Food Van: Get Your Own with a Franchise

05/11/2018 08:00 | Food franchises

food van

Starting a food business can be a great way to build up a strong, stable business that has ongoing appeal. However, it does come with some additional challenges when compared to other businesses, not least of all being the cost of finding a base of operation. Despite attractive deals on rental prices and business rates, restaurants have exceptionally high overheads. If youre not full to capacity every night from the moment you open, youre going to be losing money. Thats why so many restaurants go out of business in their first year.

The alternative, (and its a trendy one, too) is to buy a food van (or even find a company offering food truck hire) and take your delicious treats on the road. A food van franchise can be the best way to go about this, as youll be flying your colours under a recognised brand, which gives you instant customer appeal. The other advantage of food van franchises is that theyre a relatively new concept in the UK, so the market isnt yet flooded with vans trundling around the UK, all fighting for the same hungry customers.

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Do I need to be a good cook?

As with any business, whether you go it alone or buy into a franchise, it helps to have a real passion for the industry youre going into. 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. If youre struggling, though, you can always pick something that doesnt require a cordon bleu level of skill, such as a mobile coffee van, a cupcake stall, or simple street food thatll appeal to a mass market.

Whats the latest trend?

The trick isnt to jump onboard an overnight fad when it comes to running a successful food truck franchise. You need to create a business with a high-profile and trusted brand thatll still be bringing in the money when other pop-ups have popped off. You need to be proactive, and you need to offer something that other vendors don't. But the one thing you cannot fail to provide your customers, no matter where you find them, is quality.

A lower investment than other food franchises

Restaurant and food franchises have to be the single most popular choice for franchisees looking for a stable, reliable source of income from day one. However, initial investment levels can be high, especially if you're looking to get a food outlet positioned in a lucrative spot on the high street. 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 wont have high-ticket expenses such as a lease on premises.

Go where the customers are

Instead of a static business where you hope the footfall is high enough to generate a sustainable income, you can take your food van to your customers and usually find them concentrated in much higher numbers. Festivals, events, parties the possibilities are much more varied and can generate high levels of income in short, sharp bursts. If you don't want to commit to buying a food truck, then you can look for food truck hire companies who can provide you with a fully-fitted truck for a short period. However, if you scan the food truck for sale classifieds, you may be able to pick up a custom-made truck that's ready to go. All you need to do is add your own personal touches and get on the road. If you get a lucrative regular plot', then you can also benefit from a steady client base you can build on.

What food truck franchises are available?

Our top pick has to be Cafe2U. If there's one American habit that's caught on in the UK, it's coffee. We're no longer a nation of tea drinkers, with our consumption of coffee now hitting approximately 95million cups of coffee a day . Our coffee culture means that 16% of people in the UK visit a coffee shop at least once a day. So what better than to take the coffee to your customers? With an initial investment of £27,000, Cafe2U does precisely that. This global brand has a high level of customer recognition, making it a market leader in food truck franchisors. They offer a very tempting guaranteed income of £275/day, making this food truck franchise a delicious and tempting treat for franchisees who are willing to put the hours in.

Whats on the horizon?

While we recommended earlier that passing fads are no basis for a reliable, long-term business, certain areas could be well worth looking into. One of our hot tips is juice bar franchises. Were all familiar with how easy a tasty smoothie or freshly squeezed juice drink can help us to get our five-a-day, but up until now, it's been focused on the fitness sector. Now, juice bars are becoming much more mainstream, and are ideally suited to a mobile food truck scenario. Popular at festivals and events, juice bars offer low-investment/high-return benefits, without the need for expensive overheads.

Conclusion

Buying a mobile food truck or buying into a food van franchise is an affordable way to start your own food business. With lower overheads than a static high street restaurant or food franchise, the ability to go where the largest gathering of potential customers are, and to tailor your van to suit your needs, its a flexible and smart option.

Lower overheads mean higher profit margins and you can expect to start earning a reasonable wage within the first couple of years. You will need to work hard at getting accepted into the more profitable events and festivals, as theres 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.
Keep an eye out for up and coming trends that have more staying power, such as juice bars, and if you want to appeal to the broadest possible marketplace, then coffee stands are our top tip.

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