India has been a late bloomer in the business of food trucks, butnevertheless we have caught on. There’s a lot of potential in this business as people’s requirements are changing. Because time is a luxury for many, fast food first came as god-send. The younger food truck business on the other hand has overshadowed the fast food industry. Firstly, because the food isn’t mass produced, and secondly, because it serves faster, cheaper and possibly much healthier food.
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While the risks involved in this business are relatively low, there are still a few essentials you need to take care of. Here’s what you need to know.
A food truck is a good place to start. There are many food tuck designers or manufacturers who will be willing to customise one for you. Since a basic food truck will cost you about 7-11 lakhs, a customised one will be more expensive. Remodelling your basic truck to install a kitchen, however, might be more economical.
Next, think of the equipment you’ll need. This mostly depends on your menu, but most cuisines need common equipment like sinks, an oven, a refrigerator and hot plates. So chalk these out and plan your finances. Working out of a home kitchen can seem like a good idea to save on equipment costs but it might keep you tethered to an unfavourable location. If you plan to cook some in your home-kitchen and then transfer to the food truck, factor in the limited revenue from your limited transferred food.
If you thought “duh!” at the idea of a food truck, you’ll be surprised to know that you might not need one after all. South to Mouth, a mobile food stop in Ahmedabad, works out of an open auto-rickshaw. They make do, and very well, with basic equipment like hot pans and a stove.
Invest in the design of your truck. This is your chance at good advertising, so make it creative and eye-catching.
Invest in talent. Your menu and the response your business generates will both tell you whether or not to hire more cooks. It iswise, however, to have as many hands as you can afford.
It’s best to get these out of the way before you delve into the fun part of your business planning. You will first need either a Food Business Operating Licence or Shop and Establishment licence from FSSAI(Food Safety & Standards Authority of India). Then, you will need to licence your food truck as a commercial vehicle from the RTO of your city. Once this is out of the way, you will need a licence from the fire department stating that you comply with their fire safety guidelines. The last formality you’ll need to attend to is the insurance of your truck and kitchen equipment.
You mightprobably plan this simultaneously. Your target market will tell you which cuisine to choose, whether you’d benefit predominantly from veg or non-veg items on the menu, or if you can utilise alternatives like health snacks. Your target market will also lead you to your location.
Deciding on your location depends on what kind of revenue you’re expecting. If you choose to locate your truck near schools, your peak profit period will be in the evenings and not during the school hours. If, on the other hand, you locate yourself in a commercial area like shopping complexes, your business will be active throughout the day. If you only want to work on weekends or late nights, you could target music festivals. There are a lot of options once you know what you want from your food truck business.
While these are the fundamentals one needs to know before starting off, your business will be more stable if you talk to people who have 'been there, done that. There should be no stopping you afterwards. Happy food trucking!