Have you read our general guide to starting your business [link to general guide]? Then it’s time to learn everything you need to know about opening a food truck business. In this guide, you’ll find info on the licences you’ll need, rules and regulations to be aware of, and how to choose your venue location and employees.
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Food business licensing ensures your food truck can produce safe food before it is supplied or prepared for the local community.
Licensing requirements vary depending on the size of the type of food being served, and the venue and state or territory where you’re establishing the business.
Most will require food safety certifications and proof of proper insurance. Guidelines for each state can be viewed here:
These vary state by state, but examples include:
Many states also require a Food Safety Supervisor on site.
Before you start trading, a local council representative will need to inspect the food premises to ensure it meets requirements within the relevant state Act. Council officers will monitor the operation to ensure permits and guidelines are consistently met.
You must also understand and comply with Fair Work laws, national employment standards and work, health and safety law.
The great thing about a food truck versus a conventional restaurant is that if the location isn’t working for you, you can pack up, head out and find a new place. Finding the right location is still really important; it can mean the difference between busy night and a dead one.
Day or night, this will be key to finding the right location. What works in the daylight hours may not work at night. Your job is to go where hungry people are. During the day, this may be outside of work places and at parks. At night, you will need to look for the hungry bar patrons looking for a bite to eat.
Considering the type of food you have on offer, you will have to figure out who your target market is. If you are selling healthy salads and wraps, the health-conscious joggers and mums at the park might be for you.
Ice-cream and gelato might be best served to beach-goers. Gourmet food trucks will find foodies at food truck festivals and markets.
It’s a great idea to do the research weeks in advance and figure out where your customers are going to be. Plan your locations out and create a location schedule. Is there a music festival or event where you will be able to find regular and new customers?
Food trucks often begin as a family affair – employing family and friends is common in this business. Once your food truck starts to turn a profit, many owners find it necessary to begin employing staff to keep up with growth.
Whether they be friends, family or new employees, you don’t want to leave your business in incompetent hands. Finding trustworthy staff doesn’t have to be difficult. Be sure to look at their past experience and check their references. You may also want employees who are able to get around easily – that is, who have a licence and their own car. That way you know they’ll be able to make it to any location.
You don’t want to throw your new employees in the deep end. It’s imperative to train them up over a few weeks before you set them out on their own. Offer them plenty of support during training and make sure they feel confident before having them takeover a shift.
Food trucks can get very busy very quickly, so whoever you hire must be able to cope under pressure. Look for staff who have worked in high pressure environments and have plenty of experience in hospitality.
Foodies make the best food truck employees. They are passionate about good food, and will work hard to share your excellent food with the rest of the world!
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