Starting your own food truck business
This new generation of mobile catering has taken Australia by storm, with more than 400 food trucks on the go Australia wide.i With culinary options ranging from Cypriot to Jamaican, food truck cuisine can be as inventive (and of course, delicious) as their traditional competitors. Not only do they offer fast and accessible food options for festivals and corporate events, they never fail to draw big crowds. Events such as Sydney’s Vivid Festivalii feature dozens of food vendors, and attract crowds of more than 2.3 million people.iii
Before you begin operating your food truck, you’ll need to check whether you’re required to have a trained Food Safety Supervisor present while food is being served.iv Food Safety Supervisors make sure safe food handling practices are followed in your business.v Failure to follow these practices can result in a fine – or worse, in your customers becoming ill!vi
Each city, council and state has its own rules and regulation surrounding safety and licensing. Most require both food safety certifications, and proof of proper insurance.vii Allianz Insurance offers business insurance to cover a wide range of circumstances. We may not be able to offer you cover if your business involves cooking or deep frying, or if there have been significant modifications to your vehicle.
Food trucks are known for their fun and novel themes and menu offerings, with each truck delivering diners a unique experience. Take some time to research what other food trucks are offering in your area, to make sure that your idea will stand out. When planning your menu choose dishes that are easy to make in a small space, or can be prepared ahead of time, with finishing touches added during service.
It’s also important to understand where, and when, you are allowed to trade. In the city of Sydney for example, food trucks can only trade from 8am onwards, and are excluded from some areas of the CBD altogether.viii
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.
Investing in promotion, especially through social media, is an important aspect of raising brand awareness.ix 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 eating out in Australia reveals plenty of emerging trends in the Australian food scene that savvy food truck owners can put to use. The study indicates that healthy food is on the rise, consumers expect fast food to be “a dining experience”, and marketing is more important than ever.x
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i Where the Truck 2018, Food truck directory, viewed on 14 February 2018
ii Vivid Sydney 2017, Home, viewed on 14 February 2018
iii Sydney Morning Herald, 2017, Sydney’s Vivid Festival Attracts a Record 2.33m Visitors
iv NSW Food Authority, Food Safety Supervisors, viewed on 14 February 2018
v Australian Institute of Food Safety, Frequently Asked Questions, viewed on 14 February 2018
vi Australian Institute of Food Safety, Everything you need to know about starting a food business, viewed on 14 February 2018
vii NSW Food Authority, Notifying & Licensing, viewed 14 February 2018,
viii City of Sydney, Mobile Food Vendors, viewed 14 February 2018,
ix Forbes, 2016, How to Boost Your Brand Through An Effective Social Media Strategy,
x Hospitality Magazine, 2017, Eating Out in Australia 2017