Beneath their shiny, stylized exteriors and delicious curbside bites, food trucks are businesses and “encounter somewhat unique challenges to get up and running and remain successful,” according to a handy infographic by Intuit.
While food truck startup costs total a fraction of the funds required for a typical brick-and-mortar eatery, maintenance costs – permits, gas, staff, supplies and truck repairs – add up quite rapidly. The average startup cost for a mobile restaurant ranges between $30,000 and $80,000. Compared to that of a traditional restaurant – $125,000 to $500,000 – sure, chump change.
Permits for food trucks are tricky, costly and vary by location. In Los Angeles one permit costs $695. Head northeast to Colorado Springs, and the costs decreases substantially to $115. Some cities, like NYC, require multiple permits.
At the mercy of ever-fluctuating gas prices, trucks pay considerable amounts in fuel costs. The current average gas price in Los Angeles equals $3.705 per gallon. Prices are dropping but are still higher than those of last year. Global demand and decreased production may very well cause yet another cost spike.
Other obstacles that mobile vendors encounter during their daily courses are parking wars, turf battles, bad weather blues, storage shortages and restaurant rants.
The streets are hard, but the fans are loyal. Of those familiar with mobile food trucks, 91% “say the trend is here to stay.” Consumers stalk their preferred trucks via social media (you know who you are), and 84% of followers admit to checking their favorites at least once a week.
Some L.A. food trucks, like the Manila Machine, have silenced their engines, but we, too, think the trend is here to rule. Next time you bite into an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich or Korean BBQ taco, consider the feats the truck before you has conquered. Then order another round for good measure.