How often do you enjoy snack time by a mobile food van? Mobile food vendors have gained quite popularity in our lives over the years. As per the National Restaurant Association of the USA, in 2017, mobile food vendors generated a revenue of about $2.7 billion.
Being a mobile food vendor has its advantages, the biggest being its mobility and flexibility of accessing clients in any location. Furthermore, setting up a mobile food truck costs far less than setting up a restaurant. Since it has less establishment cost and less involvement of salaries, you can prepare a menu at a reasonable price, thus attracting more customers.
Starting your food truck is a profitable business opportunity in India. If you have recipes for delicious snack items and know how to cook, all you need is a food truck to begin your business.
Becoming a Mobile Food Vendor in India in 8 Easy Steps:
Are you looking for a guideline to initiate your mobile food truck? We can draw the roadmap for you in 8 steps.
1. Choice of the Right Vehicle:
To run a business as a mobile food vendor, the first thing you need to procure is a food van or truck for commercial use. In general, people serve fast food, Italian, Chinese, Lebanese, or Kebabs and Biryani in a mobile food truck. What equipment you need and the type of van you need for the business depends on your food menu.
Ideally, a mobile food vendor requires a new 18-feet long food truck for the business. Such trucks have a starting price of Rs. 7-8 lakhs. If you are short on starting budget, choose an old truck for half the price and renovate it a little. However, you should check for below in an old van-
- Insurance papers
- Receipts for Road Tax
- Car Registration
- Fitness Certification
- The car should never be more than 5-years old
2. Deciding on the Right location to Set the Truck:
Though you can drive along whenever needed with a mobile food truck, you need a steady location to open the mobile restaurant. The frequent relocation of a mobile food van is a spoiler for building your reputation. You need to stay in a particular spot for a considerable amount of time for people to know your menu and spread the word. Hence comes the need to find the right location for the truck.
Here are some tips for choosing a location-
- Look for a place with less competition of vendors serving similar food.
- Do market research to understand where you will get the right footfall for your food niche.
- It is beneficial to park your van in areas with schools, colleges, or office hubs, especially after working hours and during lunch breaks.
- Avoid places where your food truck poses hassle to other commuters.
- Stay in a relatively visible location.
- Avoid areas with high parking fees or with parking restrictions.
3. Choosing the Raw Materials and Equipment for the Food Truck Kitchen:
As a food truck owner, prepare to spend about Rs. 3 lakhs on purchasing the kitchen utensils, equipment, and raw materials for the initial stage. What utensils, equipment or raw materials you need depends on your menu. The standard equipment and utensils needed in a food truck are-
- Small-sized freezer
- Tabletop for working
- Generator or invertor (most people forget about these, but these are highly essential since you will run the other equipment by drawing energy from the batteries)
- Chinese wok
- Baking oven
- Spinning grillers a
Irrespective of what equipment you buy, ensure they are brand new. It helps in avoiding additional expenses on maintenance.
While you store raw materials, we advise buying items for not more than 1-week as they can rot with time. Purchase in small quantities. Increase your purchase inventory when you have a substantial sale.
4. Permits and licenses:
Unfortunately, the food truck business doesn’t have any declared law or license requirement in India. However, since your business deals with food, we recommend procuring the below permits and licenses to ensure health, hygiene, quality, and hassle-free journey all along.
- A certificate for fire safety
- FSSAI Mobile Vendor License
- Trade license for establishment and shop
- RTO NOC
- Municipal Coration NOC
- Insurance for the kitchen
- Fire Safety Certificate
Acquiring permits and licenses along with the consultancy charges can cost about Rs. 50,000.
5. Manpower Requirement:
A mobile food van cannot accommodate more than two chefs. You can have one or two helpers depending on your business structure. If you plan to offer dine-in by placing chairs around your food truck, you surely need a helper to serve the food. You can also appoint food delivery boys or have a tie-up with food tech providers like Swiggy or Zomato. The manpower requirement and the expenses behind salaries vary with your business goals.
6. POS Software Requirement:
Not every mobile food truck business in India runs with POS software support. But, if you want to keep a secured data on daily sales and inventory, we recommend purchasing Point of Sale Software. It is especially needed if you wish to offer a food delivery service. In fact, storing customer data helps in the promotion of the business and generate repeat business.
A good POS Software generally costs about Rs. 2,000 per month.
7. Uniforms for Employees:
Are you running your food truck business with a set of employees like chefs, helpers, serving people, and delivery boys? Why don’t you get a custom-designed collared T-shirt for your employees. It helps in branding and also gives a professional appearance.
If you have 2 chefs, 2 helpers, and 1 delivery boy and provide then 2 sets of chef’s coat T-shirts, respectively, it will incur a combined expense of Rs. 6,000-Rs. 7,000.
The first thing to remember in a food truck business is that it depends on footfall and less delivery. Hence, the cost for printing menus is less. Even if you are not distributing leaflets in your area, a basic promotion is always needed.
Social media marketing is the best form here. Form a community over social media platforms, display your menu, invite people to visit your food truck online, and gather feedback from customers. Online reviews are highly valuable these days for promotion.
Final thoughts on Starting a Mobile Food truck Business
Becoming a mobile food vendor is associated with a capital investment of about Rs. 10 lakhs. The cost further varies depending on the type of truck and equipment you purchase. We have discussed above the basics you need to start your food truck.
Like every business, even a mobile food van requires stationery items like calculators, pens, order pads, etc. But it is essential to keep 2-3 big-sized dustbins in your truck or where you arrange the sitting to ensure the area remains clean. The business has its advantages and disadvantages like any other business. You need to conduct market research before starting the business to know your prospects in your chosen area.
A general food truck runs with a daily sale value of Rs. 8,000 – Rs. 9,000.