A food truck revolution is happening across the country, and restaurants are starting to feel the heat. So why are food trucks gaining popularity while restaurants are losing customers? There are several reasons: food trucks are cheaper, offer more variety, and are more convenient.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each choice.
What to choose: a food truck or a restaurant?
The cost of food trucks vs. restaurants is a major factor. Food trucks are cheaper to open and operate than restaurants. They have lower overhead costs, so they can pass the savings on to customers in the form of lower prices. This makes food trucks more appealing to budget-minded consumers.
In addition, food trucks offer more variety than restaurants. Food trucks can serve any food, while restaurants are usually limited to a specific cuisine. This gives food trucks an advantage when it comes to attracting customers with diverse taste buds.
Finally, food trucks are more convenient than restaurants. They can come to you, so you don’t have to go out of your way to find them.
Food truck vs. Restaurant Startup Costs
Starting a business from scratch on a tight budget is possible, but costs can rapidly get out of hand if you can’t find the furniture you want and the equipment is more expensive than you anticipated.
Investing in an existing establishment can also be costly because you have to pay for the stock and the clientele that is already in place. There are also continuing expenses such as rent and power to take into account.
Food trucks often have cheaper starting and operating expenses compared to sit-down restaurants. This is a key factor in why so many people choose the food truck industry over the more conventional path of opening a typical restaurant.
Additionally, a food truck is usually cheaper to start up and maintain, making them less risky financially.
The costs of opening a restaurant will vary depending on a number of factors, including whether you choose to rent or buy your retail space, the cost of renovations, the equipment you need, and more.
Some of the items that every restaurant must purchase before opening include:
- Permits and licenses
- Commercial space
- Culinary Technology
- Remodeling and decoration
- Cooking utensils and supplies
- Other hidden expenses
There is an obvious difference between the staff needed to operate a food truck and a restaurant. Restaurants demand more workforce than food trucks since they always have a greater selection of menu items than the latter.
Typically, food trucks offer fast, ready-to-eat cuisine. Additionally, it doesn’t demand for captains, managers, or in the case of some food trucks, even servers. Therefore, a food truck is a wonderful option if you have a small team to start with and are unable to recruit a huge group of people to work for you.
When it comes to staff, a restaurant needs a sizable crew to operate both inside and outside the kitchen. One head chef, one junior chef, one assistant, one captain, one manager, two janitors, and at least three waiters are essential. In addition, a restaurant that serves specific types of food, for instance, may employ two distinct cooks for each cuisine.
Every business, whether food truck or restaurant, has continuing costs that must be met on a regular basis.
These include such items as:
- Food and drink
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Accounting and legal fees
- Loans and interest payments
- Wages and salaries
- Maintenance and repairs
However, a food truck will almost always have smaller recurring fees since it is a moveable and optional business, making it more convenient and less costly.
When grabbing food, customers consider a lot of factors, including convenience, cost, quality, and more.
Food trucks have also become the latest craze among on-the-go customers since they deliver better food than street vendors for a slightly lower price. They are also a more convenient option than restaurants for customers in a hurry to grab good food.
Dining in a restaurant requires customers to wait longer and pay more for food.
Order size and revenue
The profit made is one of the most important factors when comparing a food truck to a restaurant. Food trucks are at a slight disadvantage when it comes to this, given it has fewer resources than restaurants. Every table or takeaway order at a restaurant typically amounts to large orders. However, because customers place smaller orders, food trucks make less money per customer.
While most people have eaten at restaurants, only some have tried ordering from food trucks. The majority of people might feel more at ease dining at restaurants, therefore in order to succeed, food truck owners may have to get past the initial bias.
For trucks to outperform the revenue of restaurants, they need either more customers or more expensive dishes.
Owners of food trucks may decide to experiment with various menus or cooking methods. Customers frequently won’t demand the same consistency from takeout food as they would from a restaurant, so food truck cooks can be a little more daring and inventive.
It is apparent that food trucks are more flexible than restaurants.
Owners can customize their trucks to their liking at any time. Moreover, a food truck’s mobility makes it a flexible business venture. The advantage of food trucks being mobile and going where the consumers also mean that a lot more time will be spent traveling, updating social media, and looking for new catering options.
Restaurants offer less flexibility because when people think about restaurants, a certain image is created in their thoughts. They also do not have the luxury of moving around.
A business’s location can actually make or break its success, so choosing one can be a very big decision.
Since food trucks are mobile, they can be moved anywhere. This gives the owner more freedom when choosing locations. They can also be able to conduct trial-and-error experiments when deciding where to park.
Restaurants require more commitment when it comes to choosing a location. Since owners can be bound by contracts when looking for commercial space, they would have to choose where to put their business wisely.
Like any other business, the weather greatly influences sales and customer influx.
Seasonal food truck businesses do well in places with warm weather all year long. They can also do business in events or festivals with food as a central theme.
In colder climates, some restaurants may do better than food trucks since people would rather dine indoors where it is warm. However, food trucks can still find ways to do business in these areas, such as by setting up near office buildings during lunchtime or near popular nightlife spots in the evening.
Why are food trucks better than restaurants?
The food truck industry has been on the rise in recent years for a good reason. Food trucks offer customers convenience, cost-effective food options, and more flexible locations than restaurants. Additionally, food trucks have the edge over restaurants when it comes to social media reach, which is also a very important factor for a growing business nowadays.
For these reasons, food trucks are able to beat out restaurants in the battle for customers. It is also easier to start a food truck through Feed Wagons, the largest food truck manufacturer in the nation.