There are plenty of opportunities for small business owners in the food truck industry. Instead of investing in a full brick-and-mortar location, you can start your own food service business with just a vehicle, cooking equipment, and ingredients. If you’re interested in starting a food truck business, the first step is finding the right idea. But you can also start with a food truck franchise. But if you want to go your own way, below are some popular options to inspire you.
Why You Should Become a Food Truck Owner
Food truck owners enjoy many benefits over traditional food service businesses. If you have the entrepreneurial itch and some experience in this field, here are some benefits of mobile restaurants to consider:
- Low startup costs
- Ability to set up at popular events and locations
- Free advertising by driving and parking your truck around town
- Ability to pair with other revenue streams, like a brick and mortar location or catering
- Easy scalability by purchasing additional trucks
Best Food Truck Ideas for Your New Business Venture
If you’re ready to jump into the food truck business, it’s time to learn about the different types of food truck business ideas. Here are some options for the aspiring food truck owner.
1. Vegan Food Truck
Vegan dishes are making a splash in the food industry. These trucks should serve food that is mainly plant based. The health factor may make them appealing to the lunch crowd in trendy areas.
2. Street Food Truck
A street food business usually serves dishes designed to be eaten right away. Some of the most famous dishes in this category include arepas, sliders, bahn mi, and pierogi.
3. Fast Food Truck
This type of truck would be like a drive thru, but in a small space that people can walk up to.
4. Ice Cream Truck
Ice cream trucks are the most classic option within the food truck business. They often drive through neighborhoods, but some set up at designated spots.
5. Freshly Caught Seafood Truck
These types of food trucks tend to be popular in coastal regions. They can sell nearly anything you’d get at a seafood brick and mortar restaurant, including local specialties like lobster rolls in the Northeast.
6. Gourmet Burgers Food Truck
These trucks specialize in freshly cooked burgers. Many have unique ingredients like jalapenos, fried eggs, and onion rings.
7. Taco Truck
Offer classics with beef, cheese, and sour cream. Or bring in unique ingredients from local vendors.
8. Waffle truck
Offer this dish on a stick or in a paper tray for easy portability, and provide toppings like sprinkles, whipped cream, or cream cheese.
9. Fried Chicken Truck
Offer tenders, legs, or other portable options with plenty of sauce options.
10. Canine Food Truck
If you love animals, start a business where you offer treats at popular spots for pet lovers, like dog parks.
11. Farmer’s Market Food Truck
This unique food truck business would set up at local farmers markets and offer fresh produce or similar items.
12. Mobile Coffee Shops
Coffee stands or trucks can offer an array of blends or specialty drinks. Focus on business districts or areas with lots of morning foot traffic.
13. Pork Truck
Pork comes in tons of forms that are easy to sell on the go. Think pulled pork sliders, pork ribs, or anything with bacon.
14. Donut Truck
Donuts are especially popular during breakfast hours. But you can sell these portable items nearly anywhere.
15. Hot Dog Stand
Hot dogs are popular at special events — especially those with families. Offer classics or include unique toppings.
16. Community Kitchen
A community kitchen may serve dishes with local ingredients and focus on underserved areas or those making a difference in the community.
17. BBQ Food Truck
Barbecue foods like ribs, brisket, and mac and cheese are easily sold in small packages — perfect for vendors with limited space.
18. Cheese Themed Food Truck
If you want to offer a variety of menu items, choose a theme like cheese. Think mac and cheese, grilled cheese, fried cheese sticks, etc.
19. Cupcake Truck
Cupcakes are a classic and easily portable dessert. Offer this in areas with lots of restaurants or other food businesses so you can catch people looking for a sweet treat after eating.
20. Carnival Concession Trucks
Concession stands that sell funnel cakes, sno cones and similar treats are especially poplar at carnivals and similar events.
21. Pizza Truck
Offer pizza by the slice for an easy and crowd-pleasing treat.
22. Sandwich Truck
Sandwiches are portable and offer tons of variety. Specialize in a particular type of cuisine or offer an extensive menu.
23. Fusion Cuisine Food Truck
Fusion cuisine mixes two types of food. Think orange chicken tacos or barbecue pizza.
24. Poke Truck
Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish that includes fish, veggies, and rice served in a bowl.
25. Juice & Smoothie Stand
Juice and smoothies are especially popular in areas with lots of healthy consumers.
26. Packaged Foods Stand
Prepared foods are already made and packaged. So they can be sold quickly and serve more customers in a tight space. This is ideal for busy business districts during lunch.
27. Salad Stand
Salads are also popular near offices or anywhere with lots of lunch traffic.
28. Kabob Truck
Kabobs include various meats and veggies. And they’re often sold on a stick, making them easily portable.
29. Pad Thai Truck
Pad Thai includes stir fried rice or noodles. Let customers choose from various toppings, or offer a small selection of menu items.
30. Regional Cuisine Truck
The most popular food truck ideas are often those that cater to a specific market. Think deep-dish pizza in Chicago or jambalaya in New Orleans.
Read: Food Truck Business Plan
31. Hot Beverage Stand
For areas with lots of winter activity, open a truck that sells hot cocoa, tea, and other warming options.
32. Wedding Food Truck Business
Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular at weddings. Specialize in this option by letting clients customize the menu.
33. New Spin on Classic Cuisine
Many food trucks simply take a classic option and add unique ingredients. Think kimchi burgers or sweets topped with bacon.
34. Dinner and Drinks Food Truck
If you set up in an area with lots of nightlife or evening foot traffic, offer classic dinner options and apply for a liquor license to also serve drinks. Some states have laws against this. So you may need a private location.
35. Snack Stand
Snack stands may offer various options like popcorn, candy, or finger foods.
36. Food Truck Park
If you don’t want to actually operate your own truck, open a business with some outdoor space that other truck owners can pull into, selling their foods in an area with plenty of customers — sort of like a food court.
What is the most popular food truck food?
The most popular food truck cuisine is currently barbecue. However, any food that is easy to produce and sell in a small space can be profitable, including tacos, burgers, sandwiches, cupcakes, and fries.
More in: Develop an Idea, Restaurant / Food Service Business