Starting your own food truck business

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Starting your own food truck business

This new generation of mobile catering has taken Australia by storm with over 150 active food trucks in Australian capital citiesi. Both Sydneyii and Melbourneiii have a very active food truck culture providing diners with a variety of culinary options to choose from including Mexican, Jamaican, Greek, American and Chinese.

You don't need a large kitchen to create fantastic meals for customers on the go.

Food trucks provide fast and accessible dining options for busy workday lunches or catering for corporate events and are quickly becoming popular at festivals and other outdoor eventsiv. The Vivid light festival in Sydney incorporated food trucksv into the 18 day festival which attracted crowds of over one million peoplevi.

Getting started

It is essential to check whether you need to have a trained Food Safety Supervisor present while food is being served to ensure that safe handling practices are followed because you will otherwise risk being finedvii. While it generally depends on the type of food on offerviii, each city, council or state will have its own rules and regulations surrounding safety and licensing. Most will require food safety certifications and proof of proper insuranceix.

Food trucks are known for being fun and novel through their menu offerings and overall concepts, with each truck offering diners a unique experience. Take some time to research what other food trucks are offering in your area to be sure that your idea is different. When planning your menu, consider including dishes that are easy to make on the go or can be prepared ahead of time with finishing touches added when being served. Also be aware that your menu may affect where you are able to trade. For example in Sydney, food trucks are not allowed to operate within 50 metres of an established takeaway business serving the same or similar types of foodx.

Building a customer base

One of the benefits of being a mobile vendor is the ability to go directly to your customers, wherever they may be. As long as you are operating within your licensed area, travelling from location to location makes it easier for more people to find out who you are and what you have to offer. Booking events, attending festivals in your area and listing your business on specialised directory websites, such as Where the Truck, are all excellent ways to increase your customer base.

According to the Food Forward 2014 survey, gourmet burgers are expected to be the next big trend in the Australian food scenexi.

Investing in promotion, especially through social media, is an important aspect of raising brand awarenessiv. Having a strong web presence and being active on social media makes it easy for customers to locate you and share their experiences with your business on social media platforms.

Identifying the right opportunity

A recent study of over 1,000 Australian consumers, food bloggers and chefs reveals plenty of emerging trends in the Australian food scene that savvy food truck owners could put to use. The study indicates that Australians are increasingly looking for gourmet dining experiences with a casual feel that won't leave their wallets emptyxi.

Allianz may be able to assist with Business insurance, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Mobile business which involves cooking of food or deep frying may also be excluded from obtaining coverage. Allianz may not cover vehicles which have significant modifications from its manufacture design (subject to value & nature of modifications).

i Where the Truck 2014, Food truck directory, viewed on 14 October 2014,

iSydney Food Trucks 2014, Sydney food trucks list, viewed on 8 October 2014,

iVisit Victoria, Melbourne food trucks, viewed on 8 October 2014,

iAustralian Mobile Food Vendors Group 2014, The fun side of food: mobile food trucks, viewed on 14 October 2014,

iDune, J 2014, Vivid Sydney 2014 a spectacular feast - not just for the eyes, viewed on 14 October 2014,

iVivid Sydney 2014, Home, viewed on 14 October 2014,

iAustralian Institute of Food Safety 2014, Everything you need to know about starting a food business, viewed on 8 October 2014,

iNSW Food Authority, Licensing, viewed 16 October 2014,

iAustralian Mobile Food Vendors Group 2014, Food trucks 101: how to start a mobile food business, viewed on 8 October 2014,

iCity of Sydney 2014, How to open a food truck or food van, viewed on 14 October 2014,, p 3

iWeber Shandwick 2014, Food Forward 2014, viewed on 14 October 2014,