Home – New Forums Starting your journey Anyone out there running a food van business?

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  • #984323
    MrLeigh
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    I’ve been contemplating starting up a food van business for a while now. The kinds of markets I would probably be targetting is private parties/events and perhaps things like farmers markets.

    There is a lot of decisions to be made before something like this gets off the ground obviously, but there is one thing I’d really like to know, which is – what is it actually *like* operating a food van business? What kind of lifestyle should I expect?

    So if there is anyone out there with some experience in this field who wouldn’t mind having a quick chat with me some time, do let me know :)

    #1147086
    Jodie McLeod
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    Welcome to the forums MrLeigh!

    Wise move asking these questions before taking the leap. Better to have an idea of the realities that await you than jumping in blindly.

    Hopefully some with experience in food vans will chime in soon.

    Best of luck,

    Jodie

    #1147087
    MatthewKeath
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    Sorry, I am not in the food business, but I read an article recently I thought was interesting.

    http://m.theage.com.au/comment/melburnians-are-streets-behind-on-pavement-food-20130629-2p42y.html

    #1147088
    Declutterbug
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    Hi MrLeigh
    No experience in the industry but happy eater! My experience in Melbourne with food vans has been great and my sense is the industry is growing. A lot of public pressure came to bare to assist operators to open up areas and loosen restrictions.
    There is an almost cult following of some especially on social media. Trick… Great food w a unique twist and a hype around it as next big thing and melbournites will come. The 20 to 30 something crowd love them. I for one say do it!! And good luck

    #1147089
    Damo.s
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    I think Food Vans can be lucrative and are a great.The best thing I like about food vans, for me is the price. If I am eating out of a Van and not paying to be in a relaxing restaurant with good service and someone filling up my wine glass all I want to pay for is the quality and quantity of the food. I have seen dodgy food vans trying to sell generic hot dogs for upwards of $5 – Not for me.

    Obviously you still need to make your profit margin but having a food van with a reputation for fairly priced and quality food is where I would head to first :)

    The food van that I used to frequent (before I moved) also had quirky deals like “flip a coin for a half priced (insert cheap to make food product here)” and people would flock to it. As another member suggested, hype and a unique twist to get people to remember YOUR food van over others.

    Good luck with it!

    #1147090
    MrLeigh
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    Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement.

    Still searching for someone with some insight into the life of food van/stall operator!

    I’m really trying to get a feel for the amount of work and what kind of work would go in to say a once a week showing at the Saturday farmers market, for instance.
    I imagine there would be some time spent obtaining supplies, preparing food, cleaning things, etc. but I’d love to hear from those with experience what these tasks are exactly, how much time they need to spend on them, and so forth.

    #1147091
    Anonymous
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    MrLeigh, post: 168846 wrote:
    Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement.

    Still searching for someone with some insight into the life of food van/stall operator!

    I’m really trying to get a feel for the amount of work and what kind of work would go in to say a once a week showing at the Saturday farmers market, for instance.
    I imagine there would be some time spent obtaining supplies, preparing food, cleaning things, etc. but I’d love to hear from those with experience what these tasks are exactly, how much time they need to spend on them, and so forth.

    Leigh

    I havent worked in a food van, or run a food van, however I have been in the hospitality industry for around 6 years, so I wish to offer some advice.

    Do not go down this track unless you have something unique and trendy, otherwise you’ll have no competitive advantage over other vans.

    If you plan on setting up a van for foodservice, you’ll be looking at around a 20k set up depending on what youre offering and what equipment would be needed.

    If you plan on only operating 1 day per week, you’ll be paying off your van for a long time, maybe you’d be better off investing in the stock market.

    Personally, I would never open up any food or coffee store. $40 per hour to have two staff operating a premises for a full day is around $360 of labour. Then you consider your overheads, rent or permit expenses, materials…

    If youre selling something like hotdogs, you’d go broke unless you were selling hundreds per day. Youre working extremely hard for little reward, and very high risk.

    If you do go down this track, I advise that you plan on opening for more than one day. This makes ordering easier, as a lot of fresh food can be used the next day if you over cater. It also means the cost of your van can be recovered quicker.

    Good luck,
    Nick

    #1147092
    Maureen Pound
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    MrLeigh, post: 168612 wrote:
    I’ve been contemplating starting up a food van business for a while now. The kinds of markets I would probably be targetting is private parties/events and perhaps things like farmers markets.

    There is a lot of decisions to be made before something like this gets off the ground obviously, but there is one thing I’d really like to know, which is – what is it actually *like* operating a food van business? What kind of lifestyle should I expect?

    So if there is anyone out there with some experience in this field who wouldn’t mind having a quick chat with me some time, do let me know :)

    Hi there

    I think food vans have made a resurgence. Some interesting and unique ones out there. Check out http://foodtruckr.com/ for free advice and tips. Good luck and enjoy.

    Maureen Pound
    Business Coach for the Brave
    http://www.maureenpound.com

    #1147093
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
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    Hi Maureen,

    Welcome to Flying Solo! To help you get started, please take a moment to read our Tips for new players post. :)

    Thanks and glad to have you here.

    Dave

    #1147094
    SACKO – Head Office
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    Hi MrLeigh

    I am not into food van business but I once saw on TV how it is being in that kind of business.

    Their capital investment is a bit expensive for they had custom-made their van plus all the supplies and also the workers. Not to mention that it is a moving business therefore there would be extra expenses for petroleum and since it is an outside business, the weather is also a big factor.

    The good thing is that this kind of business is way flexible than others, it can go to places where there are prospective buyers like events, festivals, etc. Also, being in that kind business would likely allow you to have a wide range of buyers.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards
    Edelyn

    #1147095
    Nuoc Mama
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    Hey there MrLeigh

    Your question is music to my ears! Or is that my belly? haha I’m actually in the process myself at the moment and more than happy to give you some advice on tryna set one up.

    Most of the important points have been addressed but depending on your cuisine choices and complexity of your menu and intended targets I would suggest starting out of small stands at say a farmers market to see how your food is received. This is something I’m trying to organise at the moment. Most farmers market will require you either use goods sourced from their other stallholders or certified vendors depending on where you are selling. Where are you located by the way?

    The 20k investment is a little low and unrealistic if you consider the permits, equipment, truck customisation and insurance you’ll be required to get before you start as well any food handling certificates. You will also need to consider if you need a commercial kitchen space to prep and store food before you take things out to the hungry public.

    A food truck is veryyy tough work so unless you are adamant that this is what you want to be doing, I would take plenty of time and thought in considering going down the food truck. That being said, it is a fun and fantastic new way of approaching the hospitality/food service market that is getting very popular amongst the masses.

    Good luck and happy food adventures.

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