Setting Up A Sustainable Food Truck In 2023

Sustainable food truck business

Sustainability is a concept that has gained popularity everywhere, including in the restaurant industry. It is the key to a long-lasting and effective F&B business. When it comes to food trucks, a lack of sustainability can give rise to multiple problems. For a mobile business like food trucks catering to multiple locations, it is relatively harder to keep everything clean and be eco-friendly. Setting up a sustainable food truck is, therefore, a new concept. 

Food trucks generate large volumes of plastic products consisting of disposable glasses, plates, and other cutlery, which leads to the build-up of toxins in the environment travelling from one place to another. It is thus essential for the food truck owners to build a business sustainable enough to not pollute the environment and last long. 

7 Ways To Set Up A Sustainable Food Truck

In the previous articles, we talked about how to open a food truck, why your food truck needs a website and tips related to tax saving and insurance. In this article, we have put together some ways to help you make your food truck business green and sustainable. 

Here are some ways you can build a green food truck business: a business that is sustainable and lasts long.

1. Inspect Your Vehicle

It is important for every food entrepreneur to maintain one’s food truck. Sustainability comes when you make sure that your vehicle is not harming the environment or incurring extra repair costs. It is no brainer that inspecting your vehicle regularly extends its longevity. For example, a food truck with an old battery or transmission increases fuel consumption, thereby emitting more toxic gases into the atmosphere. 

Not just this, it could increase your insurance and maintenance costs. Therefore, inspect your vehicle on a regular basis to avoid incurring extra costs and decrease the likelihood of serious fatalities that might occur due to damaged truck parts. 

2. Source Your Raw Materials Locally

Through its “vocal for local” campaign, the government is encouraging consumers to buy from local vendors. Although the campaign was primarily aimed at supporting the local communities amidst COVID-19, it has a huge significance in terms of maintaining sustainability for businesses like food trucks. It is a better option to rely on local vendors to build a sustainable supply chain as opposed to getting raw materials transported from far-off places.

This procurement strategy not only cuts down on the transportation cost but also rids the raw materials from the preservatives added to keep the raw materials fresh. When you source your raw materials from local sources, they are actually fresh. Furthermore, they are a lot more tastier as they are brought to you directly from the farms, grown locally by eco-friendly means. Moreover, locally sourced raw materials are not just limited to plants and green products, you can also go for organic meats instead of imported ones. 

3. Design Your Menu Efficiently

Menu engineering is one of the most important aspects of running a food truck. You have to put your brains into building a sustainable food truck menu. To design your menu efficiently, choose dishes whose ingredients can be crossed over and used. Simply stating, try creating a menu in which one ingredient can be utilized to build multiple dishes. This eliminates waste and decreases the load on inventory.

You can eliminate the usage of paper to design your menu. Instead, you can put up a board that displays all your items or facilitate the usage of QR codes for the customers to access the menu directly on their phones. 

Sustainable food truck
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Avoid Overusing Resources

Right from childhood, we are taught to save as many resources as possible as they are limited in nature. For example, high consumption of electricity or gas is a clear sign of an unsustainable business.

For setting up sustainable food trucks, one must come up with efficient energy-saving strategies and abide by them. You should always look for ways to cut down on energy usage, for instance, turn off electrical appliances wherever possible. Opt for roof-top solar panels, portable low-cost sinks, etc. 

Another way of setting up sustainable food trucks is switching to alternate fuels. A mobile business like food trucks consumes a lot of fuel while moving from one place to another, thereby emitting heavy toxins into the air. You can switch to biodiesel made from animal fat or vegetable oil. Natural gas-based electric generators are also good alternatives to diesel-based ones. 

5. Reduce Waste 

From fine-dine restaurants and QSRs to food trucks, every restaurant format is familiar with the huge cost of food wastage. Expired raw materials, spilt food, food wasted during serving, spoiled food, incorrect order taking, leftovers; all of these are the food wastes generated from a restaurant format.

Limiting the menu and cross utilizing the ingredients reduces waste to a great extent. You can encourage your patrons or provide them with reusable, non-toxic, green containers to take home the leftovers. Find out more ways to reduce food waste here

6. Leverage Social Media For Marketing

Flyers, pamphlets and posters are now an old concept. As soon as a customer receives a flyer, it is either made into an airplane or lands up in the bin. Most customers don’t read the flyer at that very moment. If you keep relying on offline marketing, it is highly likely that you won’t be able to market your outlet successfully.

Therefore, to make your food truck business more sustainable, eliminate the use of paper pamphlets and flyers and switch to something more useful and environmentally friendly.  Take your food truck online and market yourself digitally. In this technologically advanced world, you might lag behind if you don’t leverage the power of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. By encouraging people to tag you in their posts, use the right hashtags, etc. you can successfully grow your business.

7. Use Eco-friendly Equipment

Going green means entirely changing your food truck operations to being environmentally friendly. The packaging that your food truck uses creates a lot of difference. It is recommended to switch from plastic and non-biodegradable packaging to material that is eco-friendly. Many renowned brands like Burger King and Starbucks have already shifted to eco-friendly packaging setting an example for all the other SMEs. If they can go for it, why can’t you?

You can use recyclable materials like paper to create cups, containers, straws, cutlery, and even carry bags. This will cost you less as well as have a relatively lesser impact on the environment. You can partner with popular eco-friendly packaging companies like Ecoware, or go for offline vendors as well. 

While food trucks are appealing to customers, a tinch of sustainability can be the cherry on top. It doesn’t take much to go green. Implement the aforementioned tips in your food truck business and contribute more than what you usually do. Not to mention, attract a more environmentally conscious crowd and increase your sales.

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Daniel McCarthy is a seasoned restaurant consultant and serves as the Communication Manager at Restroworks, a prominent F&B SaaS company. Drawing from his vast knowledge of leveraging innovative technological solutions, Daniel excels at enhancing restaurant operations and revenue, thereby contributing to the ongoing transformation of the industry.


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