5 Positives and Negatives About Turning a Restaurant into a Food Truck

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5 Positives and Negatives About Turning a Restaurant into a Food Truck

The food industry is changing. The pandemic has caused this, and while vaccines are on the way, it’s probably going to be several more months till everyone can get one. In the meantime, some restaurants have had to shutter for good, while others are trying unconventional methods to stay in business.

Some eateries have gone to a delivery-only model. That makes sense for some of them, but others are moving in a different direction. A few have decided that they can best serve their customers through food truck conversion.

If you’re a restaurant owner, and you’re considering moving in this direction, you should know that there are both negatives and positives about food truck ownership. Let’s break down a few of those.

It’s Takeaway-Dining Conducive

If you’re looking at converting a restaurant into a food truck, probably the first thing to realize is that it’s takeaway-dining conducive. With the pandemic happening, that’s something a lot of customers will appreciate. Either they want their food delivered, or else they’ll want to approach an establishment, get some items, and then leave quickly with minimal exposure risks.

They can come up to the truck wearing a mask, order while staying six feet away from you and the other employees, and then they can take what they need back home or to work. In that respect, this is an ideal pandemic business model.

Flexible Location

One of the other nice aspects of this business model is that you can move the food truck whenever you like. For instance, if you know there’s an area where professionals congregate, you can be there when they come out for lunch. If word gets around that you’ve got tasty food, it’s very easy to build up a new following.

At the same time, if the business in one area dries up, you can simply move the vehicle. If you know that there’s an event happening where people are gathering, you can set up the truck there, provided there are no traffic rules or other regulations that prevent you from doing that.

You Don’t Need as Many Employees

Another critical point is that you don’t need to have as many employees on-staff if you want to run a food truck. Unlike a sit-down restaurant, you don’t need a greeter, a bartender, and several other positions. You can run a food truck with a skeleton crew, even just yourself and one or two other people.

One thing you ought to keep in mind regarding the employees is that you’re in a cramped space, so you won’t be able to socially distance. If you and one or two family members are running the truck, that’s fine, because you’re all living in the same household. It’s not quite as safe if you and your employees arrive from different homes, but if you all wear masks, you might feel like the risk is acceptable.

You Need a Place to Park the Vehicle When You’re Not Using It

One potential negative is that food trucks are generally a pretty decent size. You need to figure out a place to park it when you’re not using it.

If you know that you have a garage big enough for the truck, that’s fine. Your driveway might be big enough to accommodate it instead.

If you need to locate street parking for it, and you live in a neighborhood where that’s hard to find, that’s going to be a pain. You might spend quite some time every night driving around attempting to find a spot for it where you won’t get a ticket.

The Revenue Will Probably Not Be as High

Not making as much money is another possible drawback. The chances are high that because a food truck is almost always smaller than a full-service restaurant, you won’t be able to produce as much food as you could if you had an entire kitchen. You might still be able to make a profit if you handle everything exactly right, but coming out in the black might not be so easy.

You can’t produce as much food volume every day, and generally, you also can’t serve alcohol from a food truck. If the alcohol markup was part of how you were making your money pre-pandemic, you’ll probably miss that revenue stream.

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The food truck business model will work well for some restauranteurs right now. Consider what we mentioned, and decide whether this is a viable option in 2021.