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The United States Census Bureau’s website encouraged everyone to patronize food trucks during the pandemic because of both social distancing rules and, at the time, no indoor seating orders. Yet, even before the pandemic, television shows such as The Great Food Truck Race encouraged talented food lovers around the nation to consider becoming food truck overs.

With its low-cost marketing strategies and their ability to literally get up and move anywhere the market demands, it is no wonder that the food truck business model is more popular than ever. With the overall ease of getting into the food truck business when compared with the start-up capital required to open a restaurant, how to start a business you love in the food truck industry can seem deceptively simple.

Starting a food truck business does not guarantee success. If you plan to expand your business, seek a loan, bring in investors, or simply want to stay one step ahead, you need a food truck business plan.

Although a food truck business plan does not start your business, it helps you determine which actions are the right ones to take for your business both now and in the future. According to a 2002 study published in Management Decision, planning is essential for businesses. A business plan is the most effective tool that a business owner like you has to determine all of your goals, consider the steps you must take to reach your goals, and then working toward those goals.

Read more: Legal Documents Needed to Start a Business

Business Plan for Starting a Food Truck Business

A business plan for a food truck business primarily acts as a road map for how you will run your food truck business now and in the future. With that said, this does not mean that once you create your food truck business plan that you must stick to exactly how it is written for the entirety of the business.

Because this is not a legal document, you can change it as often as necessary so that it reflects the changes in your business as well as your business strategy. Business plans are extremely flexible.

While a business plan might seem like an unnecessary formality because you simply want to do what you love, putting everything in writing will assist you in identifying any potential shortfalls from the outset. These potential problems do not mean that your food truck idea is doomed to failure. On the contrary, knowing that there could be an issue means that you have the opportunity to rectify the matter in advance. You may have the ability to either mitigate the matter so that it isn’t as impactful or prevent it altogether.

Writing a Business Plan for a Food Truck

If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of writing a business plan for a food truck, it’s understandable. This is part of a list of business documents to start a business that can cause anxiety. It seems like both a formal and formidable process.

One of the best opportunities to increase your chance of success is to write a business plan for your food truck. In this section, you will learn what each section of a food truck business plan is for. This will help you feel more confident in writing your own version.

Executive Summary

An executive summary acts as both an introduction to your food truck business plan and a summary of your overall business plan. You want anyone reading it to get an introduction to your food truck business. This is critical if you plan to expand your food truck business in the future or if you need to acquire financial backing from a financial institution.

Remember, though, this is a summary. You do not want or need to go into extreme detail in this part of the business document. You are introducing your business and summarizing what the reader will learn. Keep the executive summary brief, no more than one page. The executive summary should include:

  • The type of food you plan to sell.
  • The key employees that will manage the business or the individuals that will own and operate the business if you do not plan to use employees.
  • The type of business structure you formed or plan to form. For example, you are a single-member LLC or you and your partner formed a partnership.
  • Where and when you plan to operate.
  • A basic marketing plan.
  • The projected costs and anticipated revenue.
  • Future goals for the business.

Company Description

The company description explains the type of food truck you plan to operate. How will your food truck be valuable to the market? In this section, you need to explain why your target market will be interested in you. What sets you apart from other food trucks? How are you different from others? What will people enjoy?

Market Analysis and Marketing

Both market analysis and marketing are important to the food truck business. You must know your market. Are you entering a space that is ready for what you offer? Study the market and write out how you plan to serve them. Identifying your customers and their needs can help set you up for success.

Marketing can be done in a variety of ways, but it is important to get it right. You must be able to get your truck into the right location. This section should include your ideas for marketing such as any farmer’s markets in your area, social media campaigns, corporate events, annual events, and parking lot options.

Ownership, Management and Organization

This section explains how your food truck is owned, managed, and how it is running as an organization. Are you legally formed as an LLC or partnership? How is it managed on a day-to-day basis? Is one person responsible for the bookkeeping and ordering and another person responsible for operations and staffing? Do you have one or more employees who work for you?

Business Operation

In this section, you explain exactly how your food truck business operates. Explaining the responsibilities and how your business operates on a daily business is important for two reasons. First, it can be used by you in the future to create a training manual. Second, if you plan to seek funding, it will help investors or a financial institution better understand how your business operates. Every aspect of business operation must be covered, especially if you are seeking funding now or in the future.

Before Starting Your Business Plan

Before you start writing your food truck business plan, there are some things you should keep in mind about the food truck business.

  1. You need a driver’s license if you’ll be the person operating the vehicle. In many states, you may not be able to purchase the vehicle unless you have a driver’s license.
  2. You need a food handler’s permit. If you plan to hire an employee, your employee will need a food handler’s license.
  3. You will not be exempt from health inspections. Although every state is different, the State of Oklahoma has a Mobile Food division that lists their food handling and inspection requirements. This includes the steps for opening a food truck as well as the State’s Mobile Food Service Regulations.
  4. You will need to have the finances and/or mechanical ability to keep both the food truck and its kitchen in good working order.
  5. You may be subject to annual vehicle inspections depending upon the state in which you choose to operate.

While there is a lot to consider when you want to own a food truck, LawDistrict makes the creation of a food truck business plan simple with our step-by-step template.

Start Your Food Truck Business Plan

Helpful Resources:
Food Trucks: One Way to Eat Out During Pandemic - Census.gov)
Street food and innovation - Emerald Insight
Business plans for new or small businesses - Emerald Insight
Small Business - SBA
Mobile Food Vehicle - OKC

The United States Census Bureau’s website encouraged everyone to patronize food trucks during the pandemic because of both social distancing rules and, at the time, no indoor seating orders. Yet, even before the pandemic, television shows such as The Great Food Truck Race encouraged talented food lovers around the nation to consider becoming food truck overs.

With its low-cost marketing strategies and their ability to literally get up and move anywhere the market demands, it is no wonder that the food truck business model is more popular than ever. With the overall ease of getting into the food truck business when compared with the start-up capital required to open a restaurant, how to start a business you love in the food truck industry can seem deceptively simple.

Starting a food truck business does not guarantee success. If you plan to expand your business, seek a loan, bring in investors, or simply want to stay one step ahead, you need a food truck business plan.

Although a food truck business plan does not start your business, it helps you determine which actions are the right ones to take for your business both now and in the future. According to a 2002 study published in Management Decision, planning is essential for businesses. A business plan is the most effective tool that a business owner like you has to determine all of your goals, consider the steps you must take to reach your goals, and then working toward those goals.

Read more: Legal Documents Needed to Start a Business

Business Plan for Starting a Food Truck Business

A business plan for a food truck business primarily acts as a road map for how you will run your food truck business now and in the future. With that said, this does not mean that once you create your food truck business plan that you must stick to exactly how it is written for the entirety of the business.

Because this is not a legal document, you can change it as often as necessary so that it reflects the changes in your business as well as your business strategy. Business plans are extremely flexible.

While a business plan might seem like an unnecessary formality because you simply want to do what you love, putting everything in writing will assist you in identifying any potential shortfalls from the outset. These potential problems do not mean that your food truck idea is doomed to failure. On the contrary, knowing that there could be an issue means that you have the opportunity to rectify the matter in advance. You may have the ability to either mitigate the matter so that it isn’t as impactful or prevent it altogether.

Writing a Business Plan for a Food Truck

If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of writing a business plan for a food truck, it’s understandable. This is part of a list of business documents to start a business that can cause anxiety. It seems like both a formal and formidable process.

One of the best opportunities to increase your chance of success is to write a business plan for your food truck. In this section, you will learn what each section of a food truck business plan is for. This will help you feel more confident in writing your own version.

Executive Summary

An executive summary acts as both an introduction to your food truck business plan and a summary of your overall business plan. You want anyone reading it to get an introduction to your food truck business. This is critical if you plan to expand your food truck business in the future or if you need to acquire financial backing from a financial institution.

Remember, though, this is a summary. You do not want or need to go into extreme detail in this part of the business document. You are introducing your business and summarizing what the reader will learn. Keep the executive summary brief, no more than one page. The executive summary should include:

  • The type of food you plan to sell.
  • The key employees that will manage the business or the individuals that will own and operate the business if you do not plan to use employees.
  • The type of business structure you formed or plan to form. For example, you are a single-member LLC or you and your partner formed a partnership.
  • Where and when you plan to operate.
  • A basic marketing plan.
  • The projected costs and anticipated revenue.
  • Future goals for the business.

Company Description

The company description explains the type of food truck you plan to operate. How will your food truck be valuable to the market? In this section, you need to explain why your target market will be interested in you. What sets you apart from other food trucks? How are you different from others? What will people enjoy?

Market Analysis and Marketing

Both market analysis and marketing are important to the food truck business. You must know your market. Are you entering a space that is ready for what you offer? Study the market and write out how you plan to serve them. Identifying your customers and their needs can help set you up for success.

Marketing can be done in a variety of ways, but it is important to get it right. You must be able to get your truck into the right location. This section should include your ideas for marketing such as any farmer’s markets in your area, social media campaigns, corporate events, annual events, and parking lot options.

Ownership, Management and Organization

This section explains how your food truck is owned, managed, and how it is running as an organization. Are you legally formed as an LLC or partnership? How is it managed on a day-to-day basis? Is one person responsible for the bookkeeping and ordering and another person responsible for operations and staffing? Do you have one or more employees who work for you?

Business Operation

In this section, you explain exactly how your food truck business operates. Explaining the responsibilities and how your business operates on a daily business is important for two reasons. First, it can be used by you in the future to create a training manual. Second, if you plan to seek funding, it will help investors or a financial institution better understand how your business operates. Every aspect of business operation must be covered, especially if you are seeking funding now or in the future.

Before Starting Your Business Plan

Before you start writing your food truck business plan, there are some things you should keep in mind about the food truck business.

  1. You need a driver’s license if you’ll be the person operating the vehicle. In many states, you may not be able to purchase the vehicle unless you have a driver’s license.
  2. You need a food handler’s permit. If you plan to hire an employee, your employee will need a food handler’s license.
  3. You will not be exempt from health inspections. Although every state is different, the State of Oklahoma has a Mobile Food division that lists their food handling and inspection requirements. This includes the steps for opening a food truck as well as the State’s Mobile Food Service Regulations.
  4. You will need to have the finances and/or mechanical ability to keep both the food truck and its kitchen in good working order.
  5. You may be subject to annual vehicle inspections depending upon the state in which you choose to operate.

While there is a lot to consider when you want to own a food truck, LawDistrict makes the creation of a food truck business plan simple with our step-by-step template.

Start Your Food Truck Business Plan

Helpful Resources:
Food Trucks: One Way to Eat Out During Pandemic - Census.gov)
Street food and innovation - Emerald Insight
Business plans for new or small businesses - Emerald Insight
Small Business - SBA
Mobile Food Vehicle - OKC