There is a huge craze right now for food trucks, and with good reason — they make delicious food! That said, starting your own food truck business is going to take some planning. And if you’re looking for an investor, it takes things up a few notches — you’ll need to impress someone and show them the value you plan on bringing for them to agree to write you a check.
A great way to do this is to focus on writing a food truck business plan. In this article, we'll provide a sample food truck business plan to consider if you are starting your own business.
This food truck business plan sample is laid out in sections and should be written in order.
1. Executive Summary
This section should contain all of the highlights of your business you want to feature. You don’t need to go into detail — that will be laid out in subsequent sections. Consider this your "elevator pitch" — the first impression of your food truck business for someone who's never heard of it before.
Some questions you should answer in this section include:
Where do you plan on selling the food you’re making on the truck?
What type of food are you going to offer?
Why do you feel your business will do well?
How much is it going to cost to get your business up and running?
What do you forecast the profits looking like?
What skills do you have that can help make the food truck business successful?
While the executive summary is the first part of your food truck business plan, it should probably be the last thing you write.
2. Company Description
Here is where you start to lay out the details of your business. Talk about the types of food you will provide. What type of food will you make? How will the food be prepared? What advantage do you have with your food truck business that will separate you from all the other food trucks out there?
Provide all of the pertinent information that will lay the foundation to understanding who you are and what your business will do/provide.
3. Market Analysis
The market analysis portion of your food truck business plan is the place where you'll need to do your homework. While it may seem tedious, this is a section you truly want to focus on to have a better understanding of how you fit in the market.
Here you'll want to discuss the food truck industry: growth rates, trends, consumer groups, etc. Gather demographic information to understand who your main consumers will be and what their wants and needs are. Talk about seasonal trends — does business slow down during the winter months? Are there any pain points you need to address, such as different food codes and regulations at the place you intend to sell your food?
In your research, try to suss out who your competitors are. How exactly do you intend on stealing market share from an already saturated market? Is there anything that can get in your way or hurt your overall business? What does your pricing look like, and what are the margins on each food item?
For this section of your food truck business plan, you'll want to lay out your business structure. Are you a solopreneur with an LLC? Are you forming a partnership? Explain the details. Are you thinking about bringing on employees? How will you pay them and provide them with benefits?
If you already plan on having employees, what backgrounds and skillsets do you need to hire? What will they be responsible for? How much will you pay them? Do they have previous history or employment in the industry, and if so how will you utilize their knowledge?
You could even draw your organizational structure to show how everything flows with your business and anyone else involved in day-to-day operations. You simply want to explain who all is a part of your food truck business, and how they fit into your overall vision.
This part of the food truck business plan is fairly self-explanatory. What kind of food will you be serving? Beyond the basics, answer these questions in your business plan:
Are there any thoughts on expanding in the future with more, or will this be your set line of products?
Do you have a dish that no one else in your area has?
How will you entice people to come to your truck and try your food?
Will you offer free samples?
What is your plan for customer retention, and getting them to come back, again and again, to buy from your food truck?
What, if any, problems could arise with the lineup of food choices you are introducing?
Something else you want to talk about in this section is the future of your business and how you plan on thriving. Will this ultimately be your one and only food truck, or will you purchase more and create a fleet that can go out to hit various areas in your market? Explain what the future holds.
6. Marketing and Sales
The marketing and sales section of your food truck business plan needs to explain how you intend on getting into the market and growing your business. Are you presenting something new? Do you have something exciting or innovative? Describe the techniques and strategies you plan on implementing to create a trial of your products. Are you going to do advertisements in the surrounding local area, or is your plan to hit social media hard and try to grow your reach organically?
To retain customers and bring them back, have you thought about loyalty programs or rewards? For example, your customers could earn free food for so many visits or spending a determined amount of money at your food truck.
What about informing those customers of your whereabouts? Will you put up signs advertising that you'll be at a certain place on a certain day/time? To create sales, you need marketing — and in order to continue marketing, you need sales. They go hand in hand.
This section of the food truck business plan is not needed if you already have the funds to start your business. However, if you don't have funds and are looking for investors, they are going to pay particular attention to this section to understand where their money is going and what it will be used for.
Here, you need to explain how much money you're looking for from an investor and where every penny of that amount is going. Explain how you intend on repaying the investor and what the terms are — as well as what benefits the investor gets for giving you their money. Another route to consider would be to use a website such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter to crowdfund for your startup.
You may only get one shot to get in front of an investor, so you'll want to nail this section to engage with them and hopefully have them invest in your food truck business. If there are any loose ends in this section that can cause concern or leave questions, it could very easily turn away the investor...leaving you with nothing. Make sure to clearly sell your vision to the potential investor.
To be honest, this section of your food truck business plan is fairly difficult if you’ve never been in the industry before or owned your own business. Trying to figure out projections and yearly goals can seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack: You have no idea where to look...or where to even begin.
To complete this section, you need to do your homework in the market and figure out how much money you can make (realistically) over the next five years (or even 10 years). Think about these questions to help you:
What are others doing in the industry?
How long have they been in business?
How similar are they to your food truck business?
Can you grow your business in the same manner?
Additionally, the numbers you come up with should align with the numbers you are putting in your Funding section above.
If you need help getting starting with your food truck business, take advantage of our highly informative business startup guides.
Matt Weik is the Founder/Owner of Weik Fitness, LLC and is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. He’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. His work has been featured in over 85 fitness magazines and over 1,500 websites. You can contact Matt via www.weikfitness.com or on his social channels found on his website.