Pay attention to the rules of the road to avoid parking issues with your food truck.
Congratulations on your food truck. You’re ready to wow your customers with your delicious food and your cleverly designed truck.
While you may know about a few prime locations to park your food truck, do you know what places to avoid?
In this article, we look at seven places you should never park your food truck.
Don’t Park Here
Each town, city and county has specific zoning regulations, and it’s important for you to know what they are. For example, you want to learn about the commercial and non-commercial zones of your city.
Even though you are mobile, unlike the brick-and-mortar restaurant, there are limits to where you can park. (tweet this)
Here are seven places you should never park your food truck:
- Don’t park in “no parking” zones. Pay attention to the posted signs and obey the parking restrictions in regards to stopping, loading and parking.
- Don’t park in a food truck park if you haven’t paid to lease the spot. This is a quick way to get a fine and earn the anger of other food truck owners.
- Your food truck service window shouldn’t be facing the street, and you should always park your truck facing the sidewalk side. Not only are you likely to break the law, but you want to keep your customers safe by offering your food facing the sidewalk side of the street.
- Check your city’s laws for restrictions, but you should never park your food truck outside a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Why? You might be breaking the law, and it’s not using the best judgement. Many cities require you to park a specific distance away from a restaurant (500-600 feet is normal).
- Never park your food truck on private property without the owner’s permission.
- You also want to check your city’s metered parking rules. Some cities prohibit food trucks from parking in metered spaces, while others allow it with some restrictions.
- Finally, you should never park your food truck near a fire hydrant, bus stop or cross-walk.
Now that you know the seven places you should never park your food truck, let’s look at some of the places you should park your truck.
Do Park Here
You’ll find that the ideal location for your food truck depends in part on your menu, your city and the traffic in the area. (tweet this)
Generally speaking though, these are the top four spots to park your food truck:
- Park on the street outside large office buildings, the downtown area, schools, parks, bars and shopping centers. Think about your target customers to decide which street to park your truck on.
- Food truck parks can be ideal. While it seems counter-intuitive to park amidst your competitors, this can be a good marketing strategy. Whether it’s a permanent food truck park or one at an event, you’ll find that customers like to sample food from many food trucks. Be sure that your truck and your menu stand out to attract a crowd.
- Park at a festival or event. This is a great way to boost your audience and gain a following for your food truck.
- Set up at a business or office park. Office workers are always on the lookout for something new and interesting to eat.
We’ve looked at where not to park, and we’ve discussed some places to park, now let’s look at one of the most difficult tasks associated with food truck parking – parallel parking.
Park with your service window facing the sidewalk and away from traffic.
Parallel Parking Tricks
Parallel parking a food truck challenges even the best drivers. Yet, it’s a vital skill, especially if you are parking your truck in a busy metropolitan city, or even a small tourist town.
Parallel parking your truck means fitting it in-between two already parked vehicles on the street. You have to back in which makes parking the oversize vehicle quite challenging.
Check out these tips for easy parallel parking:
- Check your mirrors to make make sure there isn’t any oncoming traffic.
- Turn on your signal, indicating you are getting ready to park.
- Stop your truck next to the vehicle that is parked in front of the spot you want to squeeze into.
- Leave two-three feet between your food truck and the vehicle parallel to you.
- Check your mirrors again and start backing up slowly.
- Turn your wheel towards the curb.
- Once you are halfway into the space, turn your wheel back in the opposite direction to line up your food truck with the curb.
- If you hit the curb, don’t worry. Go forward and leave the parking space. Start again, making sure to start turning your wheel earlier to line up your truck with the sidewalk.
- If you’ve made it into the space – terrific. Now, adjust your position either to the front or to the back to make sure you are evenly lined up with the vehicles in front of you and behind.
- Check to see if your truck is about six-eight inches from the curb and parallel to it.
- Set your parking brake, and get ready to serve your customers.
Parallel parking your food truck takes patience and practice. Spend some time on side streets before you hit a busy downtown area to get a feel for the size of your truck before parking at a high-stress time.
It’s a good idea to have another person around when trying to parallel park to indicate if you are on the right track or not and advise you of oncoming traffic.
With the food industry estimated to be worth more than 985 million dollars by 2019, the competition is fierce.
To be successful, you not only have to have a great truck and delicious food, but you have to stay on top of the regulations to stay out of trouble.
Every city has specific rules, and you want to familiarize yourself with them before parking your food truck.
You can usually find all the information you need from your city or county clerk’s office.
Use your common sense and pay attention to posted parking signs and the rules of the road, and you should be able to avoid the seven places you should never park your food truck.
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floridagirlindc via Visualhunt / CC BY and Roman Kraft