If you have been searching for how to start a food truck business in Florida, then this article is for you. With the choking expenses involved in owning a restaurant in the Sunshine State, a food enthusiast with an entrepreneurial tingling may want to consider the rewarding idea of a food truck business.
The food truck business has grown to become one of the most popular across the world, gaining massive demand in Florida.
The tourist-friendly State is a potentially feasible location for a food truck business resulting from the epic inflow of sightseers from different continents of the world all year round.
Research shows that approximately 122 million tourists visited Florida in 2021, owing to the recovery from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
This article covers what you need to know before you begin and how to kick-start your food truck business in the Sunshine State.
You may be encumbered with deciding on whether to begin a mobile or static food business in Florida. Why should I be in a truck all day when I could get a beautiful place to serve my potential customers? The reasons for the former are clear.
- Low investment
- Low operational and staffing costs
- Pocket-friendliness to customers
- Ease of advertisement
- Location experiment
As practicable as the food truck business is in Florida, it may fail for many reasons ranging from the wrong purpose to poor planning and execution. So, it is not enough to know how to start a food truck business in Florida, there are other things you must consider.
People start their food truck business for several reasons including but not limited to the following:
- Boredom from current job
- Freedom from daily work routine
- The flexibility of working hours
- Need to meet a demand
- Need to upgrade the standard of living
While these reasons are relatively considerable, some are stronger than others to face whatever lies ahead on your journey.
Before you consider making plans on how to start a food truck business in Florida for any of the reasons above, ask yourself the following questions, and in your best interest, answer them sincerely.
- Why do you want to start your business?
- Do you have the required skill set for the business?
- Do you have the physical strength to handle the schedule and workload?
- Are you emotionally strong to withstand the pressure?
- Can you bear a temporary fluctuation in your standard of living?
- Can you afford to lose your savings if your business fails?
How to Start a Food Truck Business in Florida
If you have responded to these questions and you are sure you are up to the task, then you can commence with planning. Here’s how to start a food truck business in Florida:
Preparing a Business Plan
The first step on how to start a food truck business in Florida is preparing a business plan. The saying ‘failure to plan is planning to fail’ applies to practically everything in life including a food truck business. A business plan helps you to know and focus on the specific steps necessary for the success of your business, both in the short and long term. Your business plan will highlight:
- An executive summary of your business with its vision and goals
- An in-depth description including the name and niche of your business
- The cost involved in starting up your food truck business, how you want to raise funds, and how the funds will be spent.
- Potential sales and marketing ideas such as advertisement, and dealing with competitors through cooking and dishing styles.
- Setting prices for your food
- Business entity analysis
- How your menu will attract customers while competing with the items on the menu of your closest competitors and solving a market problem?
- Financial projection showing how much money your business will make in the short and long runs.
- Type of equipment you need.
Finding a Niche
The second step on how to start a food truck business in Florida is choosing a niche. Owning a food truck business in a tourist-friendly environment means your intending customers may be people from different continents of the world, some of whom would do anything to find their local food in a foreign country. This gives you so many options to choose from, both for local and international dishes.
However, before you choose a niche, you need to consider where you want to situate your truck. This means you need to research your local area. You should know your local market before you invest your time, effort, and money. How do you do this? By doing your research and gathering facts. You need to know where you want to start your business.
Through your research, you will find out:
- If your product will satisfy an unfilled need of your potential customers
- If the demand for your product exceeds the current supply.
- The kinds of food trucks that are already there and the potential places around the area that need one.
- Your potential competitors, how much they make, and how they promote their trucks
- The feasibility of your business in the area.
- You should also consider choosing a niche that stands out to avoid adding to the already excess supply of some dishes in the area.
Financing Your Business
To take your business from the point of ideation to reality, you need money. Your business idea needs financing. Starting a food truck is not as expensive as starting a restaurant, therefore, you can start your business with your savings.
If this is not the case for you, you can get funding for your business by inviting investors, borrowing money from private lenders, or applying for a bank loan. Your business plan needs to be compelling if you want to fund your food truck business externally.
You may also want to consider an affiliation with an established local restaurant yet to have a food truck. The restaurant can use your food truck as an extension and invest in your business. This way, it will be easier for you to enter the market.
With the experience you tend to gain through this, you can easily stand on your own after a while. Not only will you find your way easily but funding will not be a problem as banks will be willing to offer a loan to an experienced food truck business owner.
Start-Up Costs For Your Food Truck Business
Your plans on how to start a food truck business in Florida won’t be complete without considering costs. After you have raised funds, it’s high time you got into the business. The start-up costs for your business are split into categories including equipment, license, permit, and operational costs.
Food Truck And Equipment Costs
There cannot be a food truck business without a truck. A food truck is the most basic and primary instrument for your business. It is also one of the important costs to consider when making a business plan.
First, you have to decide on whether you want to purchase your food truck or rent one. A fully furnished food truck costs between $50, 000 to $100, 000. However, for a brand-new customized food truck, with built-in kitchens, you should be ready to pay up to $200, 000.
If you purchase a cheap truck for your business, you will have to set up the kitchen yourself. It is advisable to purchase a used food truck to save yourself the stress and cost of refurbishing a new truck.
If you decide to rent one instead, you will pay about $3,000 for each month, depending on the period of the lease.
You can check out Orlando Food Truck Rental, Mobi Munch, Tampa Bay Food Trucks, Roaming Hunger, or other companies that rent out food trucks for short and long periods.
On the other hand, the pieces of equipment you get for your food truck are dependent on the food you want to sell. However, appliances and utensils for cooking and serving including fryers, ovens, pots, pans, spoons, forks, knives, grills, refrigerators, and storage containers are common to find in a food truck. These items cost a few thousand dollars to purchase.
At the start of your business, you may decide to lease rather than purchase appliances for your food truck. This way, you can cover other necessary costs and raise more money till you can get more items for your truck.
While serving items cost for a startup food truck is around $300, adding the cost of ingredients such as cooking oil and spices will cost around $1000 to $2000.
License and Permit Costs
According to the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s Food Truck Business Index, an entrepreneur spends an average of $28,276 on permits, licenses, and legal compliance at the start of their business.
For a food truck business, administrative, vehicle requirements, zoning, employment, and food, menu, and health safety are the required categories of permits and licenses.
The costs of these licenses and permits also depend on the location of your business.
Florida, just like many other states made it compulsory for a food truck business to have a commissary. Electrical power, water supply, parking space, and other amenities for running and maintaining a mobile food business are covered here. You will pay around $700 to $1,900 as the operational cost of your business depending on the availability of services.
Operational costs will differ if you intend to sell prepackaged foods such as snacks and sweets.
These costs and the hiring and payment of staff should be considered before you price your food if you want to make a profit in your food truck business.
The costs listed above are unavoidable in starting your food truck business, however, some of them can be minimized. To reduce start-up costs for a food truck, consider the following:
- Buy or Rent Used Equipment: You do not have to buy all new and expensive equipment for your truck from the start. Even your truck does not have to be new. Cut costs by getting used or rented equipment until you are sure you need new ones. You will be surprised to see that you do will do just fine with what you have.
- Advertise Through Social Media Platforms: For a new business, using the traditional advertising method may be expensive. In place of this, consider growing your audience and getting customers through social media platforms which costs way lesser. You can disclose what you sell and your working hours on your status, timeline or page.
- Compare Prices Of Vendors: Just like you would for your grocery shopping, compare the prices of vendors for the best offers while ensuring you choose quality items.
- Employ Your Loved Ones: If you cannot do everything around the truck by yourself, staff your family and friends. Let them help you temporarily till you get your footing. Doing this will also help you to know the number of people you need in your truck and when you can hire some.
- Start In A Price-Friendly: You may want to start your food truck in an environment where prices of items and equipment are not on the high side if you are not constrained location. You should consider starting your business in a city with low regulatory fees.
With the financial aspect of your business settled, the last step on how to start a food truck business in Florida is to legalize your food truck.
First, your business needs a name and a legal structure or business entity. You need to decide whether you want to run your food truck business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, or corporation. If you will be running a partnership, you should include how much your partner(s) will own.
Many opt for a corporation or an LLC because as against the case in sole proprietorship and partnership, the first two allow you to separate your personal expenses from your business. This means whatever debt or liability you incur in your business will not be taken from your personal account.
Next, you need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) which will enable you to open a business bank account, pay taxes, and issue receipts of payment.
You also need to apply for licenses and permits. Food trucks in Florida are required to obtain a general business license as well as a food permit, and a mobile food establishment permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. A fire safety inspection certificate from your city’s fire department and insurance is also necessary.
You must also obtain a food truck site permit. Without this certificate, you cannot operate your business.
Other legal requirements may apply to your food truck based on the type of food processed and sold.
Conclusion on how to start a food truck business in Florida
Nothing is more exciting than being your boss and setting your hours with just a few months of preparation; owning a food truck business comes with these privileges.
However, like every other business, a food truck business requires hard work and commitment. The most important thing is to see it through while being armed with the necessary dollar bills. Do you consider this article on how to start a food truck business in Florida useful? Please let us know.