Please Share this Post
Food trucks business in India is an excellent start up for entrepreneurs who are looking to start a low cost business with minimum investment and maximum returns.
India is a growing economy with huge numbers of young working professionals in both cities and towns of India. These young dynamic people with higher purchasing power and craving for fast food have greatly pushed up the demand for fast foods in India particularly food items like Pizza’s, Chinese food, Indian Snacks, Sandwiches, Wraps, Rolls, Fry or fries etc. The current fast food market in India is soaring at a whooping $27 billion dollars and growing at CAGR of 24%.
Here is 10 Step Guide for you to start a food Truck business in India or elsewhere.
1. START WITH RESEARCHING YOUR BUSINESS
1.1) What is a Food truck business?
A food truck business is a large mobile restaurant unit setup on a truck, van or cart equipped with facilities to cook and sell, freshly prepared meals to customers on demand.
Food trucks business is a cash and carry business which primarily deal in cash transactions and usually no credit is allowed. The business model is based on the principle of ‘Economics of Scale’.
The main advantage of a food truck business is its ability to move from one location to another wherever there is higher customer demand.
Most entrepreneurs decide to start a food truck business as it is quite easy to setup and it is low cost business idea.
Next, we look into how to identify a need in the market and create a business around it.
1.2) How to Identify what food to sell on food truck?
Finding the right food items to sell on food trucks is extremely vital for the success of your food truck. Thus, you would be needed to do some extensive market research in your surrounding localities to see what sell fast? And what does not sell at all? Choosing the wrong products to sell is a costly mistake which most new food truck owners make leading to closure of business.
Begin with analysing your competitors to see what food items do they sell? And focus on their product performances.
Talk to local people to understand their needs and preferences ask for their pain points while ordering foods from other business whether it’s their taste, pricing, delivery, waiting time, convenience or any other bottleneck they may have which you can improve on to differentiate your business.
Keep experimenting with different cuisines and food items and take customer feedbacks to include and exclude items from menu which does not suit your business.
Remember, that customers always prefer to purchase things which will save their time, money and energy.
Here is the list of some of the most popular fast food items sold widely across India in high volumes on food truck, kiosks or stalls.
1.3) How to choose the right Location for your food truck business?
The success of any food truck business critically depends on choosing the right locations. A perfect location of your food truck can deliver you big profits.
Eye couple of good spots is your locality which are usually crowded like public parks, business streets, offices, schools, colleges, tourist spots etc.
Check if there are any designated food parks or food zones within your city which allows you to run your food truck business easily.
Choose a location which is easy and convenient for customers to spot and sight. Remember, Out of sight is out of Business!
Always check with local parking laws and zoning laws.
Check locally whether the spot you have chosen for your food truck falls under any prohibitions for parking or conducting business. Acquire all the necessary parking permits needed to park your food truck.
1.4) How to choose the right commercial vehicle or van for your food truck business?
A food truck is a commercial vehicle which is licensed for the purpose of use in commercial activities. Choose food van which fits your needs perfectly and is economical to buy or lease.
In, India TATA Ace, Mahindra Bolero Maxi truck, Ashok Leyland Dost Plus are some of the popular vans used for all kind of commercial use including food trucks. You can get the trailer designed and manufactured from third party food trailer manufacturers.
Here are 5 things you should consider when buying or leasing a food truck.
- Choose a light to a medium size commercial truck or van which can handle heavy loads and has an adjustable chassis to fit different kind of kitchen trailers.
- The size of your food truck should be within the permissible limits allowed by local authorities. Small to medium size trucks are preferred as it easily parks on busy streets.
- Choose a vehicle which is fuel efficient. A truck or van with good mileage will save you bucks on every trip as you may have to move across different locations.
- Get the food trailer designed from a reputed manufacturer and check for safety and quality of the materials used for building the trailer.
- Install all fire safety measures from alarms to extinguishers.
Next, we look how to design your food truck to look different and attract customers.
2. START DESIGING YOUR FOOD TRUCK?
2.1) Choosing the right Food Truck Design and layouts.
Take time to design your food truck trailer layouts seek professional help if you do not have the expertise. Designing a layout is crucial to fully optimise the space available in your food truck. Search the internet for common food truck designs and make required changes to the layout that suits on your requirements.
Consider the food truck template design below to get a fair understanding of how to design the trailer layout. You can use this template as base to design your own custom layout.
You can hire a consultant who can help you in design and manufacturing of your food trailer as per your specified layouts and dimensions. There are few companies who also sell readymade Food Trucks with standard designs check them to see if it fits your need.
2.2) Design an attractive Menu card for your food truck
Designs and graphics are an important element in designing a food truck a well decorated food truck is the first things clients see when they come to the restaurant.
Your Menu card is the first impression you create on your customer. A well thought out menu with clear navigation is important for clear understanding.
Design an Eye catching menu card with patterns, layouts and color’s. Use h1, h2, h3 tags to highlight selections. Use images and vector graphics wherever possible.
Design the menu is logical pattern for easy navigation. Segregate items according to their categories and do not overload to many texts on single page as it may look clumsy and confusing.
Use Clear and Bold fonts for pricing details as you do not want customers to get confused. Scan a few menu layouts for on internet to see what suits your style.
2.3) Designing a Logo and Banner
Logo and Banner are very important marketing and advertising tool for your food truck business. Logo helps in brand recall and differentiate your business from the rest of the competitions. A cool graphic can definitely increase the appeal of your business and make you look more professional.
Designing a Logo with a particular theme in mind it should convey a clear message to the customer use a logo designing software for better results.
Use illustrations, vector image, bright colours and Text to design the logo.
Use a catchy tagline alongside the logo because people recall Brands from their taglines.
Create a banner for your business which is large and clearly readable Text and fonts. Use background colours and illustration which compliment the design of your food tuck
Seek help of a professional graphic designer if you think you do not have the required designing skills.
2.4) Staff Uniforms and general appearances
Uniform as the word says is to ensure uniformity. The purpose of the uniform is for customers to easily identify the staff. If owners and staff wear the same uniform it helps in creating an amicable working environment and helps in team building.
Design a uniform which easily gels in with theme of your food truck. Keep it simple, loosely fit with engraved logo on shirts for clean and formal business look it will make you appear authentic and professional.
3. WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN FOR FOOD TRUCK BUISNESS?
When launching your food truck business, you should develop a business plan. A business plan provides a road map to your business to achieve all the objectives and goals of your business. A plan should be written in simple and plain language and should include all the details of business its goals and future plans. You should follow details of the business plan stepwise to attain desired success.
A business plan is an extensive document which consists of a lot of details, reports and plans. However, here are the 6 important components of business plan which you should include in your plan.
- Company Descriptions
- Financial plan
- Product Plan
- Marketing Plan
- Sales Projections
- Scalability and future plans
4. LICENSES & PERMISSIONS TO START A FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS?
Unlike some other western countries in India there are no clear laws and regulation for food truck business. However, you can still run the food truck business in India by obtaining all the licenses needed for a restaurant business. These licenses and permits will help you run your business legally and hassle free. It is highly advisable to visit the local Municipal corporation and District industrial centre (DIC) to gather the full list of documentation and licensing required to run a food business locally.
Here is the list of common licenses you should need to obtain before commencing your food truck business anywhere in India.
FSSAI Certificate (The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India)
This is a mandatory certification for any food business in India involved in sales of food products for profits or non-profit. FSSAI registration is must before start up of any food business in India.
GST (Goods and Services tax) registration
GST is a tax which combines numerous indirect taxes charged by Central and State governments. GST is a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India.
New businesses in India are registered at the Registrar of Companies (which is under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs or MCA). To register a private or LLP Company, you can either approach CA, CS or Agencies which specialise in this field.
Municipal Trade License
A trade license is a mandatory certification issued by the local municipal corporation to applicants conducting trade at a particular location within its jurisdictions.
Fire Safety License (NOC)
Fire Safety License cum Non objection certificate is Issued by the local fire department after they have examined your Food truck or Food Van for all the fire safety measures and fire suppression arrangements.
Traffic department (RTO NOC)
The food truck operators are also required to register with Road Transport office (RTO) and obtain a non-objection certificate for parking their vehicles on road sides.
Remember this is not an exhaustive list and you may be required to obtain additional licenses and permissions subjected to your locality.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ
5. COST OF SETTING UP FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS IN INDIA?
How much capital is required for setting up food truck in India?
The cost of setting up a basic food tuck in India can range between ₹ 2 Lakh to ₹4 Lakh for a simple basic business. An advanced setup with commercial grade equipment’s like cooking range, Cold storage, Oven, Griller, fryers etc. with 2 to 3 staff and large enough Vehicle will cost your food truck in the range of ₹8 lakh to ₹12 Lakh.
Let’s look at the start-up breakup for both low investments start up and High investment food truck start up.
5.1) Starting a Food Truck business with low investments.
Below is the breakup of startup cost for starting a small food van with low investment.
5.2) Starting a Food truck business with higher investments.
Below is the breakup of startup cost for starting a Food Truck business with high investment.
5.3) How to fund your Food Truck Business?
Funding your own business is a big hurdle for many entrepreneurs. The best advice is to explore all the options available at your disposal. There are many good ways of obtaining funds for your Food truck business. Here is list of some good self-funding options.
- 1. Self-Funding (Bootstrapping): Self Funding is the simplest and the quickest form of funding your business out of your personal savings.
- 2. Friends and Families: You can borrow money in the form of loan from friends and families. Generally, it the second easiest method to fund your business after self funding.
- 3. Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is publicly seeking finances from online community to invest in your business. Such funding could be short-term or long-term depending on your business goals.
- 4. Business Loan from Bank’s: Another traditional way of financing your business is through bank loans. You can approach different banks to search for lower interest and collateral free loans.
- 5. Angel Investments: An angel investor are wealthy individuals who infuse capital for early business start-up, usually in exchange equity i.e, part ownership rights of the business.
6. EQUIPMENTS NEEDED FOR FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS?
The type of equipment’s needed for food truck business will totally depends on the kind of menu you want to serve. If you would serve hot meal like Chinese Food, Burgers, Wraps and Rolls you would need equipment’s like Burner range, Fryers, Hot plate etc. For Cold serving like Juices, Ice-creams, Shakes etc. you would need a Deep freezers, Refrigerator, Ice Machines etc.
Below is the list of some of the most common Equipment’s needed for food truck business.
- BURNER RANGE: These are simple Kitchen Stoves with 3 to 4 burners designed for the purpose of commercial cooking.
- FRYERS: These are great options for deep fried items like French fries, Chicken lollipops etc.
- DEEP FREZEERS / REFRIGERATORS: Deep freezers and refrigerators are must for any food business to store items needing refrigeration and increase shelf life of perishable items.
- OVENS: Ovens are must for baking. If pizzas, cakes and cookies are your stuff then you would need a good commercial grade conventional oven.
- GRILLERS: For grilling sandwiches and other grilled items.
- KITCHEN VENTILATORS: Ventilations hoods are necessary component for commercial kitchens. It is important for both the kitchen staff and customers to vent out the smoke properly.
- FIRE FIGHTING SYSTEMS: Fire suppressions systems are important to install in kitchen to prevent any fire accident that may occur in kitchens. Fire suppressor are also needed to secure permissions from FIRE DEPARTMENT.
- POS / BILLERS: Point of sale systems is a hardware and software combo used to record sales and transactions on the billing counter. It can also be equipped with an electronic cash register.
Next, we look at how to hire a good staff for your food truck.
7. HIRE THE RIGHT STAFF FOR YOUR FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS?
For any business choosing the right staff is very crucial. Good employees are the real wheels of any business who propels your business faster and in right directions. Choosing a great staff can be daunting task especially if you are hiring for the first time. The Success of your food truck business squarely rides on your decision to hire good cooks and chefs. Remember, that if customer is the king, then taste is the crown of the king in any food related business. Build a team of employees who share your vision and are willing to put in hard work to realise your goals.
Here are few things you should consider when making first time hiring.
7.1) Understand your requirements.
Begin by first analysing what is it that you are looking for when hiring your staff’s. Whether you need Chefs or Cooks or both. How many helpers, servers, delivery boys and counter staff do you need. Hire staff in the field where your own expertise is either limited or none. Chalk out a hiring plan to have a clear idea of whom to hire, how much to pay and what role to assign to the newly recruits.
7.2) Check for Skills
Before hiring any candidate, it is important to assess them for their skills. Conduct a preliminary assessment by taking a live demo of their work. Check for their previous work experiences, certification, test their knowledge about food industry etc. Choose the cooking staff on the basis of culinary skills and counter staff for their communication skills.
7.3) Consider Experience
Choose an experienced staff to boost your business. An experienced staff can increase productivity, reduce wastage and process food orders faster thus saving you time and money. However, remember that good experienced staff come with an expensive price tag. Analyse your budget and see which area of your business needs experienced staff and which areas can do with rookies.
Next, we look how to build brand of your food truck business and stand apart from the competitions.
8. BUILDING YOUR OWN FOOD TRUCK BRAND?
Branding is all about a positive portrayal of your business image through various mediums and channels. A Brand logo, Advertising Graphics, Facebook Page, Instagram Feeds, Face of your brand and promotional activities are some of the popular mediums through which you can project positivity and build trust among your customer base.
Brand building is a never to end exercise. Branding is the process of building a positive characteristic of your business and long lasting perceptions in the minds of consumers.
Create a success story of your food truck business and share with peoples on social media. Post images on social platforms of new menu’s. Interact with customers and encourage them to try new items by offering combo packages. Periodically run promotional codes and coupons. Give away freebies and goodies to new customers and also have loyalty programs for faithful customers.
Your Food truck should stand out from rest of competitions either aesthetically or in terms of your Menu or fast service. Position your Food Truck business as a unique and trusted brand that offers great value for money. Engage your customers to connect with your Brand by actively running polls, quizzes and competitions. Reward regular customers with periodic discounts, referral fees and cash backs.
Join local philanthropic causes like awareness programs, environmental campaigns, blood donation drives and other social causes etc. to increase brand visibility and build trust.
Next, we look in to how to create a marketing plan for your food truck business.
9. MARKETING YOUR FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS?
Creating a strong marketing plan for your food truck business is an important element of business promotions. Especially in this competitive environment, it is important for small businesses to design marketing strategies. Be creative and innovative in your marketing strategies. Your marketing techniques should be a collection of good old fashioned traditional marketing and new age digital marketing.
9.1) Offline Marketing
Advertise in local newspaper and food magazines.
Print flyers, handouts and distribute locally near schools, colleges, parks and work places.
Create a word of mouth by inviting food bloggers and reviewers and let them speak about your business.
Display billboards on roads, highways and busy streets. Contact local radio to run brand awareness campaign.
9.2) Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is an online campaign that take place in digital space, such as social media, Online advertising placements, content marketing, and email marketing. Digital or online marketing is the new age of marketing with limitless opportunities as traditional marketing has various limitations. Digital marketing offers higher level of customer engagement and interaction.
Here are some key arears one need to target in digital marketing while promoting your business
- Social media
- SEO keyword ranking
- Website / Blog
- Community building
- Email marketing
- PPC Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
Seek help from digital marketing expert or an advertising agency.
10) SAFETY AND QUALITY CONTROL OF THE FOOD TRUCK
Managing the safety and health of your staff and customers should be the number one priority of the business. Make sure your Food truck business follows a culture of customer safety as priority. Health is a sensitive issue, make sure that the food you serve is 100% safe to consume for your customers. Completely avoid use of adulterated or expired food products that can be safety hazard.
Any lapses or neglect in the customers safety on premise or in the quality of the food served could result in ill health or accidents of customers or staff members which could draw you in lengthy legal battles resulting in loss of reputation, penalties and even jail terms.
Here are the few things to look for when managing the safety and health of your customers and staff.
10.1)Training your workforce.
Training your workforce to maintain safety across the board is the easiest and the most cost effective method of all. Train your cooking staff to follow safety practises while working in kitchen like handling stoves, hot pans and utensils, storage and disposal of flammable items. Also train your staff in handling fire suppressing equipment like fire extinguishers, sprinklers, hydrants etc. Keep emergency number handy and quickly raise alarm in case of smoke detection and alert local firefighting department.
10.2) Identify hazards and risks
Maintain kitchen hygiene and regularly check your electrical equipment and stoves for build-up of grease and oil. Regularly check you cooking range for any gas leaks. All combustible items like oils, gasoline or other inflammable items should be properly stored away from any source of fire.
10.3) Food quality control
Make sure you use best quality raw materials for making food.
Avoid use of expired and adulterated food items in your food truck.
Food items stored in freezers for later use should be properly sealed to avoid any cross contamination of foods items.
Food items nearing expiry should be used first or disposed as early as possible.
Maintain personal hygiene when handling foods like using gloves, hats, masks etc. wherever needed.
Avoid serving stale and rotten foods to customers at all cost.
Maintain a quality standard in food across menu and never compromise on the quality of food served to customers.
10.4) Firefighting system, Alarms, Medical kit, Emergency no
Make sure your Food Truck is fully compliant with fire safety protocols. Install firefighting systems, fire alarms and other safety measures. Keep a first aid medical kit in accessible area. Print the list of emergency number and stick it in area where it is clearly visible.
10.5) Insure your business
Safeguard your Food Truck business with fire, theft and other business insurances for the right amount so that in case of any catastrophe or adverse events your business is covered by insurances and you won’t run in huge losses and incur Liabilities.
Below are 5 tips for your food truck business we gathered directly speaking with Food truck owners.
Be real and set realistic attainable goals and objectives if not then you are sure to disappoint yourself.
Do not have high expectation of revenue and profits from a newly opened Food truck business which is barely a few weeks old. It takes time and patience to see real money coming into business.
Don’t be fooled by all the stories you heard of rags to riches it doesn’t happen overnight.
Be ready to work your ass out and put in hard yards specially in the initial’s stages of the business.
Have passion and stay motivated when the situations become tougher by the day.
2. Control supplies and inventory
Manage your inventory efficiently. Use inventory management software to have real time status of your stocks.
Keep track of supplies so that you are never running short on important groceries. Order in advance and schedule purchases of important items which run out quickly.
Talk to suppliers discreetly and bargain hard on pricing of items when making bulk purchases. Always insist to the suppliers to give you a line of credit.
Control your inventories to stay at optimal level all the time so that you are not running dry on some days while overflowing with goods on other days.
3. Flow and stay updated
Change is eminent, so keep learning and changing with the change in the mood of the market.
Stay updated for latest trends in the markets and keep an eye on your competitions to monitor their progress.
Flow with the time and be flexible to incorporate changes in the style of business you do if the situation may so arise due to changing market forces.
Few businesses survive if they fail to innovate. Be innovative in product design or packaging.
Search for innovative ways for marketing your business to the masses and increase visibility.
Innovation with Food truck designs experiments with various colours and graphics combos to see what works best for your business.
Be creative and innovative with food. Design new Menu items on regular basis which is both unique and appealing.
5. Control Cost
People are always price sensitive so price your menu accordingly. You would not want to price your food disproportionately.
Always limit your spending by cutting down on unnecessary expenses specially during early days of the business to control the cost.
Try to keep the operational cost of the business at the optimal range to keep business cost down.
Seek professional help whenever needed to avoid pitfalls and mistakes when dealing with taxes and filing returns.
Now that you have all the information needed to start a successful food truck business hope you jump start your business ASAP!. Food industry is a lucrative sector with great returns on investments if managed wisely and smartly. Food truck is a good low cost solution and great alternative then to start a full service restaurant which is both capital intensive and riskier business.
Please Share this Post