Food trucks have exploded in popularity over the past ten years as more people have become food enthusiasts. Unlike a traditional restaurant, a food truck is a relatively low cost way for an entrepreneur to enter the food and beverage business. Most importantly, these businesses reduce their operating risk by being able to travel to different locations on an ongoing basis. Many food trucks generate substantial revenues by attending events that showcase a broad array of cuisine to event-goers.
Currently, nearly $2 billion of revenue is generated each year among food trucks. This represents less than 1% of all revenues generated from food and beverage businesses within the United States. It should be noted that this figure only includes businesses that operate in a mobile capacity only and does not include restaurants that operate food trucks as part of an overall brick-and-mortar operation.
Over the past five years, the industry has grown by nearly 525%. This trend is expected to continue in perpetuity given the low start up costs and low barriers to entry. One of the common trends within this industry is to maintain an expansive presence on the internet via a proprietary website as well as through a number of social media platforms. Many food truck entrepreneurs update their social media pages (FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram) with the general location of the vehicle on a daily basis. Some companies have taken to integrating GPS tracking functionality so that a potential customer can quickly drive to the food truck’s parked location for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
One of the other major trends among food trucks is to develop applications that allow for users to receive push notifications when they are nearby a food truck that they enjoy. This type of functionality is typically reserved for food trucks that have already developed an expansive fan base. Generally, the cost of developing this application ranges from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the level of functionality integrated into the platform.
An additional major driver of expanded functionality among food truck companies is to provide large scale onsite catering. This is method of growth is popular among food truck companies that specialize in general fare such as BBQ. Major restaurants that offer onsite catering services will frequently use a food truck styled vehicle in order to carry out these types of operations.
Competition within the food truck industry is growing substantially, and the industry grows at an average rate of 5% (which is substantially higher than general economic growth). The growth of the industry is primarily attributed to a resurgence in interest of unique foods among the general public (with many televised programs created to showcase this aspect of the food/beverage industry). Even major celebrity chefs have shown a substantial interest in food trucks.
Overall, a food truck is a strong way for an aspiring restaurateur to enter the food and beverage industry while maintaining a low overhead and low risk for their venue.