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The Food Truck Handbook: Start, Grow, and Succeed in the Mobile Food Business

ISBN: 978-1-118-20881-6
288 pages
April 2012
The Food Truck Handbook: Start, Grow, and Succeed in the Mobile Food Business (1118208811) cover image
How to start, grow, and succeed in the food truck business.

Food trucks have become a wildly popular and important part of the hospitality industry.  Consumers are flocking to these mobile food businesses in droves, inspiring national food truck competitions and even a show dedicated to the topic on The Food Network.  The relatively low cost of entry as compared to starting a restaurant, combined with free and low-cost ways to market them to the masses via platforms like social media, are just two of the reasons that food truck business are drawing in budding entrepreneurs.

Author David Weber, a food truck advocate and entrepreneur himself, is here to offer his practical, step-by-step advice to achieving your mobile food mogul dreams in The Food Truck Handbook.  This book cuts through all of the hype to give both hopeful entrepreneurs and already established truck owners an accurate portrayal of life on the streets. From concept to gaining a loyal following to preventative maintenance on your equipment this book covers it all.

  • Includes profiles of successful food trucks, detailing their operations, profitability, and scalability.
  • Establish best practices for operating your truck using one-of-a-kind templates for choosing vending locations, opening checklist, closing checklist, and more.
  • Create a sound business plan complete with a reasonable budget and finding vendors you can trust; consider daily operations in detail from start to finish, and ultimately expand your business.
  • Stay lean and profitable by avoiding the most common operating mistakes. 
  • Author David Weber is Founder and President of the NYC Food Truck Association (NYCFTA), which brings together small businesses that own and operate premium food trucks in NYC focused on innovation in hospitality, high quality food, and community development.
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Foreword Matthew Geller xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

Plan: Preparing for Success 7

Is the Trucker’s Life for Me? 9

Foundations for Success 18

Playing by the Rules 25

Picking a Concept 31

Assembling a Winning Team 49

The Business Plan 51

Raising Money 63

Start: Making It Happen 67

Administrative Necessities 69

Finalizing the Menu 78

Lay Out Your Kitchen 82

Procuring a Truck 87

Picking a Commissary 99

Branding Fundamentals 103

Hiring 109

Picking Vending Locations 112

The Opening Schedule 117

Succeed: Doing One Truck Right 121

Responsible Vending 123

Vending Locations 126

Managing the Team 132

Put It on Paper 135

Watching the Numbers 137

Refi ning the Menu 142

Social Media 145

Connecting with Customers 150

Seasonality 153

Maintenance 155

Grow: Moving beyond the Truck 157

Growth Opportunities 164

Contract Packing 171

Building the Right Infrastructure 174

Technology 176

Exiting the Food Truck Industry 179

Afterword 183

Appendix A Templates and Worksheets 185

Appendix B Food Truck Regulations, by City 205

Appendix C Social Media Guides 229

Appendix D Interviews with Food Truck Entrepreneurs 233

Notes 263

About the Author 265

Index 267

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David Weber is a food truck advocate and entrepreneur. He is founder and President of the NYC Food Truck Association (NYCFTA), which brings together small businesses that own and operate premium food trucks in New York City. David is also a cofounder of Rickshaw Dumplings, a growing fast casual chain that operates multiple food trucks. Prior to his experience in hospitality, David was a technology and business consultant. He holds an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business and a BA in English literature from Yale University.

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April 03, 2012
President of NYC Food Truck Association Advises on Mobile Food Vending

Foodies and entrepreneurs alike are flocking to food trucks for tasty meal options and new flexible business opportunities. Consumer enthusiasm for the industry has inspired national food truck competitions and Zagat ratings, helping make food trucks a permanent (yet-mobile) fixture in contemporary city life. Due to the compelling economics and mass market appeal of food trucks, individuals and restaurants from around the country are jumping head first into the mobile food business.  

David Weber, author of THE FOOD TRUCK HANDBOOK: Start, Grow and Succeed in the Mobile Food Business is leading the mobile food movement and supporting new entrepreneurs as they navigate the industry.  A former management consultant, Weber launched his career in food when he co-founded Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, an Asian Fast Casual restaurant chain, in New York City in 2005.  Rickshaw has since grown to include four food trucks, two restaurants, and kiosk in Times Square. In January 2011, Weber formed the New York City Food Trucks Association (NYCFTA), an advocacy organization that focuses on community development and negotiating fair government regulations for mobile vending within NYC.

Weber guides readers in a step-by-step journey through the entire process of launching a food truck business from concept development, to gaining a loyal following, to preventative maintenance on equipment. THE FOODTRUCK HANDBOOK provides a concise summary of Weber’s experience within the industry and offers practical advice and insider anecdotes to help aspiring entrepreneurs learn what it is like to own and operate a food truck. The book is organized into four sections:

  • Plan: This section outlines the research and planning that is required before opening a food truck and highlights critical elements such as researching local regulations, menu development, branding considerations, and fundraising options.
  • Start: This section discusses key decisions mobile food vendors need to make as they build a food truck business. Chapters highlight truck procurement, kitchen layout, menu design, and choosing profitable vending locations.
  • Succeed: This section guides food truck vendors through effective management of their growing business. Chapters discuss efficient operations, the importance of brand, and the ways in which food trucks can connect with customers. Special emphasis is given to the role of social media.
  • Grow: The final section explores ways to scale and grow a mobile food business, including: opening multiple trucks, expanding to brick-and-mortar restaurants, wholesaling, and franchising.

As Weber continues to advocate for NYC Food Trucks, his goal is that the movement will continue to spread nationally. THE FOOD TRUCK HANDBOOK gives curious entrepreneurs and food truck owners a valuable step-by-step guide to help them develop and hone their hospitality business.

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