Why 50% Of Food Trucks Fail In The First Year

Opening a food truck can seem like the best way to bring food to the masses. When you love to cook and you have a solid business plan, food trucks can be extremely successful. Recent research has shown that the food truck industry has recently grown to a $1.2 billion a year industry – and that is quite significant. The average startup cost for a food truck is approximately $90,000. In comparison to the average startup cost for a restaurant, which is around $450,000, food trucks can certainly be the more affordable option. However, approximately 50% of food trucks will fail in the first year because they don’t have a sufficient marketing plan and because they have overspent in certain areas.



There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to marketing a food truck. This includes not only the branding, which will be part of the wrap, but also where the food truck is going to be parked on a regular basis. Many people assume that they are able to park the food truck wherever they want. They will just park in the back of a shopping mall and make hand over fist. The reality is that is a moving business and therefore needs permission to park in areas that are not considered public.

A shopping mall allows patrons to park, but a food truck is a business. This means that permission needs to be obtained from the shopping mall in order to park the food truck, even if it’s just for one hour. Parking on the side of the road in downtown may also require a permit. Permits can take weeks or months to obtain, and they may cost a significant amount of money.

This means that even before a food truck is purchased, a person needs to have a solid plan as to where they are going to park the truck and what it is going to cost in order to obtain that the various permits in order to get these permissions.

Additionally, marketing has to be done in order to get the word out that the food truck is going to be at a certain location. If there isn’t a significant amount of walk by traffic, people may not stop in order to check out what’s being offered. People need to be told that a food truck is a certain location so that they can plan on attending. Otherwise, a food truck may be parked at a location for several hours and not receive sufficient traffic. This can lead to a significant amount of wasted food, which is only going to cost the food truck owner more money and result in faster failure.



What’s going to make a food truck different from what’s already out there? Competition can be fierce and it’s not just with the other food trucks, it’s also with the other area restaurants. The food has to stand out, have good flavor, and be different. It also has to be something that can be created quickly and within the confines of a food truck.

Some food trucks have closed because it is a “scoop and dump” style of food that is made somewhere else and then scooped and dumped onto a plate. The reason the food industry has grown as fast as it has is because it has gotten a reputation for being high quality food. It is where the foodies go to get some of the latest trends – and a food truck owner needs to be mindful of this.

The average amount spent at a food truck is $12.40. This is an important fact to remember because the food needs to be priced to sell. Too high and people will walk away, opting to sit down at a restaurant or drive to another food truck. Further, the food has to be able to sell for that amount while still turning a profit in terms of food cost.

The truck, the marketing, the food, all of the expenses have to be factored in. The average food cost is around 30% – and when it is higher than that, trucks have a tendency to disappear off of the food scene, never to be seen or heard from ever again.



Research is needed in all areas, prior to going forward with a food truck. This includes looking at how many other food trucks are within an area. It can be advantageous for there to be other trucks out there because of the ability to do rallies – plus, people have already gotten used to eating out of them. However, it’s dangerous to do a truck where the food is almost the same from what is already being served from another. If there’s a Mexican one and the desire is to Korean or Italian, then go for it, but if there’s already a vegan truck, it may be necessary to think of a different route.

There’s also the research about where you’re going to park the truck. If there are no other food trucks in your area, there may be a good reason. It may be that the city is simply not ready to embrace the truck industry and therefore they make it impossible to get permits to be able to park anywhere. Without being able to park, turning a profit can be difficult, if not impossible. A solid business plan will go a long way to ensuring success. Take the time to research, identify marketing strategies, and explore the menu possibilities.


Information from : 2015 Food Truck Industry Statistics Show Worth Of 1.2B

Image by Ted Tytan


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