From the name itself, food trucks fall under the food business category and operate by traveling from place to place to park and sell different kinds of food. Food trucks can sell ice creams, packed lunches, snacks, beverages, and the like.
In terms of accessibility and convenience for the customers, food trucks are the way to go since customers no longer need to drive several miles to buy the food that they’re craving for. For instance, in Los Angeles, due to the ongoing pandemic and the closing of indoor dining, food trucks have risen in popularity due to the outdoor atmosphere they create, which complies with state rules.
Mobile kitchens differ in the sense that they are usually not used as a way to directly sell food, but they are supplementary to a business that would sell food. For example, a busy hotel might rent a mobile kitchen if they know they are going to be needing the extra cooking space for a busy season, or a company might rent a mobile kitchen for an event they are planning.
The type of meal prep kitchen present today is fully customizable and is often cheaper than food trucks. Renting a mobile kitchen might be the best option depending on your needs. If you plan to start a business in this niche, you must first know the differences between the two and which option is better for you.
Food trucks were reported to be booming in 2020, reaching $996M in the market. With this, the food truck business is considered to be the fastest-growing sector of the food industry. This information can be proven by the number of trucks seen in several cities.
The main characteristics of food trucks are as follows:
- Size: Food trucks can range from 4 to 7 feet long and 2 to 6 feet wide, making it the smaller option between the two when it comes to shape and size.
- Storage: Based on the typical size of food trucks, owners usually have to resort to reduced kitchen spaces, which call for countertop cooking, and a staff number of only one to three.
- Cost: The minimum cost you would have to spend on a food truck is approximately $50,000, while the maximum is $250,000.
- Mobility: A food truck can be driven to any location with a parking space, without the hassle of packing now and then, given that it is already a vehicle and kitchen in one.
- Location: Food trucks can be parked on city streets and parks.
- Event Type: Many events call for food trucks. These events can be block parties, carnivals, fairs, and shooting locations for actors and actresses.
- Menu: The menus for food trucks are limited to a specific type of theme or cuisine given the lack of kitchen space.
- Purpose: Since food trucks are compact, owners do not have to stay in one place for a long time and can do location hopping throughout the day.
Mobile Kitchen Trailers
A mobile kitchen trailer is a container that you have to tow with your car from one place to another. Unlike food trucks, mobile kitchen trailers are separate from the owners’ vehicles.
The following are some specifications of mobile kitchen trailers:
- Size: Mobile kitchen trailers are larger than food trucks, with their size varying from 8 to 53 feet long and 7 to 8.5 feet wide.
- Storage: Since a mobile kitchen trailer is separate from the vehicle, its space is large enough for bigger kitchen equipment, and it can accommodate a full cooking staff.
- Cost: The minimum cost for a mobile kitchen trailer is approximately $10,000 (per month), while the maximum is $50,000.
- Mobility: As mentioned above, mobile kitchen trailers need to be hitched and towed to be moved from place to place.
- Location: Given its size, a mobile kitchen trailer needs a larger parking location.
- Event Type: Mobile kitchen trailers are designed for large events like big weddings, concerts, and seasonal fairs.
- Menu: With their large kitchen space, mobile kitchen trailers can have full menus with multiple courses.
- Purpose: Mobile kitchen trailers are usually the go-tos for long-term events that take days, weeks, or even months.
Which is Better?
Based on the details mentioned above, each type of mobile kitchen has its own pros and cons. If you are considering starting your own mobile food service business, it is best to learn the advantages and disadvantages of your options first, such as the starting capital and kitchen space.
Depending on your needs and the mobile kitchen specifications you prefer, it is best to weigh out each type’s pros and cons to maximize your money’s worth. If you make the right choice for yourself, you will not only make a profit but also get to enjoy running your mobile food service business.