How to Start a Food Truck Business in USA setup cost

how to start a food truck business

The food truck business is a well-known business in the USA. Many people make a huge profit after starting this food truck as a business. Additionally, In this page You will know how to start a food truck business, its setup cost, investment and profit, pros and cons and more. Know these details by simply reading this page.

What is Food Truck Business

What do i need for a food truck

Why Start a Food Truck Business

Food Truck Business Model

Document Required

Food Truck Business Forecasting

Key factors for food truck success

Starting Food Truck Business is easy or difficult

Launch Food Truck Franchise

Food Truck Business Setup Cost in USA

Top Food Truck Franchise Providers in USA

Pros and Cons of Food Truck Business in USA


What is Food Truck Business

A food truck business operates mobile eateries, offering a variety of cuisines from trucks or vans. Additionally, It involves tasks like menu planning, ingredient sourcing, permit acquisition, marketing, and providing top-notch customer service. You can get How to start a food truck business in USA and additionally some other important details. While flexibility in location and lower startup costs are advantages, challenges like weather, parking, and logistics must be navigated skillfully for success, necessitating both culinary and business expertise.

What do i need for a food truck

Starting a food truck business is a fun and exciting venture. Here’s a basic rundown of what you’ll need to get your food truck rolling:

Food Truck Needed

Food Truck

This is where the magic happens! You can buy a new or used truck, and there are even companies that specialize in converting box trucks into mobile kitchens. So, You make sure your truck is the right size for your needs and has the appropriate permits for food service.

Permits and Licenses

You’ll need to obtain a variety of permits and licenses to operate your food truck legally. Typically these include a business license, health permit, and fire permit. The specific requirements will vary depending on your location, so be sure to check with your local authorities.

Food truck equipment

food truck equipment

You’ll need to outfit your truck with all the necessary cooking equipment, refrigeration, and storage. Additionally, You may include grills, fryers, refrigerators, freezers, prep tables, and more. But the specific equipment requirement will depend on the type of food you plan to serve.


In addition to equipment, you’ll also need to stock up on a variety of supplies, such as plates, cups, napkins, utensils, takeout containers, and cleaning supplies.

Point-of-Sale (POS) System

A POS system will allow you to take orders, process payments, and track your sales. There are a number of POS systems designed specifically for food trucks, so be sure to shop around to find one that meets your needs.


Once you have everything else in place, it’s time to start marketing your food truck! Then, You may creating a website or social media presence, handing out flyers, participating in local events and every thing for marketing and awareness purpose.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

  • Develop a unique concept: What kind of food will you serve? What will make your food truck stand out from the competition?
  • Create a menu: Keep your menu focused and easy to execute in a small space.
  • Price your food competitively: You’ll need to factor in the cost of ingredients, labor, and overhead when pricing your food.
  • Find the right locations: Where will you park your truck? Look for high-traffic areas with plenty of foot traffic.

Lower Startup Costs & Flexible

Compared to opening a traditional restaurant, starting a food truck business typically requires less initial investment. Because You don’t have to worry about leasing a large space, purchasing expensive kitchen equipment, or hiring a large staff. This is a major perk! You can take your food truck to where the customers are. Park in high-traffic areas during lunch hours, attend festivals and events, or set up near office buildings. Same time this allows you to experiment with locations and target different demographics to maximize sales.

Creative Freedom

While food trucks allow you to get creative with your menu and concept. Additionally, You have the freedom to experiment with different cuisines, flavors, and dishes without the constraints of a traditional restaurant. This can be appealing if you’re passionate about food and enjoy experimenting with new recipes.

Building a Brand and Customer Base & Business Growth

The novelty and mobility of food trucks can generate a lot of buzz. Because Social media allows you to connect directly with your customers, promoting your location and menu specials. This can help you build a loyal following and strong brand recognition. While starting with a single food truck, there’s potential to expand your business over time. You could add more trucks, establish a permanent location, or even diversify into catering or other related services.

Community Engagement & Adaptability

Food trucks often become a focal point for community events and gatherings. So, Participating in local festivals, markets, and fundraisers can help you build connections within the community and increase brand visibility. Food trucks can adapt to changing trends and demands more easily than traditional restaurants. If a particular menu item becomes less popular, you can easily replace it with something new without a significant impact on your business.

Low Overhead Costs

This business start with Low Overhead Costs. With a food truck, you don’t have to worry about high overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and property taxes that come with a brick-and-mortar restaurant. So, This can translate to higher profit margins if managed efficiently.

Testing the Waters

Starting a food truck can be a good way to test the market for a restaurant concept before committing to a permanent location. Because It allows you to gather customer feedback and refine your menu in a lower-risk environment.

Document Required

The exact documents you’ll need to start a food truck business in the USA will vary depending on your location but there are some common requirements across most states. Here’s a general rundown to get you started:

Essential Permits and Licenses

Most localities require a general business license to operate any business, including food trucks. Additionally federal tax ID number required by the IRS for most businesses that have employees or plan to hire them. Specifically, Food Truck Permit/Mobile Food Vending Permit is specific to operating a food truck and is typically issued by your local health department. Same time Health permit is mandatory to ensure your food preparation and serving procedures meet safety regulations. This may involve inspections of your truck and equipment. Additionally, Food Handler’s Permit is required for most food truck staff who will be handling food in any way.

Additional Permits (Depending on Location)

  • Fire Permit/Certificate: You must ensures your food truck meets fire safety codes.
  • Seller’s Permit: Needed if you plan to sell taxable items like prepared food or beverages.
  • Parking Permit: Government rules and regulations around parking your food truck will vary by location. So, You may need a special permit to operate in certain areas.
  • Special Event Permit: If you plan to participate in festivals or other events, you may need a separate permit for each event.
  • Commissary Agreement: This document verifies you have a commercially licensed kitchen space to store, prepare, or clean food when not operating the truck.

Other Important Documents

While not a permit, a well-crafted business plan is essential for securing funding and keeping your business on track. Additionally, You must get following insurance. which is General liability insurance and commercial auto insurance are crucial to protect your business from potential risks.

Finding Out What You Need

Now You almost getting answer for How to start a food truck business in USA. Finally, If you have any question, You will directly approach concern department. Which the best way to determine the exact documents. So you need is to contact your local health department or business licensing office. Because they can provide you with a comprehensive list of requirements specific to your area. Additionally, Websites of relevant government agencies in your area may also have helpful information. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and clarify any doubts you may have.

Key factors for food truck success

truck food business

Here are some key factors that can contribute to the success of a food truck business:

Concept and Menu

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is essential for food truck business. Here You get answer for following question. which is What makes your food truck stand out from the competition? Do you have a unique recipe, cuisine type, or fusion of flavors? Additionally, High-Quality Food is essential! Fresh ingredients, well-prepared dishes, and a focus on taste will keep customers coming back for more. When planning your menu, focus on a streamlined selection. It allows for better execution in a smaller kitchen space, making it easier for you to maintain quality and efficiency with fewer items.

Location and Operations

You should prioritize strategic locations when starting a food truck, seeking out high-traffic areas with plenty of potential customers. Look for lunch crowds near offices, parks during events, or areas with limited food options. Additionally, capitalize on the mobility advantage of your truck, allowing you to cater to different events or areas with high customer demand throughout the week. Finally, focus on operational efficiency by streamlining your processes for food preparation, ordering, and customer service. This ensures smooth operations and reduces wait times.

Marketing and Customer Engagement

You should develop a strong brand identity that reflects your food truck’s concept and personality. Then You utilize social media and eye-catching visuals to create a buzz. Same time You can promote your food truck, location updates, and daily specials through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. When You engage with customers, It build a community. Additionally, You must providing excellent customer service is essential. Finally, Friendly and efficient service keeps customers happy and encourages repeat business. So get positive online reviews that can also significantly boost your reach.

Financial Management

You should meticulously track your food inventory, supplies, and other expenses to control costs. But You Negotiate with suppliers for better deals and avoid overspending. When it comes to competitive pricing, ensure that you price your menu items competitively, considering food costs, operational expenses, and desired profit margin, offering value for money without compromising on quality. Additionally, You maintain a healthy cash flow to cover daily operations, unexpected costs, and potential investments in future growth.

Additional factors

Ensure you have all the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally in your area, and stay up-to-date on any health code regulations. Then Invest in reliable and efficient equipment for your mobile kitchen to ensure smooth operations and minimize downtime due to breakdowns. Additionally, You Must prioritize food safety by adhering to proper hygiene practices, storage procedures, and following safe food handling protocols.

Launch Food Truck Franchise

franchise model food truck business

Here You get the answer for how to start a food truck business with franchise opportunity. I am step by step telling about franchise model food truck business.

Launching a food truck franchise can be a great way to leverage an established brand and benefit from the franchisor’s experience. Here’s a roadmap to guide you through the process:

Research Franchise Opportunities

Identify your interests by considering what type of cuisine or concept aligns with your personal interests and culinary passions. Additionally, You consider Research franchise options which exploring established food truck franchises that operate in your target area. So, You must look for brands with a strong reputation and a proven track record of success. When considering franchises, carefully review the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) provided by each franchise you’re considering. This document outlines the franchise agreement, fees, territory restrictions, and ongoing support offered by the franchisor.

Evaluate Franchise Fit

You should understand the initial investment costs, ongoing fees (royalties, marketing fees), and any financial assistance offered by the franchisor. Then You can assess the level of training and support provided by the franchise. Because This typically includes operational procedures, marketing guidance, and ongoing field support. Additionally, You can ensure the brand’s values and target market align with your vision and goals. So, You should be passionate about representing the franchise and its offerings.

Develop Your Business Plan

You should conduct market analysis by researching your target market demographics, competitor landscape, and local food truck regulations in your desired location. Additionally, Financial projections should be created, considering your franchise fees, operational costs, and anticipated sales based on market research. Finally, develop an operational plan which outlining your daily operations, including staffing, inventory management, marketing strategies, and quality control procedures.

Secure Funding

You should explore your financing options like personal savings, small business loans, or potentially franchisor-provided financing programs to cover franchise fees, which can vary depending on the brand. Additionally, factor in the cost of purchasing or leasing a food truck and outfitting it with the necessary equipment according to the franchise specifications.

Franchise Approval and Training

Once you’ve chosen a franchise, you should submit a formal application and go through the franchisor’s approval process. You should also participate in the comprehensive training program offered by the franchise, covering everything from food preparation and recipe execution to marketing and customer service specific to the brand’s standards.

Launch and Operations

You should collaborate with the franchisor to identify suitable locations within your designated territory that comply with local regulations and offer high customer traffic potential. Additionally, You must ensure that you obtain all necessary permits and licenses required to operate your food truck in your chosen location. When it comes to your grand opening and marketing, develop a strategy to generate buzz around your launch, leveraging the franchise brand recognition and your local efforts through social media and community outreach.

Additional Tips

You should connect with existing franchisees of the brand to gain insights into their experiences, challenges, and areas for success. Additionally, You consider consulting with a franchise attorney to review the franchise agreement and ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities. Lastly, You maintain a strong relationship with the franchisor and utilize their ongoing support system to address any challenges you encounter.

By following these steps and conducting thorough research, you can increase your chances of launching and running a successful food truck franchise business. Remember, franchising offers a structured approach, but it also requires commitment to the brand’s standards and ongoing collaboration with the franchisor.

Major Cost Categories

Truck Cost (New or Used)

You can expect the food truck itself to be your biggest expense. A new, fully equipped food truck from a specialty dealer can range from $50,000 to $175,000 USD. Alternatively, a used truck might cost $20,000 to $80,000 USD, but you may need to budget for additional up-front costs for modifications to meet health regulations and your menu needs.

Permits and Licenses

In your location, obtaining the necessary permits and licenses to operate your food truck can vary, but generally falls between $5,000 and $10,000 USD.

You’ll need to invest in cooking equipment like grills, refrigerators, freezers, prep tables, and utensils, which will vary based on your menu, costing between $1,000 to $5,000 USD. Additionally, you’ll need to stock up on ingredients, packaging materials, and cleaning supplies for your initial inventory.

Additional Costs

You’ll find that many localities require food trucks to have access to a commissary kitchen space for food preparation, storage, and cleaning when not operating the truck. Rental fees for these spaces can vary by location and size, ranging from $200 to $1,000 USD per month.

When considering a Point-of-Sale (POS) system, you can utilize it to take orders, process payments, and track sales. Depending on the features you require, costs can vary, but you should anticipate spending $2,000 to $4,000 USD per year.

You can build brand awareness through social media, local advertising, or attending events, but it will involve some costs.

Total Estimated Cost

Here You must considering following factors which is the total cost to set up a food truck business in the USA can range from a minimum of $46,700 USD to $187,440 USD or even higher depending on your choices. You can expect a quick breakdown as follows:

Low-End Estimate: $20,000 (used truck) + $10,000 (permits) + $1,000 (equipment) + $5,000 (other costs) = $46,700 USD (minimum)

High-End Estimate: $175,000 (new truck) + $10,000 (permits) + $5,000 (equipment) + $12,000 (commissary kitchen for a year) + $4,000 (POS system) + $5,000 (marketing) = $187,440 USD (approx. maximum)

Tips for How to start a food truck business and saving on costs

  • Develop a Budget: You should create a detailed budget to track your startup expenses and identify areas where you can potentially cut costs.
  • Consider a Used Truck: You may find that a well-maintained used truck can be a cost-effective option, but remember to factor in potential renovation costs.
  • Prioritize Equipment: Focus on essential equipment for your menu and avoid overspending on unnecessary items.
  • Explore Financing Options: You should look into small business loans or equipment financing options to help manage the initial investment.
  • Negotiate with Suppliers: Negotiate bulk purchase discounts with food and beverage suppliers to save money.
  • Consider Renting Commissary Kitchen Space: Instead of committing to a permanent lease, consider renting commissary kitchen space only when needed to save on overhead costs.

Top Food Truck Franchise Providers in USA

Here are some of the top food truck franchise providers in the USA:

  • Captain D’s Seafood: They offer an alternative to the typical burger, pizza, and chicken options, potentially giving them an edge in the market.
  • Toppers Pizza: An established pizza chain that can provide you with name recognition and a proven menu.
  • Dairy Queen (DQ): A familiar brand offering soft serve ice cream and fast food, with a mobile food truck option.
  • Kona Ice: Established in 2007, Kona Ice specializes in serving shaved ice treats, offering a unique concept within the food truck industry.
  • Cafe2U: Founded in 2000, Cafe2U focuses on coffee and beverages, catering to busy professionals and people on the go.
  • Gigi’s Cupcakes: Specializes in cupcakes, offering a delicious dessert option for those with a sweet tooth.

It’s important to do your research beyond this list to find the best fit for you. Consider these factors when evaluating franchise opportunities:

  • Franchise Fees and Costs: Initial investment costs can vary depending on the franchise.
  • Training and Support: The level of training and support offered by the franchisor can significantly impact your success.
  • Brand Recognition: A well-established brand can give you a head start in attracting customers.
  • Target Market: Align the franchise concept with your interests and the demographics you want to target.

Pros and Cons of Food Truck Business in USA

Pros of a Food Truck Business

  • Lower startup costs compared to a brick-and-mortar restaurant
  • Operational flexibility to move to high-traffic areas and cater events
  • Ability to experiment with unique menus and cuisines
  • Potential for quick customer service and trendy atmosphere

Cons of a Food Truck Business

  • Limited space for food preparation and equipment
  • Dependence on weather conditions and location regulations
  • Long working hours and demanding physical work
  • Potential for intense competition in saturated markets

Overall, the food truck business model in the USA offers an accessible and exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs in the culinary industry. Additionally, The lower costs, operational flexibility, and potential for creativity make it a compelling option for those passionate about food and serving customers. So, By carefully planning your budget and exploring cost-saving measures, you can increase your chances of successfully launching your food truck business in the USA.


How to start a food truck business in USA?

Starting a food truck in the USA requires meticulous planning, legal compliance, and creative branding. Research your market, obtain permits, and secure financing. Acquire a truck, develop a menu, and find prime locations. Market effectively, establish operational procedures, and focus on growth through customer feedback and adaptation.

Is it possible to start a food truck with no prior experience?

Yes, it is possible to start a food truck business with no prior experience, but it will require dedication, research, and a willingness to learn. You must know challenges you are facing in this field which like (Industry Knowledge, Menu Development, Operations Management, and Marketing and Customer Acquisition). Additionally, You must know resources that are available for this business which like (Research and Education, Business Planning, Commissary Kitchen, Mobile Food Truck Associations, Permits and Licenses.).

How to start a food truck business with no money?

Starting a food truck business with no money requires resourcefulness and creativity. Consider alternative funding options like crowdfunding or seeking investors. Additionally, You could also start small by renting equipment or partnering with existing food truck operators. So, Building a strong brand and networking within the industry can also help secure partnerships or sponsorships.