Food Cart Or Food Truck: Which Is The More Profitable Small Food Business?

Food Cart Or Food Truck, Which Is The More Profitable Small Food Business?

The concept of the food truck and food carts is gaining a lot of popularity lately. These have emerged to be two of the most lucrative small food business formats to venture into by all who are planning to step a foot in the F&B industry for the first time. However, there is a persistent confusion or a debate per say, on which is a more profitable format, a food truck or a food cart. While a food cart and a food truck are both quite similar, there are still some major differences that need to be considered while deciding which small business format you should actually put your hands in. 

1. Starting a Food Cart Business

A food cart, in clear words, is essentially a mobile kitchen, that is established on the street to facilitate the sales of the street food to people from the local pedestrian. Food carts are often found in relatively bigger cities. Food cart generally serves any variety of food, starting from ice creams to candy floss.
There are two types of food carts:

  • One that allows the vendor to sit or stand inside and serve food through a window.
  • Another type used all of the room inside the cart for storage and to keep the cooking machinery, usually grilling surface, inductions and the like.

The food cart style is generally determined by the type of food that food cart owner is planning to serve in the cart.

Find out how to start a Food Cart Business here.

(i) The Benefits Of Starting A Food Cart Business

It goes without saying that there are various positive sides of a food cart which has made this format the most desired one. The main reasons for which food carts have become such a favourite format are:

  • Excessively Low Investment: The initial cost involved in setting up a food cart is excessively low. If you are a first timer in the F&B industry, your main concern will be to shield yourself against all the possibilities of incurring a loss. This concern makes this format so desirable, since the investment is low, even if the food cart incurs a loss, it will not be a major blow for the owner.
  • Movable: If you have the intention of moving around the city, then a food cart will be very beneficial for you. You can move a food cart simply by pushing it!
  • Build A Great Customer Relationship: With a food cart, you will have the opportunity to build a great relationship with your customers since you will be dealing with them personally. You will be able to understand their likes and preferences and thus deliver them food rather quickly.

(ii) Downsides of Starting a Food Cart

  • Having mentioned all the positive sides of owning a food cart does not, however, mean that there are no negative sides attached to it. If you planning to start a food cart then you must also know about the various side effects that it comes with:
  • Space Crunch: It is more than obvious that space will be a serious concern in a food cart. Not only will there be a hygiene issue, since most of the food in the cart will be left in the open, the person serving the food will not have a proper shelter exposing the person in the harsh sunlight or such other extreme weather.
  • Transport Will Not Be Possible: Unless your food cart is located near your shelter location, you will need to have some other options to transport your cart from your service location to your shelter location daily. Hence, you may require some form of a trailer to tow your food cart, which then requires additional towing licenses.
  • Menu Limitation: You will be forced to have a limited menu in your food cart. This is simply because there is a problem in storage when it comes to the food cart. You can hardly keep a bulk of raw material in your cart since you cannot estimate the footfall our customers in your cart. Hence, this limits your scope of innovation when it comes to menu items.

2. Starting a Food Truck Business

Having discussed the food cart we are now diving into the domain of food truck business.
Food trucks are clean, convenient and capable of serving a wide variety of mouth-watering street food. You can have fresh food prepared and served to your customers right away.

Find out how to open a Food Truck business here.

(i) The Benefits Of Starting A Food Truck

There is no doubt that a number of benefits that are attached to the food truck business. These are:

  • Low Investment: The initial investment and the operating cost is less. And you can start a food truck faster if compared to other restaurant formats. Hence, it makes food truck a great avenue for first-time entrepreneurs to enter the food industry and learn about the food and beverage industry on the go.
  • Variety Of Food Items: Since the food is made and kept in the truck which is an enclosed area, the truck can store and serve a variety of food, while maintaining the hygiene of the food served.
  • Movable: A food truck is a highly movable vehicle. This gives you the feasibility to shift your food truck from one place to the other with ease. This is something that a food cart cannot offer. Since you can change your location of your service easily, it gives you the opportunity to explore the various markets and increase your scope of garnering profit.

The Downsides to Starting a Food Truck

While opening a Food Truck instead of a full-fledged restaurant is, of course, more viable since it is significantly lower in terms of investment, this makes

  • Not Enough Investment: Since, the input of capital in this business is not much, there are various things that cannot be done. For example, bringing in new innovations on the menu, buying better equipment, hiring more staff, or getting a better and a more efficient food truck. You need to have a proper fund and budget to handle the daily operations and for some unwanted emergency, which might not always be available taking into consideration the budget of the food truck.
  • Creating A Brand: Branding might be one of the most difficult things that a food truck owner might encounter. Since you would be competing with 
  • And without branding, it will rather be difficult for a food truck to scale in its business.
  • Not Selecting the Proper Location: Most of the times food truck owners select the location of its service without doing a proper market research. Hence, they fail to attract the expected customer footfall.

There are various instances when the concept of the food cart and food trucks has attracted the attention of the media. This is especially when they have gone out of their way to do something for the society. There has been a media coverage of how a food truck was serving free meals to all single mothers and their children. Trying and engaging your food carts and food trucks in such social affairs that will not only increase your reputation in the market but will also help you to attract new customers. These shows that these low investment formats if run properly, garner enough profit to indulge in such social activities.

food cart vs food truck comparison

This comparison will help you to select the format that will ensure that you see the influx of customers and profits at your establishment.
It is true that the cost of opening a cart is much less than opening a food truck, and you can definitely go for food cart if you are planning to invest less. However, a food truck, on the other hand, is more credible, unless you are opening a food cart in a high-end shopping complex.

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