How Many Items Should a Food Truck Have?

Posted by Damian Roberti on

All right, so if you're looking to create a food truck, one of the biggest hurdles is trying to create a menu for your food truck, but not only that, it's how many items should you have on your menu, especially if you're just starting out, and I'm gonna dive into a few tips and pointers, we got set on our board back here, and get you successful and get you up and running with your food truck. And we're gonna get into that right now. All right, so, as I mentioned back in the introduction, I'm gonna go over a few tips and pointers to help you figure out how many items really go on a food truck menu. Now, there's not an exacting methodology behind doing this, but some of these tips back here may help you understand why you should have a minimal amount and what you should actually have, and take into consideration actually using a food truck when you're preparing food for your events. And if this is your first video, welcome to Marketing Food Online.
 
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
My name is Damian Roberti. I'm the founder and CEO of Marketing Food Online. Myself, along with my wife, Sylvia, started our food entrepreneur journey over 12 years ago. We actually have several e-commerce businesses, and we've run brick and mortar bakeries, Italian bakeries where we serve gelato, paninis, breads and pastries and cookies, and a whole bunch of other things. Now, some of that information, actually, an experience I'm gonna dive into when I get back here and explain to you some of the things that we actually did that I wish I kind of didn't do, because I learned kind of the hard way by overdoing the menu. So, let's take a look at the board and figure out what we've got going on. So, if you're looking to create your food truck menu, the first thing is considering your space. Now, as a brick and mortar business owner, when I had my brick and mortar bakery, of course, we had a lot more space, obviously, than a food truck, but the drawback was is that I kind of dove into a very big menu of items, from panini sandwiches, we had cookies and pastries, cannolis, gelato, ice cream, fresh breads, and we catered events. And it was kind of just a whole mishmash of a bunch of stuff.
 
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
 
Now, if I were to redo that today, knowing what I know, I would definitely dwindle down the menu quite a bit and focus on the things that are easy to make, fast to make it, and doesn't take a lot of ingredients, and you could turn over it very quick and easy. So, when you're in a food truck, it's much different, especially if you've got one, two, even three people on top of yourself. That's four people inside of a food truck trying to cook and create food. That's gonna be a big problem because of the amount of space that you have available, so take it to consideration, number one, before you get into the menu, dive into how much actual space you've got available to prepare, prep, and serve food from your food truck, because it's ultra-important, because you have a very small amount of space. Number two, how long does it take to make your product?
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
 
There was a handful of items that we had on our menu, to be honest with you, they took minutes and minutes and minutes and minutes to make, quite a few minutes. You don't have that option when you're doing a food truck event, you've got people lined up. They're gonna want to wait only a couple of minutes, get their food in their hand, and be on their way. So, you want to definitely take that into consideration as far as the timeframe, how long does it truly take to actually make the product that you're looking to sell. The faster it is to produce a product, obviously, it's gonna be a lot of factors, good factors. You're gonna get that to your customer quick. You're gonna move on to the next one. You're gonna turn over more product. You're gonna make more money. So, you want to definitely take into consideration how long does it actually take to make the product. Next up, margin and the most profitable? So, let's say you sit down and you came up with 20 different food items under the type of niche, the type of food that you're creating.
 

How many items should a food truck have

 

 
 
Sounds great, because you're like, wow, I can give my customers a huge variety. Half of those items are very expensive to make, and the margins on those other half items, half of the list is going to not make as much money as the other half. So, if your margin, your profitability is much better on, let's say five to seven items, I would stick to the five to seven items. Roll those out and see how the crowds and how your customers react, because if you can make more money with just a few items, as opposed to smaller margins with a huge list of things, that doesn't make sense, and it's not very profitable. So, you want to definitely be aware of the margin and the most profitable product that you actually have. Okay, next one up is stick with one niche. Now, there's a lot of food trucks, I've been to food truck events, and I've seen menus that would just go on for days. They have everything from Chinese cuisine to even slices of pizza and hot dogs and hamburgers, which makes absolutely no sense at all. So, if you're looking to create and make a freshly made product, make sure you stick with one niche. Don't create products that obviously do not coincide with each other, or you'd have to have numerous amounts of ingredients to produce just a few different items.
 
 
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
That doesn't make any sense. So, if you're gonna do pizza, for instance, make four or five different pizzas with four or five specific toppings and call it a day. You don't want to throw in there chow mein and low mein, and start opening up what you might think is Panda Express with a Pizza Hut on your truck. That doesn't make any sense, and you're not gonna be profitable. Even though the idea sounds good, that you might attract a lot of different people, stick to one type of a food product and do it well. Okay, next one is how versatile are your ingredients? Now, here's kind of an interesting thing. If you have, let's say 10 ingredients, you can create 14 different items, but all of those ingredients go in some different type of mixture or some different type of way to create a line of products, and you can do that many, that's fantastic. Give me an example, Damian, what does that mean?
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
 
Tacos, for instance, tacos. Super simple to make. You can have a variety of toppings, but based upon what the customer's going to want and request on the tacos, you can appeal to a wide variety of people, and you can make an enormous amount of tacos, soft tacos, burritos, whatever it may be, but in line with that type of niche of product, because you have a variety of ingredients, but you don't have to have 50 or 60 different ingredients. You can do it with 10 or 12 different ingredients, and that is fantastic, because you'll be able to push through ingredients every single event that you go to, and it will be consistent. So, having the ability to produce a product or a variety of products with a only minimal amount of ingredients is a great idea. Next one, push and promote your best sellers. Okay, so you've come up with a menu. You've got, let's say 10 items. Five of them sell really, really well, five of them just sell well. Whenever someone comes up, you've got a customer who comes up to your window and they want to place an order and they ask you, "Hey, what is your best seller?
 
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
 
What's one of your best selling items?" Always push those. Hopefully, those are gonna be items that are number one, very profitable, number two, again, they can be made very, very quickly and fast, but the reason why you want to do that is, if you can push through as much of your ingredients and satisfy as many customers as you can, and those are your best items, then you can narrow down, in the future, your menu. So, if you've got 10 items and you see that five to six or even seven of them sell well, then you can get rid of the three or four other ones that really don't. So, you're kind of experimenting with and figuring out what is your best sellers, and that is a great way to push more product and turn over more and make more profit when you go to an event. Next up, how fast, keeping them in and out is the key to the profitability. Understand that the quicker and faster you can produce these products, the better off you're obviously gonna be financially. You're going to make more money. The key to any food truck event, or any mobile event for that matter, if you happen to have a mobile food trailer or even a cart, or you're selling hotdogs, obviously, the quicker and faster you can satisfy as many customers, the better off you are. So, keep an idea in mind that all of these are great tips, but one of the most important and the most powerful one is this.
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
 
 
Can you produce it quick, make it fast, and satisfy a customer within just a matter of a couple of minutes at the most? You're gonna be rocking and rolling when you go to an event. If a product takes much longer to make, even if it's fantastic, it could be the best sushi on the planet, but if you're taking 10 to 15 minutes to make it, you're not gonna have a lot of people standing in the line. So, you want to make sure that you can turn over the product fast and quick. So, if you want to know how many items should be on your food truck menu, the average food truck menu consists of between five to 10 items. If you want to know an actual number and a numerical amount, stick between five to 10. You can go, obviously, once you get 10, if you could go to seven, maybe three or four are not doing good, you can always come back down. But if you go to an event and you have a menu board sitting out front and you've got 50 items, you're gonna be driving yourself crazy, and you're not gonna satisfy everybody, and you're gonna have a ton of ingredients, and you're gonna have the food truck jam packed, and you're gonna have not enough space for enough employees, and so on and so on.
 

How many items should a food truck have

 
 
Stick to about five to 10, do some experimental runs, go to an event, have five to 10. If you see that you've got five that do great, get rid of the other five and move onto your next event, and have just five on your event. So, that's one of the really cool things, also, about having a food truck, is the ability to actually customize and either create a better menu for your next event, or as you move on to a new event, you can evolve and change and hear what your customers are saying and see how fast it takes to obviously make the product. Last tip, smaller staff, smaller space. Keep in mind that if you can operate your food truck on a minimal skeleton crew, but you do not sacrifice, obviously, customer service or the quality of the product, you are gonna make some serious money. The more people you have, the more payroll you have, the less space you're gonna have for ingredients. So, if you can do it with one to two of you, fantastic. If it takes four to five of you, it's not gonna be very profitable. Keep that in mind, smaller staff, bigger profits, obviously, lower payroll, more space for ingredients, turning over more products, satisfying more customers. So, these are my tips to help you understand how many items should you have on your food truck menu, and if you've got questions about this, please do let me know or comment down below. If you have actually used some of these tips on your own food truck, and you're watching this video, please give us some tips and pointers down below for the other subscribers who are subscribed, and I'll see you guys on our next video.
 

How many items should a food truck have

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