Are you passionate about street food and have decided to open a food truck or food trailers? Portable food carts and food stand are very popular in recent years, you can easy find a food trailers in crowd street, business plaza or even in amusing park. 

To start your activity in the best conditions, discover in this article our advice to help you set up your portable food serving business and learn about market research, the business plan or even the search for financing.

food truck

#1. Carry out the market research of a food truck

The first step in opening a food trailer is to carry out a market study to verify that the potential is authentic. There is indeed a business opportunity at the locations you have identified and determine the best business strategy to start.

Business Analysis

The market research of a food truck and food trailer must begin with a thorough analysis of consumption habits and current trends in the sector. This part aims to enable you to understand the challenges that must be faced in fast and itinerant restaurants and to identify the most promising market segments.

In particular, you should ask yourself:

  • What is the situation in the area: a fad or a lasting trend?
  • What are the concepts that work? And those who walk less?
  • What are the main difficulties of the profession?
  • Opening your food truck as an independent or franchise: what's the difference?
  • What are the habits and expectations of customers?
  • How many times on average do people buy a take-out meal?
  • What are the peak periods and the off-peak periods?
  • What is the average budget per meal and per customer?
  • How much of the turnover comes from food? The drinks?
  • How to obtain an occupancy permit?

Evaluate demand at the level of the implantation area

Once you have honed your understanding of the industry, it will be time to look at the defined area's business potential.

The objective here is to assess the local market's size and identify the most promising catchment areas.

In particular, you should ask yourself:

  • What is the potential at the local level?
  • What are the demographic characteristics (gender, ages, professional activities, disposable income, etc.)?
  • What places in the city are there in traffic (pedestrian street, shopping district, office area, train station, etc.)?

Analysis of the competition at the level of the implantation area

You will then have to familiarize yourself with the offer already present on the market you wish to invest in:

  • How many food trailers and traditional restaurants are there already?
  • What is their catchment area?
  • What type of cuisine do they offer?
  • Are they freelancers or franchisees?
  • What are their prices?
  • How many employees work there?
  • What is their turnover?

Once you have done these analyses, you should determine if the market is large enough to support the arrival of a new entrant (i.e. your food truck), have identified a few interesting locations, and have a good idea of ​​the concepts that are involved. Can work against the characteristics of the population and what your competitors are already offering.

#2. Focus on the French food truck market

The outdoor Food kiosk market has developed over the past 10 years in France. A phenomenon originating from the United States, the sector's development has accelerated over the past 5 years. In 2015, there were 400 food trucks in France.

The success of the food trailer, or mobile food kiosk, mainly combines fast food and quality and local cuisine, all at prices well below those of traditional restaurants. Therefore, it is understandable that the consumer, more and more attentive to what he eats but also devoting less and less time to his meal, is seduced by this concept that came straight from New York.

The food truck market in France is still very fragmented. However, with the incursion into this sector of some major restaurant brands (Elior, Courtepaille and Quick, among others), it is not too far to say that the food truck market should structure itself around networks, whether owned or franchised.

Be careful because if the number of requests to set up food trucks should increase, it will be challenging to satisfy all the applicants given the regulations in force. Indeed, the sale in public spaces is subject to rules, which also concerns food trucks.

#3. What type of food trailer to open?

Whatever the type of cuisine on offer, the important thing is to differentiate yourself from your competitors to recognize you, appreciate you, and not come to you by chance but for your recommendation.

Your concept must be, if not innovative, at least original unless you position yourself on a classic (the burger and fries). But with a requirement that makes the difference and particular attention to detail (wide choice of organic buns, onion speciality rings, range of matured cheeses to put in a burger, etc.).

When defining your concept, you will have to position yourself on this crucial question, which will significantly impact your business creation process: am I going alone or as a franchise?

The food truck market is like many others a market where the franchise is present. Among the brands looking for young entrepreneurs wishing to open a food truck franchise, we can mention: Thaï la route, food truck of Thai cuisine, or Eat The Road, specializing in burgers.

The main advantage of franchising is that it allows you to limit the risks associated with setting up a business since you join a brand whose concept has been proven. Moreover, according to the Franchise Observatory: "90% of franchises established are still active after 5 years", while the national average is instead around 50%, all types of business creation combined.

The fact remains that the franchisee has constraints in terms of offers of marketed products, an annual fee to be paid to the network to which he belongs, and a higher initial investment than for creation as an independent entrepreneur (entry fees to pay the franchisor to be part of the network).

#4. Choice of locations on which to open a food truck

As with any business, setting up your point of sale is essential and will directly impact your turnover.

You can open a food trailerand set it up in a private or public space.

A public space can make it possible to attract a large clientele but places constraints on the food trucker in terms of the authorization. Typically, an installation on a sidewalk or at the edge of a road is undeniably attractive in a busy area. Also, think of a location close to a prominent tourist spot, whether permanent: museum, monument, or temporary: trade fair, fair, market (open or closed hall), etc.

Finally, you can set up a private road, a supermarket car park, a student campus, a business car park, so many places that should guarantee you relatively high attendance while enjoying more flexibility in terms of authorizations. 'location.

What should be remembered is that if the location is the sinews of war, it has a specific price (in public space, authorizations are provided against a fee). They are only valid temporarily, inducing a great precariousness of your location.

Want to start a food kiosk inside shopping mall? Check: 100+ Modern Design Food Kiosks For Sale 

#5. Choose the legal structure of your food truck.

Next step in opening a food truck: choose the legal status of your business.

This aspect of business creation, not very attractive and a little tedious, must nevertheless be treated with the most excellent attention because the legal structure of your company will impact in particular:

  • Your social security regime as a manager
  • Company taxation
  • Your responsibility for the company's debts

#6. Required authorizations and mandatory Food Trucker training

Mandatory training to create a food trailer.

Keep in mind that creating a food truck requires mandatory training, as with any restaurant opening.

You will indeed have to undergo training in food hygiene since a food truck is subject to approval by the hygiene services.

You will also need to obtain an operating permit, the certificate required to open (or take over) a restaurant, café, bar, brasserie or even a food truck. To obtain it, you will need to follow specific training on public health issues related to catering.

At the end of this training, you will obtain your business license, as well as your "take-out license" if you sell alcoholic beverages.


Different authorizations are required depending on the type of location. And on which you plan to operate and the nature of the food trailer.

In the event of a site in the public domain, you must have previously obtained authorization for the temporary occupation of the public domain by a business (AOT). This authorization is usually issued by the town halls and prefectures And is accompanied by a variable amount set by the municipality.

You will therefore need this authorization to set up in town on the sidewalk or by the roadside. You can either ask the town hall or the prefecture to obtain permission or respond to a call for tenders from the municipality intended for food trucks to compensate for the lack of classic catering in a particular district.

For private pitches, you will also need to obtain authorization by contacting the owner of the rise.

Finally, if you plan to practice outside the municipality where your company is domiciled, you must have a professional itinerant merchant card by applying to your Business Formalities Center.

#7. Assess Employee and Inventory needs

Next step in opening a food trailer: list the primary human and material needs necessary to launch your activity.

A food truck requires fairly substantial essential equipment. The principal investment will, of course, be the truck. The price of a food truck is around 40,000 euros, but there are also many cheaper used models.

Le Bon Coin, for example, offers a very reasonable choice of trucks that can become food trucks. If you opt for this solution, you will have to transform your vehicle into a real food trailer with specific fittings and upgrades. Allow around 20,000 euros for this work, which includes the kitchen equipment necessary for the conservation and preparation of the products.

You will also have to plan for the starting stock, the costs related to creating the structure, and the marketing investments (website, logo, flyers, etc.).

The launch of a food trailer also involves staff requirements. You will indeed have to recruit sales and cook profiles according to your field of expertise. Be careful, and it is sometimes difficult to find qualified personnel ready to work in a food truck because this activity requires travel to work in minimal space. This fact leads to a high turnover that you will have to manage as well as possible.

Finally, opening a food truck also requires considering many ancillary services essential for the smooth running of your business. Therefore, plan in your budget for the services of a chartered accountant for management and accounting. Also, consider your professional insurance. For all these services, ask for quotes from specialists who will allow you to assess the amount of these items in your estimated budget.

#8. Design an effective marketing plan

Once your estimated budget is complete, you will need to set up a marketing plan to attract and retain your customers. For this, it will be necessary to think about the distribution channels and marketing means at your disposal to find and keep your customers.

A website coupled with a presence on social networks is generally a good starting point to discover your offer and create a link with your customers by keeping them informed of the news: location, new recipes, promotions, etc.

You can also opt for the very traditional flyers whose effectiveness is well established. Advertising in the regional press or municipal newspapers are also practical tools to increase awareness. Finally, don't forget to build customer loyalty with a loyalty program and promotions.

#9. The business plan to open your food trailer

A business plan is an essential document for any business creation. It is possible to verify that the project is financially viable and serves as a reference document when seeking funding.

The business plan of a food truck has two parts:

  • A written part used to present the food truck creation project (study of the sector and the local market, presentation of the concept, legal status, marketing plan, etc.)
  • A quantified part highlighting the financing need and the profitability potential of the project

The business plan of your food trailer must present your project and make people to whom you will read it want to join and finance you. It is, therefore, an important document and even decisive in the success of your project.

Interest in modular food shop for outdoor ? Check our: shipping container restaurant options

#10. How to finance the opening of my food truck?

Several financing methods are available to you to raise the necessary funds to create your food trailer.

You will first need to raise your funds, that is to say, your savings and that of your partner (s) if you have any.

If this is not enough to cover all the costs of starting your business, you can resort to external financing:

  • bank loan to finance part of the equipment
  • external investors to strengthen equity
  • leasing or long-term rental to finance your truck
  • collection on a crowdfunding platform

Also, think of the support systems for business creation by the State, local communities or even municipalities.

#11. Useful links for creating your Food Trailer

You will find below the links to organizations that can help you embark on the great adventure of creating your food truck.

Finally, Our guide is coming to an end, and we hope that it has enabled you to better understand how to open a food truck and approach your business creation project more calmly and methodically. If there are any grey areas, please do not hesitate to ask us your questions.