The food truck phenomenon continues to grow across the United States. According to the National Restaurant Association, food trucks generate $650 million in annual revenue. By the year 2017, it’s expected to be a $2.7 billion national industry.
Yet, despite these statistics, and the fact that food trucks are expected to jump nearly 4% in the next five years, a survey from St. Leo University shows nearly half of respondents had never eaten at a food truck.
Perhaps this is because diners don’t know where to find their local food trucks.
To help you be part of the successful food truck phenomenon, we’re going to talk about how to find the best locations for your food truck so you can beat the St. Leo survey results.
Unlike a brick-and-mortar restaurant that can’t move around, deciding where to park you food truck can make or break you. Picking the best location is fundamental to your success.
Starting a food truck business involves not only planning a menu, but mapping out the best locations in your city. Here’s how to find the best locations for your food truck.
Before we talk about specific locations, let’s explore some of the best practices for parking your food truck.
One of the most basic considerations should be your proximity to your food preparation. If it’s prepared off-site, you’ll want to be close in case you need extra. If you prepare all of your food on the truck, you have no worries here.
The next thing to consider is your customer. You certainly won’t sell any food if you aren’t where the people are. To be successful, you have to meet the demand, and the demand comes from the customer.
On the flip side, if you’re where the people are, you can bet your competitors are, too. You can park with all the other food trucks, which makes great business sense. When a bunch of food trucks are clustered together, they are a natural magnet for interest and activity.
Alternatively, you can set yourself off a little bit to distinguish your truck from the competition. Test the waters on this one. You may find it doesn’t work as well as you’d thought.
The best thing about food trucks is you can pick the best location and “chase” your business. (tweet this) You have something brick-and-mortar restaurants don’t. You can move with your customers. For example, on Friday you’re downtown, but on Saturday, you’re parked outside a hopping event venue.
I was recently at an antique fair where there were 10 food trucks parked. The best thing about this scenario? They all sold something different. Juices at one, fresh wok-prepared food at another, greasy burgers at another. Turn the corner, and we found a food truck selling vegan food and another with incredible desserts.
The result? Our little group of five purchased from eight of those trucks! The lesson here – it’s especially beneficial to park with a group of food trucks when you are selling something unique and distinct from the others.
Another aspect to finding the best locations for your food truck is obeying the law. You most definitely don’t want to park where you’re not allowed.
Each city has its own regulations and ordinances. For example, in Kansas City, food trucks can’t park within 50 feet of any type or restaurant. They also have to maintain a three-foot passageway for pedestrians.
They also can’t park within one block of a school on a school day during the 30 minutes before starts and after school ends. There are many more rules, but you get the picture. Just Google your city and food truck laws or check here.
Now, let’s get into the real details. We’ve put together a list of some of the best and most successful spots to park your food truck.
Food truck parks have entered the scene, and many food truck owners are taking advantage of these great locations. Consider Bleu Garten in Oklahoma City.
This unique food truck park provides a venue that makes dining comfortable for customers in a sort of urban setting. Customers have clean restrooms, alcohol, shaded seating areas, cooling misters, heaters and light music and theater entertainment. Now this sounds like one prime parking spot.
When parking at food truck parks – a word of caution – don’t park your truck close to another truck selling similar food. Give your truck a fighting chance and park next to trucks where you’ll stand out.
Food trucks are rolling onto campus. Another great location is near a college or university. These young twenty-somethings are always hungry.
Students often seek dining options around the clock, so this is a great location to park your truck.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention street-side parking. While this is a great place to park, you’ll want to check and double check your local regulations to make sure you are in compliance.
Great places to park street-side are the downtown business district, outside shopping centers, near the bar district or around the nightlife.
Lastly, festivals and events are great places to park your trucks. The same suggestions apply here as when we mentioned food parks. Set your truck somewhere where you stand out. Since these types of events necessitate feeding large numbers of people, odds are you’ll be successful.
The rise of the food truck has many chefs jumping into the mobile food industry. If you are thinking about becoming a food truck owner, or you already are one, you know the importance your location is to your success.
You know that where you park your truck is the number one most essential part of your business followed closely by the quality of your food.
Where you park your truck determines your financial success. It can be the difference between five customers and 50. To be successful, you have to be seen. That means finding the best location for your food truck.
This often involves trial and error. And, once you’ve found a prime spot, it involves keeping it. We’ve got two more tips for you:
Be creative and check your local regulations, and you’re sure to quickly build a loyal following.
Do you have a great location to park your food truck? Have you had a consistently great experience in this spot? If so, please share your experience below. We’d love to hear about your best locations for your food truck.