Food Truck 101: How to Start and Grow a Food Truck Business in Dubai

Food Truck Guide Dubai

Food trucks are gaining popularity in the evolving restaurant space. The advantage of mobility in the food truck format has given operators access to multiple locations at an initial capital lower than a restaurant of any other format. According to statistics, in 2019, the overall revenue stream from food trucks grew by $985M. It is no surprise that foodpreneurs are looking for ways to invest in a food truck instead of going for a traditional restaurant. In this article, we will take you through each step of starting your own food truck business in Dubai.

How To Start A Food Truck Business In Dubai

It is essential to create a food truck business plan that acts as a roadmap to your food truck’s future growth. Execute the strategies mentioned below in the most effective ways to start your food truck business in Dubai. 

1. Choose The Right Commercial Vehicle

The first thing to do while starting a food truck business is to choose the right truck or commercial vehicle. Based on the selected menu, you need a commercial vehicle that is at least 18-feet long. 

To save costs initially, you can opt for a used truck that would be cheaper than a brand new one. If you choose an old commercial vehicle, it can be modified and designed based on the requirement with an additional cost from the various bodybuilder shops. 

2. Choose The Right Location For Your Food Truck

One must opt for a location that doesn’t have too many similar food vendors around, attracts massive footfall, and does not obstruct traffic or violate zoning laws. Remember to park in an open ground such that it does not pose any hassle to commuters, but is still visible to them. It is also advisable to go for a light commercial vehicle rather than going for a big size heavy commercial vehicle initially. 

3. Kitchen Equipment And Raw Materials Required To Start a Food Truck

The kitchen equipment for a food truck mainly includes a microwave, freezer, refrigerators, juicer mixer, griller, steamer, working tables, exhaust equipment, one burner, generator, or big batteries with an inverter. It is recommended to purchase new equipment as it comes with a one year warranty and you would be relieved of the daily maintenance costs of the equipment.

Apart from the kitchen equipment, procure raw material for at least the first week. Also, it is advisable to source less raw material for the first few weeks to keep it fresh and procure more stock later on after studying the sales pattern.

Why You Should Open a Food Truck Instead of a Regular Restaurant

4. Licenses & Permits 

Dubai sets strict standards when it comes to running a food truck. Obtaining a food truck license in Dubai is a complex process, but it is necessary to obtain these licenses to prevent legal hassles. One must first receive approvals from the Dubai Municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the Department of Economic Development (DED), and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

It is essential to first submit the detailed business plan to the DED and the Dubai Municipality as both bodies must approve the business plan. Licensing laws in Dubai are strict, but in many cases, it is possible to receive a food truck license and all the other relevant approvals in as little as 30 days.

5. Staff Required For Your Food Truck 

One can start a food truck business with a maximum of two chefs and one helper. If you want to set up a delivery model for the food truck, you can either hire two or more delivery boys or tie-up with third-party logistics services. However, to keep the services to the mark, it is advisable that you employ at least one delivery boy who will also help you procure raw materials rather than depending upon third party logistics.

6. POS Software For Your Food Truck

It is always advisable to invest in a good point of sale software, which will help keep your data safe and provide detailed information about your inventory and sales. A good POS system can make or break your business as many food businesses utilize customer data to get repeat orders and improve the business. 

7. Marketing Your Food Truck

Unlike traditional restaurant formats, food trucks require fewer menu pamphlets distribution as the primary business is based on footfall rather than delivery. Nevertheless, to create the initial buzz, one can go for a mix of outdoor advertising and social media. 

Social media marketing can help you keep your customers and followers informed about the food truck’s location in real-time, attract referrals, and build brand connect. It can also be used to leverage existing followers to spread the word about the food truck, offer discounts, choose new food items for the menu, etc. 

Apart from that, you must keep a note of various cultural and culinary events such as food truck festivals or community gatherings in your local area of operations. Tie-ups with event planners, and offering free goodies like t-shirts and mugs carrying the food truck logo can go a long way in spreading and expanding the restaurant business.

Like other food business formats, the food truck business also has its pros and cons. It provides you the advantage of mobility or the ability to reach new audiences which is not possible in other restaurant formats. The operator can decide the site based on the market analysis, with no excessive rent to be paid, no hefty electricity bills, less capital, and low operational costs.

On the contrary, the food truck business is quite uncertain as there is no proper framework or guidelines to operate. However, when appropriate guidelines are followed, this format can be rated as the best food format in terms of ROI. 

Follow these tips and kickstart your very own food truck business in Dubai. 

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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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