Do you enjoy cooking and have thought about starting a business around it? If so, you may be considering opening a food truck or food cart. Both options are a popular way to begin sharing your recipes with your friends and neighbors, providing a manageable experience that you can handle on your own or with a partner.
While they are similar in purpose, they each have unique advantages and disadvantages that may make one more suitable for you than the other. With that in mind, here are some things you need to know about food trucks and food carts that may help you decide which one to choose.
Size & Workspace
While food carts and food trucks fill a similar niche, one aspect that will heavily affect your buying decision and where you choose to set up shop and sell your products is the size of the vehicle. Food trucks offer a much larger workspace that can accommodate 2-3 workers, making it easier to process more orders and prepare meals faster.
By contrast, food carts are smaller and typically only accommodate one person. While this means adding an extra set of hands to help with orders and meal prep may not be an option, the smaller size of the cart does allow you to set up shop in places that would be difficult or impossible for a larger food truck, like a sidewalk.
While a food truck’s size may limit where you can park and set up shop, they have the distinct advantage of mobility: you can drive anywhere at any time. Unlike a food cart that needs to be pushed/pulled around or towed by another vehicle into position, a food truck is itself a vehicle that functions as an all-in-one mobile restaurant. If you find that one location is not getting much traction, you can just as easily switch to a busier location instead. With a food cart, unless you have another vehicle readily available to tow it, you can only take it as far as you are physically able to.
Cost & Initial Startup
Another element in the decision to buy one over the other is the cost. Although food trucks offer many advantages in mobility, accommodation, and workspace, they also tend to be far more costly to purchase. Additionally, since they more closely resemble restaurants, depending on where you live and plan to conduct business, food trucks may involve more paperwork and acquiring more permits before you can begin a business. In contrast, food carts are cheaper than food trucks and are less intensive when it comes to paperwork and permits, most of the time.
Operators of both food trucks and food carts are free to choose their menu and serve what they want, but having a larger space to work opens up more opportunities. Because of the bigger size, food trucks can accommodate more storage and cooking equipment, allowing you to expand your menu beyond what is possible with a food cart. While sticking to a smaller menu and focusing on quality is a valid and effective strategy, so too is having a wide selection of options for customers to choose from.
With the increased size of food trucks comes more options for branding and customization. Although food carts can fit in places that a food truck may never be able to, their smaller size limits your branding and customization options that can make your food cart stand out, especially from a distance. In comparison, food trucks offer more customizability, allowing you to build a food truck that will stand out, establish your brand, and draw customers in from a distance.
Start Your Business Now
Sizemore Food Trucks is a family-run business that operates in all 50 states and has been in the mobile foods industry for over 30 years. We offer quality food trucks and trailers with affordable pricing and fast build times. Contact us today to start your mobile food business.