Are food-trucks or food-truck business legal in India? Know all about food trucks!
Yes, Food trucks are legal in India. If you are one of the people who think it may be illegal it is understandable why you would think like that as there are so many procedures one would have to follow and several licenses and permissions one would have to get to run a food truck. And, since many of the food truck owners lack one or the other, you might be experiencing removal or ceasing of such businesses.
What are food truck businesses, are they successful?
Food trucks are basically a small restaurant with a limited menu on wheels. In India, food truck ranges from 2-3 dishes sold in a small Autorickshaw to almost a restaurant-sized menu sold on a huge truck. There are many individuals who started food truck businesses and there are also food truck franchises.
The success of a food truck is based on location, menu, government, and investment capabilities apart from regular business risks. Though many of them are successful even turning their businesses into franchises, many can turn disastrous when not taken proper care.
Small restaurant or a food truck?
Although there are several advantages to opening a small restaurant, however starting a food truck business gives you some unique advantages. Investment can be similar for both small restaurants and food trucks, however food trucks are movable kitchens which gives them unique advantages:
- You can change the location of your business as per the income or any other parameters
- You would have the opportunity of food catering to events and on other occasions.
- There is also less investment involved when furniture and rent (sometimes) are considered.
- Food trucks can provide the best learning experience in the food-selling industry.
How much Capital for FoodTrucks?
The ideal amount you have to spend to start a food truck is about Rs.10 lakhs. Though you can spend extra, it only increases your initial budget. Some of the mandatory things that you would be needing are
- A food truck: depending on the food that you want to sell, you can buy customized food trucks that are sold in most of the major cities in India. You can google about the businesses that provide customized food trucks. These food trucks cost from Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs, an ideal truck would cost you around Rs. 5.5 lakhs.
- Customized food trucks come necessary kitchen and food truck attachments; however, you need to purchase equipment like a gas burner, kitchen utensils, storage boxes, etc. You might also need to purchase a refrigerator (it may not be mandatory). Any decent kitchen equipment and utilities would cost you from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs.2 lakhs depending on the state of India you live in.
- You need to purchase initial stock. Do not over purchase stock as you may not have enough space to store in the food truck. Initial stock may cost up to Rs.40,000 but it entirely depends on what kind of food you want to sell.
- It is always better for you to run the food truck in person rather than hiring any employee/cook to manage it entirely. However, If the food truck you established has a complicated food menu, then it might become mandatory to hire an employee/cook. At the initial stages of your food truck business, do not leave the business entirely to the employee/cook. If you have partners in the business, make sure at least one of them stays at the business location all the time.
- You also have to spend some capital on purchasing tools that help you manage your business. Tools that help you in billing, inventory, taxation, marketing, etc. Apps and software like Zoho, Quickbooks, Toolny, etc help you with these. Have a look at each of them and decide which would be most useful to you. Having these apps or software saves you a lot of time, money and would make your business efficient.
- As said in the first paragraph, the food truck needs a lot of permissions and licenses to start which itself is a huge task in any part of the city. You need to have a Food License which you can apply here, permission from the local municipal corporation, vehicle registration, Driver’s license, labor license, NOC from the fire department, and any other permissions as required by the state you live in. If you want all these to be done swiftly, contact a Chattered Accountant.
- One of the most important things you might want to spend capital on is marketing.
Products to sell on FoodTrucks
A food truck can have a wide variety of menus. Another huge advantage of having a food truck is to have a kind of menu that a regular restaurant cannot have. Packaging of the food or how the food is served is very different from a normal restaurant and this is a place where your business can shine. It also helps you build a brand. Generally, snack items served beautifully can attract a lot of customers. Generally, the customers who come to the business either come by foot or in a vehicle, though you can sell many dishes that need the customer to stay at a place and eat (especially in case of customers coming in a vehicle), it is preferable if you serve the customers in a package where they can eat your dishes walking or take your dishes any other place.
Do not make a large menu! Make sure you have a niche food menu so that you would be known for that menu. Having a wide variety of dishes in the menu increases your stock which leads to less storage space and the customers cannot know what dish that you sell is the star of your business.
Set prices according to the standard of living of the neighborhood that your business is. Do not make it cheap or expensive. However, if you are willing to provide very high-quality food, you may increase the prices. In this case, it is important that you serve your dishes in premium cutlery.
Try using very little plastic, it shows how eco-friendly your business is. If it does not seem to be viable, give an option to the customers to choose or not choose plastic for an extra amount. Always maintain proper sanitation, provide garbage bins for your customers, and clean up the mess before you leave the spot.
Marketing your FoodTruck
Marketing for a food truck business is vital. If you have your food truck as a part of a food truck street, you need to spend some amount in impressive display lights and signages. This attracts a lot of customers. However, if you aim to build a brand and make your food truck business highly successful, you need to do these following things to market it:
- Make a website and update it regularly. You can use tools like WordPress, Toolny, etc. A website makes a business trustable, and legitimate.
- Make accounts and pages in all possible social media and post your dishes and food-related news regularly. You can manage all the social media using tools like Zoho Social, Toolny, etc.
- You can run ads initially in top social media sites targeting the location and other niches of your customers.
- Register your business in food delivery apps such as Swiggy, Zomato, etc. This not only improves your business but also provides you with feedback.
- There are also options like distributing pamphlets, providing free WiFi, inviting food bloggers and vloggers, etc.
- To improve your business try attending every food-related fest and also participate in them.
- Join any clubs or groups of Food business owners.
- Follow and read about food-related articles, websites, pages, and other information providing networks.
The food truck has a lot of hard work initially. In a glance, setting up truck and equipment, hiring employee/cook, finalizing the menu, and setting up a system may look like the toughest jobs but getting permissions and licenses are equally tough. Food trucks give you an insight into the food business industry. If you are trying to start a food truck, make sure you follow all the suggestions given not only through this article but also from your well-wishers and experienced food truck owners.