Day in the Life: What It Takes to Run Your Own Food Truck Business

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food van

Starting a food truck business can be a great way to build up a strong, stable business that has ongoing appeal. In today’s article, we’re going to look at what it takes to start your own.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to own your own food van franchise, you’ve come to the right place. Choosing the franchise route gives you the opportunity to fly your colours under a recognised brand, which gives you instant customer appeal. Food truck businesses are a relatively new concept in the UK, so the market isn’t yet flooded with vans trundling around the UK, all fighting for the same hungry customers. Let’s have a look at the industry and what you can expect a standard day to look like.

Snapshot of the food truck business industry

This year, there was the highest UK music festival attendance in four years! Over a third of the UK population have danced the night away at a festival since 2016. But what does this mean for food truck businesses? Well, someone’s got to feed to hungry festival-goers, and why not you?

Street food is a growing trend in the UK with more and more outlets popping up all the time. It’s safe to say that there is promising potential for entrepreneurs starting their own food truck business. Even with the uncertainty of Brexit and how this will impact our economy, it’s been found that 64 percent of street-food eaters said they would be happy to part with over £6 for their tasty meal.

A day in the life of a food truck business owner

  1. Look over your calendar for events and schedule for the day.
  2. Meet up with your team members to make sure everyone is in the loop and aware of any daily specials, then share any industry specific news and information about your local competition, etc.
  3. Oversee your team. They might be inventorying food shipments and preparing the food in the commercial kitchen. The food truck will need to be set up and there should be lots of promotion across your social media channels.
  4. Find new locations where you can operate: You’ll need to work hard at getting accepted into the more profitable events and festivals, as there’s stiff competition for pitches. But if you do manage to get a spot at a high-profile event, then expect to earn good money in a very short space of time.
  5. Keep an eye out for up-and-coming trends that have more staying power: This could include juice bars for example, and if you want to appeal to the broadest possible marketplace, then coffee stands are our top tip.
  6. Update your menu to suit customer demand and work in your favour: With food vans, your menu is limited (especially if your franchise truck has a particular ‘theme'), but that can work to your advantage. As you become more expert in the preparation of a limited menu, it'll be easier, the food quality will be better, and you'll find new ways of ‘mixing things up' to keep the business exciting.

Advantages of starting a food truck business

  • Low cost. Buying a mobile food truck or buying into a food van franchise is an affordable way to start your own food business. With restaurants, if you’re not full to capacity every night from the moment you open, you’re going to be losing money. Operating a food truck business has lower overheads than a static high street restaurant or food franchise. This means there are higher profit margins and you can expect to start earning a reasonable wage within the first couple of years.
  • Flexible. The ability to go where the largest gathering of potential customers are, and to tailor your van to suit your needs, it’s a flexible and smart option. If one of your locations isn’t proving successful you can move (as long as you have permission).
  • Trendy. The UK street food market is valued at £1.2 billion and is growing year on year. With weird and wonderful offerings, food trucks are fashionable and can use their exterior design and menu to reflect their brand and appeal to customers. You can see a full list of the job’s perks here.

Challenges of starting a food truck business

  • Early hours: You might be setting up at 4 am and going to bed at 12pm in the initial stages. Cooking all day and moving all the equipment is time consuming. However, once you’ve found your feet, you can choose to take a more managerial role and delegate such responsibilities to staff.
  • Have a fair amount of red tape to contend with: You need to register the food preparation premises with your local Environmental Health Office a minimum of 28 days before you start trading. Make sure to also abide by food safety management procedures, comply with health & safety laws and take out public liability insurance.
  • Initial investment levels can be high: If you're looking to get a food outlet positioned in a lucrative spot on the high street, the investment is going to be considerable. If you buy a food truck, you may have other costs to think about (such as specialist vehicle insurance, temporary licences and pitch costs), but you won’t have high-ticket expenses such as a lease on premises.
  • British weather: On rainy days, the perfect pitch could be a complete let down. So, keep this in mind when choosing where to set up - there are some indoor locations you could choose instead during the winter.

Become a food truck business franchisee

We’ve got two great coffee van franchise opportunities that we’ll now discuss in more detail. We're no longer a nation of tea drinkers, with our consumption of coffee now hitting approximately 95 million cups of coffee a day. So, what’s better than coffee to sell from your food van?


Using the ‘supreme bean machine’, Café2U serves fresh coffee and tasty snacks to customers all over the UK. Launched in 2004, there are now over 250 franchisees across the globe.

  • Becoming a Café2U franchisee: You don’t need any previous experience - just a love of coffee and passion for the brand. Click here to get started.
  • How much you need to invest: Café2U asks for a minimum investment of £27,000.
  • What you get for your investment: As well as operating under a proven business model, you can make the most of the excellent training and development programmes. This includes a territory launch programme, marketing packs and more!

Coffee Blue

Another mobile coffee van franchise, Coffee Blue offers comforting hot drinks and a selection of food products everywhere from festivals to offices. Coffee Blue vans have plenty of storage space, and are fully refrigerated, as they are converted to the highest specifications. Each van serves up its own award-winning coffee blend, which customers can’t get enough of.

  • Becoming a Coffee Blue franchisee: If you have great communication skills, are business-focused and ambitious, you’re encouraged to get in touch.

  • How much you need to invest: This low-cost franchise asks for just £16,950 to get the ball rolling.
  • What you get for your investment: Barista training, NCASS (National Caterer’s Association) certification, the option of rent-to-buy, and all the training you need.

Running your own food truck business

Hopefully reading this article has given you more of an idea of what it would actually be like to operate your own food-van business. If you’re confused about what your salary as a franchise owner would look like, click here for more information.

>> Read more articles on the Food Truck sector

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