When it comes to starting a business without a lot of money, there aren’t many options. The old adage about getting what you paid for is certainly true in the business world.
But what can you do if you really don’t have any other options than starting a business on the “cheap”? One option is to start a mobile kitchen business.
This could be a hot dog cart, sandwich stand, or even a traveling catering service (if your cooking abilities are top notch).
No matter which food business you go into, here are three important keys to starting a successful mobile kitchen business.
It isn’t just for mobile kitchen businesses that location is important. It is any business venture you may decide is right for you. You should research three to five areas you are considering purchasing a permit to work in.
Determine exactly what your hours will be and then research accordingly. If you are going to operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, sit at each location for an hour around breakfast, lunch, and dinner. See which location gets the most foot traffic.
As a mobile vendor, you are going to want to find locations that contain multiple businesses or factories where everyone gets a break and lunch. If you see that none of the locations feature enough business to be open at 8 a.m., research how business looks around 10 a.m. or find out what time breaks start at these businesses.
Whatever location seems to be the best for foot traffic and features moderate
automobile traffic may be the best location to start your business.
After you have a location chosen, determine what that city charges in permits and then look at what type of mobile kitchen you want. Hot dog carts are better now than they were before and feature plenty of storage space for food, drinks, and condiments.
You can get these carts with grills and griddles so you can cook more food choices, but they may not cook as quickly as you need them to when the demand is high.
At this point, you may want to consider purchasing a medium sized mobile food truck. Here, you will have more storage space for items, more privacy, and the ability to offer more varieties of food.
If you live in a diverse area that features many different races and backgrounds, a larger truck would allow you to offer more regionally diverse foods.
The most important aspect to take into consideration when you are starting up a mobile kitchen business is the quality of the food you will be selling. The last thing you want is to purchase the lowest quality products that either don’t taste well or make people sick.
Poor quality food will lead to your business being closed down quickly.
Spend a little more for better quality items and if you have to pass the costs off to the consumers a little at a time, that shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t give away the higher quality items, but give the consumers a reason to come back.
You can make some money back in other areas anyway. Think about how much money you can make off the easy items. In some areas of the country, you can get a 24-pack of bottled water for $3 and all you need to do to break even is sell two bottles.
If your current business plan involves purchasing a food cart or truck and starting a mobile kitchen, be smart.
- You need to choose the best location for your company. A side street with minimal traffic isn’t the best location. Look for the people and judge it accordingly.
- Close proximity to parks and playgrounds could be ideal situations.
You need to then examine the start-up costs of opening this business. In the mobile food industry, that would primarily be what you are using as your food station. Depending on your budget, this could be anything from a basic hot dog cart to a rebuilt and renovated school bus converted to a kitchen.
The most important, final factor for your success is how your food tastes. If your food just isn’t that good, it will be hard to stay open and keep customers. Spend a little more for the better product or you risk losing your entire clientele.
Post by Jennifer Allen, A business copywriter and a previous owner of a food truck located in Los Angeles, California.
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