A Step by Step Guide to Start Your Own Food Truck Business

A Step by Step Guide to Start Your Own Food Truck Business

Food trucks have lately become quite a rage lately in the evolving restaurant space. The advantage of mobility in Food Truck format gives owners access to multiple locations at an initial capital that is lower than that needed in opening a restaurant or any other kind of format. Thus, it is no wonder that restaurant owners are looking to invest in a Food Truck instead of an individual. In fact, this article will tell you why it is a better idea to open a Food Truck instead of a Standalone Restaurant here. In this article, we will take you through each and every step of starting your own food truck business.

How to Start a Food Truck Business

The following points will guide you through the process of opening a Food Truck Business.

1. Choosing the Right Food Truck or Commercial Vehicle.

The first thing to do is to choose the right truck or commercial vehicle. Based on the given menu which is Italian and Continental, you need a commercial vehicle which is 18-Feet long, and a new one would cost around Rs 7-8 lakhs. There are various trucks available in the market from Tata, Mahindra & Mahindra and Ashok Leyland. But to save costs you can start with an old truck which would cost half the price of the new one.  However, when buying an old commercial vehicle or truck one should check for proper fitness certificate, registration, road tax receipt, and insurance. Also, it should not be more than 5 years old, as due to pollution problems various state governments and environmental bodies are considering to ban 10-year-old commercial vehicles in different cities.

The old vehicle can further be modified and designed based on the requirement with an additional cost of Rs 1 lakh from the various bodybuilder shops. So, the total cost of the final truck (old) without kitchen equipment is Rs 5 lakhs. This cost seems to very high from the 450 sq ft shop for QSR whose rent is somewhere around Rs 40,000, but in the long run, the food truck cost would be negligible as there is no or very less rent or fees to pay depending upon the vicinity.

How to choose the right location for the Food Truck

Choose a street that doesn’t have too many similar food vendors around, has a regular flow of traffic for inviting large footfall, and has establishments with young professionals and students in the surrounding area. Also, the parking of truck should be such that it does not pose any hassle to commuters, yet should be visible to the people. Also, it is advisable to buy a light commercial vehicle rather than going for a big size heavy commercial vehicle because in certain cities including Delhi big size trucks are not allowed before 9:00 pm.

Read a detailed article on how to choose the best location for your restaurant or food business here.

Karan Malik gave his insights on how to start your own Food Truck business

2. Kitchen Equipment and Raw Materials Required for a Food Truck 

The total cost of kitchen equipment comes to around Rs 3 lakhs which includes Microwave, juicer mixer, freezer, refrigerators, griller, steamer, working tables, one burner, exhaust equipment, generator or big batteries with inverter. It is advisable going for new equipment as they are mostly electronic items. Since you get a one year warranty on new ones, you would be relieved of the daily maintenance cost of the equipment. However, if you choose the equipment carefully and determine which can be bought old, this can save you a lot of money which can be used for other essential activities. Apart from the kitchen equipment, you can store raw material for the first week which would cost somewhere around Rs 30,000. Further, it is advisable to keep the raw material less for the first few weeks so as to keep the stock fresh and study the pattern of sale and then procure more.

3. Licenses and Permits Required for Starting a Food Truck Business

Since there are no clear-cut laws pertaining to food trucks, the defined set of documents required are not present anywhere specifically. However, it is important to procure the following set of documents

  • Fire Safety Certificate
  • Shop and Establishment License
  • NOC from RTO
  • NOC from Municipal Corporation
  • FSSAI Mobile Vendor’s License
  • Kitchen Insurance

The combined paper and licensing work can cost you around Rs 50,000. There are a lot of consultancies which can help you to get the licensing and other permits.

4. Manpower Required for Your Food Truck

In the food truck format, a maximum of two chefs and one helper are required who can take care of the operations of the entire food truck. The average salary of Chefs can be somewhere around Rs 13k-15k while the helper’s salary can go up to a maximum of Rs 8000. If you want to set up a delivery model for the truck, you can hire two delivery boys or can tie-up with third-party logistics companies which charge somewhere around Rs 40-50 per delivery. However, to keep the service level up to the mark and if you are looking to create an identity in the foodservice market, we would like to advise you to hire at least one delivery boy who will also help you to procure raw materials in the case of emergencies rather than depending upon the third party logistics.

5. POS Software for Your Food Truck

It is always advisable to have a good point of sale software which can keep your data safe and give a detailed information about your inventory and sales. A good POS can be a make or break your food truck business in today’s competitive environment as a lot of restaurant players, QSR format, and other food businesses use customer data to get repeat orders and take customer feedback. A good basic software for point of sale can cost somewhere around Rs 24,000 per annum, i.e, Rs 2000 monthly.

6. Staff Uniform for Your Food Truck Employees

We have already discussed how important the staff uniform is when you start your first food venture in our previous article “How to start a QSR under Rs 5 lakh”. The staff uniform gives an overall brand feel to the business which will in return help you gain more trust among your customers. A normal collar t-shirt will cost somewhere around Rs 120, and since you have only 5 employees in this particular format, 2 chefs coats (2 each) which will cost around Rs 300 while rest of the employees can have a t-shirt and a cap. The combined cost of all the uniforms would not be more than Rs 6000-7000.

7. Marketing of Your Food Truck

Unlike QSR, Food Trucks require less number of menu pamphlets for distribution since the primary business of food truck is based on the footfall rather than delivery. Still to create the initial buzz, one can go for 15000 Pamphlets which will cost around Rs 20000 and some billboards and banners in the nearby catchment area which will cost around Rs 10000. However, in the new digital age creating offline buzz is not enough.

Having a presence on Social Media is a must, and as it would keep your customers and followers informed about the location of a food truck on any given day so as to build a regular flow of customers and build brand connect. Also, it can be used to leverage on existing followers to spread the word about the food truck, offering discounts, choosing new food items for the menu, etc. Find out how to do the digital marketing for your restaurant the right way here.

Apart from that, keep a note of events and community gatherings in the local area and park the food truck around. Tie-ups with event planners, personal contacts with customers, and free goodies like t-shirts and mugs carrying the food truck logo, can go a long way in spreading and expanding the business.

8. Other things Required to Start a Food Truck Business

Apart from the aforementioned things, while starting the food truck, you require things like two mobile phones, calculator, attendance register, daily book, 2-3 big dustbins to keep the area clean, etc. These items may cost you somewhere around Rs 10k.

Cost involved to start your Food Truck business

Unlike other food business formats, the food truck business has its own pros and cons\, such as the location which is a problem for other formats but here the owner of the food truck can decide the location based on the market information and research, with no rent to be paid, no electricity bills, less capital required and low operational costs.

On the flip side, the food truck business is quite uncertain as there are no proper framework or guidelines to operate but if things are done carefully and responsibly, this format can be rated as the best food format in terms of returns in comparison to the investments made. The investments made in the food truck business is slightly higher than the QSR format but the good thing is that the overall operational cost is much less than a QSR or restaurant in a long run.

Apart from the regular business which has a minimum Rs 8000-9000 sales per day, a food truck can also make money from various events and catering. A single event or catering can generate earnings up to Rs 30,000 in a day.

Inputs are taken from Karan Malik, Owner of Supersuckers Food Truck.


      • Are you ready to join with us
        we are a group of people investing for food truck business. Not only investing, you should work with us.

        • any plan for Chennai….as i am looking to start the same in Chennai (first). then would be expand to other cities ( its a aggressive business plan I am working won). Roy@ 09611531093

        • i want to join with your group.my contact number is 9920216395,i have fast food shop in malad,but due to more rent and deposit there is less return on investment.

        • Hi Team,
          I am a Hospitality Graduate from Mumbai with 8 years experience in Hotels, I am currently in Bhilwara – Rajasthan.
          This place has a massive spending capacity and is in the centre of tourist spots like Udaipur and Ajmer.
          The concept of Food Trucks is not here come here, but has a massive potential if marketed and set up well.
          I am currently looking for an investor or a well versed team to help me set up shop here as all the government officials and liasoning agents are on great terms.
          Do let me know if we can enter into this venture together, as I am really hoping to commence this asap.

          Rohit Karnik

  1. Thanks for given budget details and planning.Is there any ideas to share with the solutions.Can you provide your number.I’m planning to start this business with two partners.I need take special training in chef.i would like to learn cooking with different varieties.I know for home level but need to learn profession.

    Do you have idea for this training.

  2. Thanks for a detailed break up. It can be a big help do understand the most import part of business, finance management. I feel it makes a lot of sense to focus on the most important aspects of food truck business , i.e food and the items one offers. There is a lot of competition growing in this market as well…but it is important to understand that quality prevails. Also to be frank, the other cost factor that is not quoted (may be intentionally) in the above break up it all the ‘chai pani’ that you need to cater to undesired but frequent guests.
    But in nutshell, a good source of information. Good luck to all the entrepreneurs.

  3. I Have a quick question. i am keen start a food truck business in Delhi NCR however want the truck to be a movable one not stationed. so basically it will be stationed in one place for few hours and then move to other place. is it possible? if yes then do we need take licenses and permissions from all the local authorities where the truck will be stationed? your help will be greatky appreciated.

  4. i am planning to set up this business only and from this article i really get the help or detailed info about business really thankyou

  5. Hey Food Truck Team, I have prior experience in the catering business but it’s run from home by my family. I want to start something of my own based out of Chennai. Can invest around 5 lakhs and work full time. Look forward to partnering with you if everything works out great. You can reach me at 9176460786 – Tauseef.

  6. Hey peeps… m intrested in food business… nd having all restro equipments… bt d major problem is funds, which i dnt have, nd i need intresting patner, who is intrested nd ready to do initial investment… m hvng 1nd half yr experience of running restro in delhi too, so if ny1 is intrested to do Patnership with me… plz contact me for further queries…


  7. Investor can contact me as i have few ideas regarding it……Moreover i have a team to do more startups
    Help me guys….

  8. I am planning to start food truck in NCR region i.e. NOIDA. This is one of the best information I got from the above article.

    If anyone interested may contact me on 9594273053

  9. Hi Food Track team,
    I am planning to start this business in Pune’s one of the IT hub Magarpatta, would like to take your help. Below is my contact details

    • Hi Sandhya,

      I’m planning to start a Food Business in Delhi /NCR, can you help me with a lead to guide me with the paper work for food business
      You can reach me on 8468833933

  10. Thanks Karan for providing useful information.
    I am planning for Bangalore east. Looking for like minded persons. You can reach me on 9964521177

  11. I would like to join for bangalore location. My number is 9986874763. Please contact me guys for further communication and updates.


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