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What's the Average Food Truck Success Rate?

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August 22, 2022

There are an estimated 35,000 food trucks operating in the U.S. today, making them a hot culinary trend. 

Chefs and restaurant owners turn to food trucks because of their low overhead, the ability to experiment with cuisine, and low pressure ways to test out brick-and-mortar concepts. With a current annual revenue of $1.2 billion, it’s no secret that mobile kitchens are on the rise. However, regardless of their popularity, does that mean all food trucks are profitable?

There's an estimated 36,000 food trucks operating in the US today.

There are a wealth of factors that go into the success and failure of these restaurants on wheels. Are you considering branching out into this burgeoning business? We talk details below.

The Average Success Rate for Food Trucks

Current statistics, taken from average restaurant figures, suggest 40 percent of food carts are still in business after three years. With an average revenue stream of $250,000-$500,000 a year, managing a successful mobile kitchen can be a lucrative endeavor! 

It’s important to understand that getting through the first few years and establishing a thriving brand takes some work. How can a food truck owner beat the odds and come out on top?

40% of food carts are still in business after three years.

Best Practices for a Flourishing Food Truck

Restaurant industry professionals know that direct competition and fluctuating trends can make or break a new establishment. Most trucks that fail to make it beyond their first year typically didn’t have their ducks in a row before opening day. 

Avoid common mistakes by following these tips for operating a successful cart:

Draft a Business Plan: Like running a brick-and-mortar operation, food trucks need to create a business plan, secure all the necessary permits, and choose a prime location. Operators will want to look at all costs, including the truck itself, and create a plan that maximizes profits. Part of your business model should also account for potential future expenses, like equipment repairs and replacements. 

Get Financials and Menu Prices In Order: Scrutinize all your expected operational expenses like payroll, food and equipment costs, rental costs, and anything else that might be a predicted expenditure. Price your menu to ensure you are optimizing profits, while covering your costs. 

Develop a Marketing Campaign: Marketing is essential in drawing customers to your business. When it comes to promoting your food truck, you want to pay attention to a few key elements to grab consumer attention.

  • Create a savvy social media campaign by using all the tools at your disposal. That means utilizing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, and Yelp. 
  • Establish a street presence with colorful signage and directions to your cart.
  • Connect with the neighborhood and offer community discounts or customer loyalty programs.

What Consumer Trends Make Food Trucks Successful?

While following the tips above will help propel your mobile kitchen towards success, you also want to have your finger on the pulse of current food truck trends. Here are the hottest trends among today’s consumers:

  • Vegan and plant-based menu options
  • Technology-based ordering and payments options
  • Gluten-free items
  • Global cuisine
  • Environmentally friendly paper products

The Takeaway

Start with a solid business plan, a strong marketing strategy, and provide consumers what they crave. 

Partner with US Foods CHEF’STORE and Save on Exceptional Products

Keep food costs low and quality high when you shop at CHEF’STORE. We stock all your food truck essentials, including meat and seafood, fresh produce, eco-friendly paper goods, and more! You can get top ingredients delivered directly to you, or visit any of our convenient locations for all your needs. 

Don’t forget to take advantage of our business tools to help you further your brand.


Food Truck Industry Growth Trends


Food Truck Industry Growth Trends

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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