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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Old 02-28-2021, 07:41 PM   #1
Rib bonez
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Would anyone who has started a food truck be able to speak with me and answer some questions? I’d be more than happy to call and discuss. Needing ideas on what all equipment required if I were to build rather than buy a new unit.
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Old 03-01-2021, 08:39 AM   #2
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Would be fantastic if you could ask some questions here since the answers you get may help out others looking to do the same.
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Old 03-01-2021, 03:42 PM   #3
medic92
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Originally Posted by Rib bonez View Post
Would anyone who has started a food truck be able to speak with me and answer some questions? I’d be more than happy to call and discuss. Needing ideas on what all equipment required if I were to build rather than buy a new unit.
I replied to your PM but you're inbox is full and can't accept any more messages. Get in touch, I'm around!
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Old 03-01-2021, 03:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rib bonez View Post
Would anyone who has started a food truck be able to speak with me and answer some questions? I’d be more than happy to call and discuss. Needing ideas on what all equipment required if I were to build rather than buy a new unit.
I had a trailer custom built which was nice because I was able to specify everything I needed to comply with Illinois' food safety rules and regulations. It was a pricey option though and I probably could have saved a lot by purchasing a used trailer.

I spent a lot on my smoker too, but it was specifically because it could handle sub-zero temperatures and keep cooking, and I could sleep while it was cooking instead of having to manage the fuel and temperatures all night.
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:28 PM   #5
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My apologies. Cleaned up my inbox
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Old 03-01-2021, 06:17 PM   #6
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These conversations, even state specific ones, are ALOT more useful to be had in the public forum. It does no one any good to have them in private...except for one, single person.
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Old 03-03-2021, 12:20 PM   #7
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*Note : Medic92 was absolutely instrumental at helping me get my business off the ground. Super great dude, even though he was a squid. ; ) He helped me save a ton of money in regards to addressing the equipment I would / would not need.
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Old 03-03-2021, 08:13 PM   #8
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That is really what I’m looking for. What equipment is needed to be effective? Rather not buy extra appliances I will never use. Truck or trailer and build or buy are my main questions.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rib bonez View Post
That is really what I’m looking for. What equipment is needed to be effective? Rather not buy extra appliances I will never use. Truck or trailer and build or buy are my main questions.
The best thing you can do is to visit your local health department / environmental health department. Discuss with them your vision for your food truck ; ie BBQ truck, taco truck, etc. and they should be able to get you started.

I bought an empty trailer shell which was 20' long with a 14' interior and a 6' porch. This was I think $5500 (can't quite recall), but it was already wired which was good. Then I took it to a fabricator to have my equipment installed. I got a refrigerator, 3 bay sink, handwash station, a couple prep tables, and they set me up with a smoker on the porch. They also installed a warming cabinet which they made themselves...100% piece of garbage but it cost me $1k. I screwed up there. ; )

This was as bare bones as possible. I had no idea if my business plan would succeed, so I wanted to get my foot in the door as cheaply as possible. No point in spending $50K on something which might not pan out...that was my though process anyways. All in with the trailer shell, the equipment install and fabrication, I was right at $20K. I also bought myself an F-250 truck so I could easily tow the trailer without any worries. Opening an LLC, food truck insurance, and general truck insurance put me at about $3k (annual costs). I think I spent about $100 for a vinyl sign, but you can easily budget quite a bit more if you want a full vinyl wrap...upwards of $5K.

This was enough to get me going. I decided against a steam table and instead went with chafing dishes. I use the Square App on my phone to take credit card payments, and I have a little cashbox for the rare times when people want to pay cash.

If I had to do it all over again I'd find someone local to build out my trailer. This way I could check up on it every couple of days and make sure they're doing what I wanted. I spent a long time looking on UsedTrailers.com and other places such as that, but I was never able to find a solid piece of equipment with a good price. Most of what I see on there is beat up trailers for sky high prices.

*Note : there is exactly ZERO dollars out there in terms of financing for mobile food trucks / trailers. I spent 2 months or so trying to get financed because I thought that would be a good way to build up business credit. I went through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and a ton of financers claimed they were interested in helping me out. No, they were not...they didn't read my actual business plan or even the proposed name of my business, and when I told them it was for a food truck every single one of them backed out. Mind you my credit score was (and still is) excellent. In the end I just went through my bank and got approved for a $20K personal loan in about 30 seconds. haha

I hope this helps and gives you at least a small something to chew on.
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Old 03-15-2021, 07:04 PM   #10
copaaz
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I bought an empty trailer shell which was 20' long with a 14' interior and a 6' porch.
can you post a photo of this?
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:31 AM   #11
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can you post a photo of this?
Just search porch trailer on google and you will find hundreds of pictures.
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Old 03-16-2021, 11:20 AM   #12
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can you post a photo of this?
Hey Buddy,

Here's some pics of my food trailer right after I brought it back from the fabricator.

https://imgur.com/a/4z4Rppj
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Old 03-16-2021, 07:07 PM   #13
grizzly0925
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Hey Buddy,

Here's some pics of my food trailer right after I brought it back from the fabricator.

https://imgur.com/a/4z4Rppj

This is what I am looking into doing after I get my foot in the door with some small catering/popups. Still looking for a commissary (Searching my local vfw's to see if they have commercial kitchens.) Taking my servsafe at the beginning of may hopefully. I have the book and voucher so just need to grind it out.
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Old 03-17-2021, 07:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by grizzly0925 View Post
This is what I am looking into doing after I get my foot in the door with some small catering/popups. Still looking for a commissary (Searching my local vfw's to see if they have commercial kitchens.) Taking my servsafe at the beginning of may hopefully. I have the book and voucher so just need to grind it out.
ServSafe is a solid course and as long as you pay attention you'll pass with flying colors. Lots of it is "no brainer" stuff, but there's also some more complex stuff, but as long as your instructor is mediocre or better they should explain it all quite easily.

Good luck on the commissary...holy crap that was such a pain in the butt for me. VFW had a commercial kitchen but was not interested in helping anyone out...not even post members.
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Old 03-20-2021, 11:58 AM   #15
grizzly0925
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ServSafe is a solid course and as long as you pay attention you'll pass with flying colors. Lots of it is "no brainer" stuff, but there's also some more complex stuff, but as long as your instructor is mediocre or better they should explain it all quite easily.

Good luck on the commissary...holy crap that was such a pain in the butt for me. VFW had a commercial kitchen but was not interested in helping anyone out...not even post members.

SEMPER I right? Hoping I can find one around here that is pretty flexible, i'd even offer to feed members once a month if it got me in for a discounted rate.
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