the business financing you need to start your mobile restaurant business in as fast as 48 hours.
Want more information on how online loans can help grow your restaurant? Check out this overview of ways a restaurant loan could help you grow.
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About the Author
Lendified is Canada's premier online lender for small businesses. The company was founded by former bank executives dedicated to provide businesses with fast, easy, and affordable financing. The Lendified team regularly produces blogs and guides to help small business owners succeed.