March 20, 2017 05:34 PM
The founder and editor of Mobile Cuisine reveals where to park your food truck to rake in the revenue.
Get strategic about where you park your food truck and make sure to advertise your location to followers through social media. (Photo: Gary Perkin/Shutterstock)
The food truck industry is exploding. According to Food Truck HQ statistics from 2016, it grew 12.4 percent over a five-year period, and this year, it will become a $2.7 billion market.
Because there is so much competition, truck owners need to be strategic about where they park. This is especially true in the warmer months, when people are spending time outdoors and want a quick bite to eat on the go.
If you run a food truck and want to increase your revenue this spring and summer by parking in great locations, take the following advice from Richard Myrick, founder and editor in chief of Mobile Cuisine and author of “Running a Food Truck For Dummies.”
Of course, once you choose your location, you’ll want to advertise it on your Twitter feed and on food truck locator apps such as Roaming Hunger and Food Trucks Inn so hungry customers can find you.
Office buildings. “It’s always good to find high density locations where people work,” said Myrick. “Then they can pop out of their offices, have a quick bite to eat or bring their food back to their desks.” If you don’t make typical lunch food, don’t worry. “Quite a few dessert trucks don’t operate a lunch shift but will show up at 1 p.m. for people who have eaten lunch and want a cupcake or another sweet,” said Myrick. Before setting up on the street, check your city’s parking rules. If the city doesn’t allow commercial food trucks to park on the street, even in metered spots, ask local parking lots for permission to set up there.
High-volume service businesses. Myrick recommended teaming up with local businesses such as car dealerships. “People end up taking their cars in for service and they sit around,” he said. “They’ll order something.”
Auctions and real estate sales. These events can pay off because there may be hundreds of people coming through on a given day, said Myrick.
Universities. Talk to the university about offering a deal whereby students can use their meal plans to purchase from you, advised Myrick. “Otherwise, food trucks are a bit expensive for your average college student.”
The cell phone lot at the airport. “Instead of idling in their cars waiting for the flights to show up, they can go to a food truck, get a quick bite to eat, not have a mess in their car and then pick up their friends and family,” said Myrick.
Take advantage of the late-night crowd and contact local bars about a possible partnership. (Photo: Catwalk Photos/Shutterstock)
Bars. If you serve food that will appeal to the late-night crowd, reach out to local bars to see if they want to partner with you. When their kitchens close, your truck can pull up and offer sustenance. Myrick said bars are open to this kind of partnership because “they can keep customers ordering drinks and feed them at the same time.”
Private lots. In some cities, you’ll find private lots where food trucks park and wait for customers to come to them. They’ll be set up on a daily or weekly basis, and food truck vendors pay a small fee to park there. According to Myrick, the lot owners do most of the promotion, so it may be worth it to set up shop there.
Parks and beaches. Especially in the summer, parks and beaches are excellent places to take your truck. However, a lot of coastal towns don’t allow trucks on the roads surrounding beaches because they’re protecting the restaurants there, said Myrick. Some towns, like Chicago, have their own concession program and don’t want private food trucks pulling up to their parks. If you are able to go to the parks and beaches, make sure you’re close to some seating areas and restrooms, Myrick suggested.