What Is a Great Food Truck Concept?

Two Friends Buying Ice Cream from a Truck
••• Caravan Images/ Taxi/ Getty images

A food truck is a great way to get started in the restaurant business. It is a pretty low investment, compared to opening a brand new restaurant, and offers plenty of other perks such as low overhead and small payroll. Most food trucks take advantage of free advertising and marketing through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest.

Food Trucks Are More Than Sandwiches

When choosing a food truck theme, you should be creative in what type of food you want to offer customers that will keep them coming back. What can set your food apart from the competition? If you chose to offer basic burgers, hot dogs, or sandwiches, maybe recreate them by adding interesting ingredients to create a new food experience for customers.

Food trucks have come a long way since the days of the ice cream man or selling burgers and dogs. Today, there seems to be a food truck for nearly every kind of cuisine available, from gourmet cupcakes to Austrian bratwurst to Vietnamese lemongrass chicken tacos.

Local Foods Are a Popular Food Truck Theme

Local food continues to be one of the strongest restaurant trends over the past several years, with more restaurants incorporating locally grown food, including organic and sustainable foods, into their regular menus. Food trucks are also following suite, offering a wide variety of local food selections. Underdog Truck out of San Diego offers sausage sandwiches made with only locally sourced foods. Celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito has his own food truck, Now Eat This!, which focuses on healthy comfort food.

Not only are all of the entrees such as cheesy turkey black bean enchiladas and faux fried general Tsao’s chicken less than 350 calories, the menu board includes calories for all menu items.

Food Trucks Get Fancy

Regional and international cuisine are always popular food truck themes. Red Hook Lobster out of New York City offers a variety of New England seafood specialties, such as clam chowder, lobster rolls, and shrimp rolls. The Bratwurst King out of Virginia offers European cuisine, with a menu that includes bratwurst, paprika chicken, Austrian goulash, and homemade cakes and strudel. Lemongrass Truck out of Washington, D.C. offers authentic lemongrass chicken or pork on salad, with noodles, in a taco or as a sandwich, keeping the menu tasteful but simple.

Food Truck Rules

Before you settle on any theme, you first want to check the requirements for opening a food truck business in your neighborhood, town, or city. You may come across a few obstacles. Many places don’t allow food trucks or put a cap on the number of food truck permits allowed at any given time. Case in point, both Los Angeles and New York City are two of the busiest areas for food truck businesses and both have caps on the number of permits allowed.

Food Truck Cost

While a food truck is considerably less expensive than a traditional restaurant, it still costs money. A food truck will costs thousands of dollars, even used. Unless you have a lot of extra cash lying around, you will most likely need to look for financing either through a bank, a small business bureau, or investors.