The food truck industry has ramped up in recent years, exploding on the scene in many cities and suburban areas. With a smaller financial and real estate footprint than a restaurant space, the food truck format allows more small businesses to bring a wide range of ethnic and culinary styles to hungry customers.
Food trucks deliver eats to communities in innovative ways and increase the choice of food options at the lunch hour. And since they’re mobile, these businesses can experiment in different areas and gauge customer response. Although operational permits are necessary, that requirement doesn’t tie food trucks to one location. Usually, they can move from place to place and park in more than one location on the same day.
Here are the top five places to park your food truck to get the most business.
1. Office complexes
Areas with a high concentration of businesses and offices are a gold mine for food trucks. Hungry office workers have little time or inclination to pack lunch, and not much time to go out to order food. They appreciate the convenience of an array of trucks parked outside with many different cuisines.
Food trucks bring a bit of excitement to workers and break up their workday with new dishes, a fresh take on old favorites, and snacks like donuts, cookies, or ice cream. Trucks could visit a different office park each day, feeding employees’ taste for variety so they don’t tire of the same thing.
2. Downtown parks
Many urban parks span a city block and are adjacent to office buildings on all sides. They are an attractive location for visitors who can browse the trucks parked along the curb, buy lunch, and congregate inside the park to enjoy their meals. It’s also a fun group activity to head outside at lunchtime and sample the latest dishes and then head to a picnic table to enjoy the food and weather.
A line of food trucks that extends the park’s edge also attracts tourists and passers-by, especially on sunny days and when the weather is warmer. It’s another tourist attraction, especially when trucks have colorful paint and graphics with attractive menus. And even when the weather is cooler, proximity to open parkland provides more visibility among the trees and grass.
3. Sports fields
Athletes and spectators. These are a recipe for hungry customers and large groups. And games last two to four hours provide a captive audience for tasty meals. Trucks that also sell cold drinks and snacks can also encourage repeat customers during the same game.
Stadiums and sports complexes also have quite a bit of surface area for parking, either along the street or field or in public parking lots. There’s a big surge of potential diners during halftime and before and after games. The takeaway nature of food truck cuisine works great when fans want to take food back to their seats. Food truck menus add fun and variety to an already entertaining day.
4. Bar districts
Popular watering holes and pub districts are some of the best spots for food trucks to congregate. When people are out having fun in groups and enjoying cocktails, they tend to get ravenous as the night wears on. Food trucks owners who are willing to stay open late can capitalize on the hours after bars and pubs close. These districts are particularly popular on the weekends at all times of the year.
During outdoor festivals in the warmer months, families and friends wander in large groups for long hours. Festivals often last a period of days and attract crowds from different regions. Visitors get hungry and thirsty and want to recharge to enjoy more activities.
Trucks that cater to that crowd can count on a good influx of business during the more popular fairs. Consider large attractions and well-known venues that have an annual schedule and feature a diversity of vendors, activities, and age ranges. Adults appreciate both sophisticated cuisine and carnival fare, and kids appreciate simple favorites.
With a relatively smaller cache of startup money, restaurateurs who want more flexibility can venture into the food truck business and park their vehicles in these locations for the maximum chance to increase their sales. Businesses should consider mixing up these venues and try them on different days and seasons.
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