Start a Food Truck Advice if your Not Sure?

Posted by Damian Roberti on

 If your thinking of starting a food truck and can't decide if you investment will pay off this is the blog post and video for you. 

Investing in a business with no proven record can be scary and raise the hairs on your neck! With planning and rational decision making you may be able to pull it off! 

Always know what others have done, and give it some sincere thought. Food businesses fail almost 65% percent of the time, but that does not mean that you will not succeed. 


It was actually a question from one of my subscribers and it is a great one. If you were getting into a food truck business, the question actually comes up quite often, especially for beginners and basically the question is about where can I make my food product that I'm going to put together all my food truck? Do I have to use a commercial kitchen or a commissary kitchen and can I make it from home or can I just prepare the ingredients from home and then put it on my food truck? So we're going to dive into what you can and can't do and then give you some tips on how to find out how your city in your County can really dictate exactly how and where you can prepare your food for your food truck.


Now really quick, I'm going to jump into as an explanation into what exactly is a commercial kitchen or commissary kitchen because I know many of you may be watching this and you've actually never heard of that term before or you've never worked in one, so you're not familiar with it. So basically a commissary or a commercial kitchen is a separate kitchen outside of your home and outside of the food truck itself. And it's a commercially licensed facility. It's inspected by either the state or the health department. Um, it is a fully setup kitchen, commercial kitchen where you've got all of the equipment from stoves to refrigerators to freezers, walk-in coolers, a storage area, and all of that, all the equipment that you need inside of a traditional commercial kitchen. So you would actually rent this space, you would prepare ingredients that you would then transport to your food truck.


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And then from there you would put those ingredients together to create your menu on your food truck. Now the question that we had was, um, a young lady who was asking actually about whether or not she needed to or could prepare her food from home and then put it onto her food truck. Well, this is going to be dictated on based on the city and the County rules and regulations and how they set up and regulate food trucks. Every state is actually different. And to make it even more challenging is actually every city and County writes their own ordinances and rules about this. So in some cases, commercial food truck vendors, uh, are actually required to use a commissary kitchen or commercial kitchen. Um, they are not allowed to prepare food actually on the truck itself as far as preparing the ingredients and slicing and cutting and getting all that pro, all the ingredients together.

Um, that's actually in some counties and cities required. It's not a question of whether you want to or not. Um, and other cities and counties, you actually, uh, can use it as an option. You can use a commissary kitchen or commercial kitchen, um, or even your food truck itself and the city and County will be fine with that. So you do have to do a little bit of research on your part to find out more about your specific location as to whether or not the laws require you to use a commissary kitchen or if it's optional. Now, what types of kitchens are there? Believe it or not, there's actually a few different types. Um, there are what's known as the shared space kitchens. These are actually kitchens where you may actually go in and you rent it for a period of time, but there may be other food entrepreneurs or even food truck vendors or other types of concession vendors who are there at the same time.

So you could be potentially using, utilizing a portion of the kitchen or a part of the facility while another is there as well. Um, a lot of times also you're going to get anywhere from caterers to personal chefs, food trucks, even small food startup businesses. There could be a variety of different businesses that are there utilizing the space kind of at the same time that you are. So these are going to be the shared space version of a commercial kitchen. Now events. So basically utilizing a shared space can sometimes be a cheaper form of getting your food, um, started and getting it set and prepped for your food truck. But you'd have to coordinate that a lot of times the scheduling is, becomes a really big issue because you may have other people who are renting them at certain periods of time that would, you actually need to rent a, a space.

So it could be a little tricky if you're using one that's kind of a shared space. So the next space, the next type of commercial kitchen that you can use as known as a private commercial kitchen. So private commercial kitchens are yours and yours alone, they do cost a little bit more. Uh, but that time that you're in the kitchen is going to be dedicated specifically to you. You have use of all the equipment, the storage, the refrigeration, the freezers, whatever it may be. That's there. You're going to have direct access to that. So you're not necessarily jump juggling a Jew, I'm sorry, trying to figure out how to uh, work around other people's, uh, products or other people's time and space. So they do cost a little bit more. And of course you'd have to find one that was near you and check out what the pricing for that and see what are some of the hourly rates for them.

Now, next up is actually renting in the existing kitchen. Now, believe it or not, there are restaurants and other types of commercial kitchens that are being used throughout the day, uh, for certain restaurants who may be open and during the time that the restaurants are kind of close to the public, if you will, they allow sometimes for you to go in there and simply rent the space that's already existing there. And that is a great way to do it. If you're really kind of hard to find and kind of hard up for that location, a commercial kitchen, you can't really find one. You might actually be able to speak to a local restaurant and see about renting their space. Now of course they may require certain types of additional insurances, uh, proof of business and business license and such. But of course those are the things that you really need to have anyways when you're operating a food truck.




But believe it or not, that's another Avenue that you can actually rent a space from an actual restaurant. Okay. So next up is actually other types of commercial kitchens. These are really interesting because they could be anything from a hotel that could be a public school, even a church or community center, uh, even a retirement home or cooking schools, they all have, um, licensed commercial kitchens. You may actually have the opportunity to go in there and work with those as well. If you don't have a fully loaded commercial kitchen in your city or County, that's another option for you to prepare your products. And your ingredients prior to getting on your food truck if you have to use it. So one of the other great things that to keep in mind about using a commercial kitchen or commissary is the storage, the capacity to store your ingredients.




So many times you'll have a little bit of space or a lot of space available for you to put your prepped out ingredients that you can prepare. Maybe a couple of days prior to going out on the weekend. Or if you have an event coming up, you have the ability to prep the, prep it in the kitchen, put it in containers, and store it either refrigerated or frozen and have it set and ready for your event. That's a huge plus when you're doing a big events with your food truck and you can utilize commercial kitchens with that kind of space. Now the other thing that is really, really important is the types of supplies that are available in these kitchen. So in a lot of cases, believe it or not, um, you could get anything from additional kitchen supplies, cleaning products and propane, uh, utensils, desserts, rice, and a variety of food products themselves that could be in these commissaries that you could utilize at no additional charge.

But you need to double check to make sure, of course when you sign up to use these types of areas, uh, you have a contractual agreement between you and of course the commissary. So make sure that you read that fine print and you are available, uh, to use these types of products if some of them have them at no additional charge as to what you have. Now, another great thing too is when you're done for the day with your food truck, you can't really park it anywhere you want. Um, one of the commissaries and commercial kitchen benefits is also overnight parking. So you can actually store your entire food truck in a place that you can park it without having to have any other issues with the city or the County. And of course you need to make sure you work that out with the commissary or the kitchen itself, that they do allow that type of parking on the parking lot.

But most of the time they do. And it's a great place to leave your truck securely, of course. And even if they ever charge you an additional fee for that or even give it to you for free, that's even better. Now, next up is going to be next. Next is going to be these a commercial kitchen. These incubators, as they call them, if you're able to work with one of them, they are a great resource because these kitchen incubators actually have a lot more business, uh, plus a business tips and additional information and resources to grow an actual food business aside from just prepping your food. So keep that in mind that these are popping up quite frequently throughout the country, but they're going to give you additional resources to help you grow a food truck, how to promote it, how to market it, and basically turn it into an extremely profitable food, um, throughout the, the city of the County that you're in with just your simple food truck.

So look for kitchen incubators too. They are, uh, the potential to really help grow the business itself and not simply give you a space where you can prepare your ingredients for your food, but give you a lot of direction and a lot of mentoring and mentorship as well. So check those out as well. So, uh, that's a really quick outline and some options available for you and be sure to double check, like I said, be, be really careful about the city and the County that you, uh, follow all the guidelines in regards to the types of permits and licenses. It can vary quite dramatically from city to city and even state to state. So once you find that out, let us know. And of course, as always, if this video is helpful, do you give me a big thumbs up? If you've got great questions as well about your food business, let me know and I'll get to them as soon as possible. And I'll see you on our next video. So if you're looking to start your own food business, check out these videos for more resources, profitable food business ideas, how to start a food truck business. Learn all about care cottage food laws to create a home business for selling food and how to start a catering business from home. These and many more small food business ideas are all at your fingertips when you subscribe to marketing food online.


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