How to Incorporate and Operate a Multi-State Food Truck Business
Before you get any limited liability company off the ground, you’ll have to complete a number of steps along the way. But, while much of this process is standard procedure for running your own business, specific niches may sometimes require more attention than others. For instance, running a food truck business involves a bit more legwork than you might expect, particularly if you’re doing business in multiple states. Let’s discuss how food trucks work as a business model and the procedure you’ll need to contend with before you launch your delicious operation.
The Rise of Food Trucks
Normally, this is where we’d explain the topic in a bit greater detail, but the concept of a food truck is pretty self-explanatory. In recent years, they have grown in popularity to such a degree that food trucks are now considered the fastest-growing segment of the food industry. Coming up with an approach that hasn’t been covered by the thousands of food trucks already roaming the nation will be imperative. This can be an uphill battle depending on where you’re planning to operate.
Part of the growing appeal lies in the food, but the real attraction — for business owners, at least — is the inherent mobility in food trucks. Rather than needing to open up multiple restaurants, you can simply travel from one state to the next with a single truck if you so choose. You have a lot less to wrangle and much more flexibility in when and where you decide to do business. Starting a food truck has therefore become an enticing alternative to the costly venture of opening up your own restaurant. Of course, operating a multi-state food truck business is not without its challenges.
Licensing Your Food Truck Business
With any business comes the corresponding licensing requirements. Depending on where you’ll be doing business, the steps to secure a license for your food truck may vary wildly. Mobile vending laws will apply to your food truck, and you may even need to secure licenses for each location where you plan to do business. If you’re lucky, you may be able to get free rein to operate in multiple locations with one license, but you may wind up restricted on where you can park and how long you can park there.
Your first step is to dive into research mode and explore the incorporation and licensing requirements for each city or state where you anticipate you’ll operate. Because of how complicated these can get, you may wish to initially start small with just one location or two.
Nevertheless, local licensing and permitting requirements will lend you some direction about what to do next. And since your food truck is — for all intents and purposes — a restaurant, you will need to satisfy any applicable laws regarding food handling and safety in addition to issues like parking and zoning that relate to your mobility.
Location, Location, Location
As you may surmise, location is everything for a food truck business — hence the emphasis we placed on getting the licenses and permits you need to operate where you want to be. Naturally, you’ll need to also take stock of the local competition in your market. This can not only guide your approach to the food, but where you plan to park your food truck to maximize your profits. Once you do your due diligence regarding licensing, you’ll have a better idea where you’re able to do business and where you cannot.
You might be limited depending on who owns the land you plan to park on and what other restaurants are in the vicinity. After all, they were there first and do not have the luxury of rolling elsewhere if you abscond with their market share. This point itself may complicate things, but think outside the box to come up with the perfect location(s) for your food truck business. Perhaps a parking lot or other open space lies near a major attraction for consumers or hungry workers. Many cities now offer food truck parks designed just for food trucks to do business. Focus on food traffic and you’ll be on the right track.
Where Will You Get Your Finances?
Since we’re giving you tips for getting your food truck business off the ground, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least touch on the financial side of things. As we alluded to earlier, startup costs for a food truck are significantly lower than traditional restaurants, making the barrier to entry much lower. However, because of all the equipment and licensing involved, you’re still looking at tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars just to get started. That’s a pretty daunting gamble to take on your new business venture.
Between the truck itself and the actual cost of the food, food trucks aren’t for the faint of heart. Be sure you’re financially ready before you begin. By the time you gear up for launch, you should already have a detailed business plan in mind — one that will have accounted for the competition ahead and the costs involved. Regardless of how you secure the funds you need, planning significantly ahead will give you some peace of mind regarding the amount of time, money and effort you’ve poured into your food truck business.
Keep on Trucking
If you’re truly ready to launch your food truck business, we hope these details have helped to clarify how you can begin the process. It’s a world of possibilities right now for up-and-coming food trucks. You can rest assured that you’re getting into the industry at a promising (and profitable) time, provided you go through the proper channels first.
If you do encounter any issues along the way, feel free to reach out to Incfile. Since we aim to empower businesses like yours to hit the ground running from launch and onward, we can provide extensive resources and expert assistance you can use to successfully navigate your increasingly competitive industry. To learn more about how we can help, check out our website and get started today!