Food trucks are a great, economical way to get your business started on a budget. Many brick and mortar restaurants envy food trucks their low overhead, mobility, and ability to go to customers vs waiting for customers to come to them.
However, at some point, every food truck may consider expanding their operations to a brick and mortar store. Once you have a proven concept at hand, you can increase your profit margins drastically by adding chairs - and a liquor license! - to your operation. However - there are still important things to consider before taking the plunge:
Location - a food truck can easily go from place to place. Some cities, such as Austin, TX, will even allow food trucks to semi-permanently park on land - thereby rendering the operation extremely cheap from a rent perspective. A restaurant is, of course, static by nature. So location is key. Even a couple miles distance in a city can be the difference between high foot traffic and almost no foot traffic. Although a solid menu and marketing plan will certainly boost your customer base - as well as the reputation you've built through your food truck business - choosing a desirable, high traffic location will certainly help.
Finance - a new restaurant build out can easily cost a quarter of a million dollars - or more. Where is this capital coming from? Chances are, you will need a partner with deep pockets or a hefty loan in order to turn your restaurant into reality. In addition to the opening costs, it's important to consider how long you will be in operation before turning a profit. Average, six to twelve months are needed before a restaurant turns a profit (although again - see above - a good marketing plan, good location, and good reputation can drastically increase that).
Vibe - food trucks are, almost by definition, hip and cool places. Restaurants can have many different atmospheres, and it's a great time to sit down and brand your business appropriately when your're creating your restaurant plan. Are you more upscale? Chic? Minimalist? Family oriented? Traditional? All of these are great things to consider with your architect and general contractor as you make the plunge from food truck to brick and mortar.
Equipment - this is last on our list but perhaps the most important piece of all! Your restaurant will need: ovens, shelves, refrigerators, ice machines, pots and pans, knives, cutting boards, the list goes on and on. Chances are a good part of your food truck may be used in the new spot, but it may make sense to keep the food truck for mobile/catering operations and to sustain your existing business and start from scratch. No matter your choice - trust RestaurantSupply.com for the best possible deals from the best brands and shop with us first when outfitting your new restaurant.