A food truck business is a business that sells food from a truck. Food trucks are designed to service areas where it might be difficult to quickly construct a restaurant such as carnival sites, construction sites, sporting event centers, campgrounds, beaches et al.

Food trucks also take advantage of places like campuses, office complexes, military bases, mechanical village, industrial parks, farmer’s markets, cinemas, and religious centers to sell their foods, snacks, and drinks.

There are over 502 food trucks in Florida and Florida happens to be the state with the third highest number of food trucks in the United States of America. Interestingly, the food truck business has been on the increase in Florida and the yearly food truck revenue ranges between $250,000 and $500,000.

Steps on How to Start a Food Truck Business in Florida

  1. Conduct Market Research

If you are considering starting a food truck business in Florida, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your food truck business should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, information that will give you reliable data on what your potential market will be looking out for from a food truck business and also help you operate your food truck business with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.

a. Who is the Target Market for Food Truck Business?
  • Facility managers
  • Event Planners
  • Tourists
  • Everyone who resides in the location where you intend to sell your food.
b. Is Food Truck Business a Profitable Business in Florida?

Yes, the food truck business is profitable in Florida. According to Off the Grid’s Matthew Cohen, most trucks are making an annual revenue of around $250,000 to $500,000, while the top 25 percent bring in upwards of $1 million.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to the food truck business. They include;

  • All meals food truck
  • Snacks and drinks food truck
  • Gourmet food truck
  • Vegan food truck
  • BBQ and grilled food truck
  • Organic and local fare
  • Ice cream
  • Ethnic fusion
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Peru Power Food Truck
  • Cruisin Cuisine
  • Worldwide Bistro
  • Heavy’s Food Truck
  • Treehouse Truck
  • The Bearded Chef
  • Melted Madness
  • Nutri Truck
  • SMAC Food Truck
  • Taco Bus
  • Jimmy’s Slider Truck
  • Cuban Guys
  • JAK’s Ohana
  • Smoke in the City BBQ
  • Adam’s Filling Station on Wheels
  • The Big Cheese Truck
  • Alma Food Truck
  • Red Roc Cravings
  • Casablanca Fusion
  • Uncle Eddie’s Bar-B-Q.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Food Truck Business in Florida?

Yes, there are county or state regulations or zoning laws for the food truck business in Florida. Towns, cities, and counties have zoning restrictions, designating commercial and noncommercial zones. While you may be mobile, you can’t park just anywhere in Florida.

Most areas limit food trucks, trailers, buses, and carts to specific locations. A list of where you can and can’t park should be available from the county clerk. You may also have to adhere to two-hour parking restrictions and pay for parking meters.

Please note that trucks are required to stop at motor carrier safety and weight inspection stations when signs direct them to do so.

f. Is There a Franchise for Food Truck Business in Florida?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for the food truck business. Here are some of them;

  • Kono Pizza.
  • Captain D’s Seafood.
  • ZooHoo’s Eatery.
  • Johnny Rockets.
  • Gandolfo’s Deli.
  • Cafe2U
  • Toppers Pizza.
  • Cousins Maine Lobster.
g. What Do You Need to Start a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Food Trucks
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • Insurance
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • IRP Plates
  • Employees
  • Commercial Kitchen
  • Food Ingredients and Packaging Materials
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a food truck business are;

Creative Food Truck Business Name ideas
  • Jacksonville City© Food Truck, Inc.
  • Miami Meals ® Food Truck, LLC
  • Tampa Justice© Food Truck, Inc.
  • Food Solutions® Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Meal King™ Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Green Line™ Food Truck Company, LLC.
  • Orlando Guys© Food Truck Company, LLC
  • Pine Hills® Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Boynton Beach© Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Town ‘n’ Country© Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • North Port® Food Truck Company, LLC
  • The Villages® Food Truck Company, LLC
  • Port Charlotte™ Food Truck Company, LLC
  • The Hammocks© Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Wesley Chapel® Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Coconut Creek™ Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Bonita Springs™ Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Winter Haven© Food Truck Company, Inc.
  • Cutler Bay® Food Truck Company, LLC
  • North Lauderdale™ Food Truck Company, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Food Truck businesses in Florida?

When it comes to the business structure of a food truck business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • General Business License
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Proof of ownership, proper identification, and vehicle license
  • Proof of district-issued food manager identification card
  • Food purchase record storage and record keeping
  • Depot, commissary, or service support facility meets vending unit operation needs
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report.
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Food Truck Business in Florida?

You don’t need any certifications to start a food truck business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval (For your kitchen and parking)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • Food Handlers’ License
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a food truck business in Florida, you may not need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Food Truck Business in Florida?

A food truck business will cost from $50,000 – $600,000 to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives. For example, the price of a food truck depends largely on its size, and light duty class 2 and 3 trucks run from $25,000 to $45,000. Medium duty class 4 trucks run from $35,000 to $50,000. Medium duty class 5 trucks run from $45,000 to $70,000.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Food Truck Business in Florida
  • The total fee for registering the Business in the United States of America – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services (software, P.O.S machines, and other software) – $28,000.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening for $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of – $3,580.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  • Other start-up expenses include stationery ($500) and phone and utility deposits ($2,500).
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, fueling of the food trucks, purchase of gas, payments of bills et al) – $30,000
  • The cost for start-up inventory (food ingredients, flours, coffee, and other drinks and packaging materials et al) – $15,000
  • The cost of storage hardware (bins, rack, shelves, food case) – $3,720
  • The cost for counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.) – $5,500
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,750
  • The cost of purchase of a food truck – $30,000
  • The cost of launching a website – $600
  • The cost for the opening party – $5,000
  • Miscellaneous – $5,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • The size of the food truck business (number of trucks you intend to start the business with)
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the food truck business
  • The cost for furnishing and equipping the food truck business – commercial kitchen inclusive
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost of the grand opening of the food truck business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not compulsory to build a new commercial kitchen or parking facility for your food truck business.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • Food ingredients and serving materials
  • Gas
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Trucks maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $38,000 Per Year
  • Manager – $30,000 Per Year
  • Food Truck Drivers – $26,800 Per Year
  • Kitchen Staff – $26,500 Per Year
  • Attendants – $26,100 Per Year
  • Cleaners -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

North Lauderdale™ Food Truck Company, Inc. is a registered and licensed food truck company that will be based in North Lauderdale, Florida but will operate all across major cities in Florida serving delicious meals and drinks.

North Lauderdale ™ Food Truck Company, Inc. has been able to secure all relevant licenses and permits to operate throughout Florida and other cities in the United States. We will ensure that we abide by the rules and regulations guiding the food truck industry and we will only hire experienced and qualified drivers with valid commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).

b. Products and Service
  • Food and Snacks
  • Drinks
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to create a business that will take food and drinks to our customers wherever they may be located through our well-equipped food trucks.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to set a standard for the food truck industry in Florida

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a food truck business are to service areas where it might be difficult to quickly construct the convention restaurant. Food trucks are also suitable for places like campuses, office complexes, military bases, mechanical villages, industrial parks, farmer’s markets, cinemas, and religious centers to sell their foods, snacks, and drinks.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Manager
  • Food Truck Drivers
  • Kitchen Staff
  • Attendants
  • Cleaners

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Excellent operational history
  • Superb menu list
  • Experience and trained professionals.
  • Well-equipped food truck.
  • Excellent customer testimonials.
  • Reliable and efficient food trucks and service.
  • The owner is new to large-scale marketing
  • We will need a loan to purchase the latest food trucks and commercial kitchen equipment
  • The owner is currently running the business solo
  • Lack of economies of scale.
  • Growing outdoor activities
  • Build upon existing clientele
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • An increase in the number of families that want to patronize food trucks.
  • Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
  • The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
  • Competition in the area could increase
  • Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
  • The state regulatory department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses.
b. How Do Food Truck Businesses Make Money?

Food truck businesses make money by selling foods and drinks.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your food truck brand by sending introductory letters to residents, park managers, and other stakeholders in and around the city you intend to cover.
  • Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to sell your foods and drinks and promote your food truck company
  • Advertise your food truck in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List our business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Leverage the internet and mobile apps to promote your food truck brands
  • Engage in direct marketing and sales
  • Brand your food truck
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

Most food truck businesses charge based on the quantity of food or drink sold and it could range from $1 and above.

b. How Much Profit Do Food Truck Business Owners Make a Year in Florida?

It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a food truck business should net a profit of more than $80,000 per year assuming they have a steady clientele.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the food truck business (number of food trucks owned)
  • The location the food truck business is covering
  • The management style of the food truck business
  • The business approach of the food truck business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the food truck business.
  • The number of years the food truck is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Food Truck Business?

The profit margin of a food truck business is not fixed. It could range from 25 percent to 55 percent.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a food truck business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in Florida;

  • First Fiscal Year: $220,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $380,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $450,000
  1. Set Up your Shop 

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • The demography and population in the location
  • The demand for the type of food and drinks offered by food truck businesses in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of food truck businesses, and food retailers in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What Cities are Best to Open a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Tampa
  • Orlando
  • Petersburg
  • Hialeah
  • Port St. Lucie
  • Tallahassee
  • Cape Coral
  • Fort Lauderdale.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Food Truck Business in Florida?

You should be prepared to purchase gas cookers, ovens, deep freezer, computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine, and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard food truck business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), manager, kitchen staff, attendants, drivers, and cleaners.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

No food truck business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

With a proper launching of the food truck business, you will officially inform people in your city that your food truck is open for business.

a. What Makes a Food Truck Business Successful in Florida?
  • Choose a good location, good menu, and reliable food trucks to launch the business
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your food truck business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your food truck business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Food Truck Business?
  • The business is open for the day
  • The food trucks are washed, cleaned, and ready for business
  • Food and drinks are prepared
  • Customer requests are taken and they are attended to
  • Maintenance of the food truck is carried out
  • Marketing/website upkeep
  • Supply ordering
  • Administrative duties
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Food Truck Business in Florida?
  • Good culinary skills
  • Good driving skills
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Business management skills
  • Work experience in a food truck industry
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling relevant software.