Have you decided to open your own food truck or food trailers? Are you embarking on this entrepreneurial adventure and working hard on your financial forecast? You are then undoubtedly confronted with the difficulty of evaluating the turnover of your future business.

Good news: with the proper methodology and the right advice, estimating the turnover of your food truck is not that complicated.

In this article, we offer you a 5-step method that will allow you to obtain a realistic assessment of the forecast turnover of your food truck. Follow the guide!

food truck trailers

Estimate the average ticket per meal

The first step in estimating the turnover of a food truck is to evaluate the average ticket per meal. That is, the amount spent by each of your customers.

If Les Echos evokes an average of between 10 and 12 €, the average meal ticket depends, of course, on the type of food sold.

You should therefore try to estimate the average basket specific to your activity using the information gathered during the market study:

  • How many customers will take this or that formula?
  • How many drinks or desserts are sold with the dish (on average, of course)?
  • What is the average budget indicated by the targeted customers?
  • What is the price of the dishes compared to the value of a meal ticket? This factor is significant if office workers are among the target customers.
  • What is the average basket observed in other food kiosks selling the same type of food?

Estimate the forecast sales volume

To calculate the average turnover of your food truck as accurately as possible, you will also have to estimate the forecast sales volume: how many meals will you sell on each location?

The most delicate part of this because it necessarily includes a random part since several parameters, sometimes difficult to evaluate, come into play.

First, assess the quality of the location by looking at the frequentation of the place or places where you are going to set up:

  • How many potential customers frequent your areas?
  • Are these mainly frequented by office workers, students, tourists, residents?

Also, analyze the number of nearby competitors (whether it is also food trucks, fast food or even traditional catering) and the type of cuisine offered.

Is it a direct competition (food truck burger like yours), more indirect competition (a Mac Donald's restaurant, for example), or a restaurant segment very far from yours (restaurant gastronomic, for example)?

Be careful, even if the competition is very indirect, it is also essential because it offers a catering offer to your potential targets.

Then pay special attention to seasonality:

  • Will most meals be served on weekdays or weekends?
  • Will it be more of the midday or evening meal?

Do not neglect the usual climatic conditions either: if you willingly wait ten minutes for a burger in summer, it is not necessarily the same in the middle of winter or when it rains. Also remember to take into account the low periods: summer or winter holidays for example.

Finally, take into account the time needed to serve a customer: most sales are often made during rush hour at noon. If you sell sandwiches or ready-made meals, you will be able to do more customers than if you have to cook a steak or make a custom pizza for each customer.

Once you have considered all the parameters mentioned above, you can use them to obtain a first estimate of the forecast sales volume.

The exercise must, of course, be repeated for each time slot and each planned location over a typical week. Then multiply by the number of weeks the food truck is active. Also, remember to include your leave in your calculations.

As we told you at the beginning of this section, the forecast will involve randomness. To reduce it, do not hesitate to compare your figure with that of other food trucks selling the same type of cuisine as you on similar locations in terms of the level of attendance and class of clientele.

Evaluate the forecast turnover by multiplying the average meal ticket by the forecast volume

Once you have estimated both the average ticket and the forecast sales volume, you will only have to multiply them to obtain the estimated turnover of your food truck.

The easy part of the operation!

Check the consistency of the food truck turnover forecast with the maximum capacity.

Once you have estimated your expected sales, it is good practice to do a theoretical maximum capacity calculation to verify that you have not overestimated sales.

It may sound not very easy, but it is straightforward. Let's take an example to understand what it is.

Say you have a food truck selling burgers and employing two people: baking and preparing, and the other taking orders and checking out.

  • If your food truck is equipped with plates that allow you to cook 4 steaks at a time, with an average cooking time of 2 minutes per steak, your maximum yield is 120 steaks per hour (4 steaks x 60 minutes / 2 minutes per steak)
  • If you also have a presence of 4 hours on the site, you can cook a maximum of 480 burgers (4 hours of presence x 120 steaks/hour)
  • If, in addition, your average meal ticket is € 9 incl. Tax per person, then your maximum turnover on this location of 480 burgers x € 9 = € 4,320 incl.

Performing this calculation allows you to quickly check that you have not overestimated your sales by considering the operational constraints (here, the cooking time).

Include the turnover generated by the food truck's ancillary activities

The last point to take into account when evaluating your turnover: ancillary record services. For example, daily food truck rentals for weddings, seminars, family celebrations, etc.

In particular rentals for weddings, this type of service generally makes it possible to compensate for the slowdown in activity during the somewhat slacker period of the summer holidays.

Our article is coming to an end, and we hope that it will have enabled you to consider more serenely this essential step which is the evaluation of the turnover of your food truck. If, despite our instructions, any questions remain, do not hesitate to contact us.

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