The Food Truck phenomenon is huge and only expected to get more popular. It’s estimated that food trucks and food trailers serve about 2.5 billion people per day. While this trend is most popular in the so-called progressive cities of Seattle, Austin, and Los Angeles, it’s catching on in other cities around the country. It’s safe to say the mobile food service is here to stay. Don’t confuse these mobile restaurants with the old “roach coaches” you see around construction sites. These new eateries are serving up quality food, from street tacos to gourmet entrees. Starting a mobile food service is a relatively easy thing to do. Once you’ve chosen your culinary niche, the next question a mobile chef might have is, do I buy a Food Truck or a Food Trailer? Let’s go over some of the advantages of buying a food trailer or a concession trailer vs a food truck.
Food Trailers Cost Less Than Food TrucksA food trailer is much less expensive as compared to a truck so your start-up costs are lower. A new food truck starts at around $50,000 and can run as high as $250,000. Many used options are available for under $100,000 but like buying a used car, you might be buying someone else’s headache too. Compare this to a new, 20 ft. Concession Food Trailer sold at Nationwide Trailers for about $17,000 to $18,000. These are brand new and fully complete inside with the exception of the cooking and refrigeration equipment. They include water storage, sinks, storage cabinets, electrical and generator hookups.
Food Trailers Have More SpaceBecause food trucks also have to use their space for the generator, motor, and driver and passenger seating, a 30 foot truck might have less actual cooking and storage space than a 16 or 20 foot trailer. Trailers can install generators outside on the tongue of the trailer for instance.
Trailers Offer More FlexibilityYou might start your business with a 12 foot trailer and move up to a larger one as your business grows. You can even expand your business with additional trailers. With an expensive food truck your options are more limited. Food service trailers have the advantage when at events. A trailer can more easily be left at an event for several days.
Drive Your Own VehicleWhile it might be placed under the “cons” column when considering a food trailer or food truck because you have the extra expense of buying a vehicle, it’s also likely you already own a truck or SUV that can pull your food vending trailer. You also have the flexibility to leave your trailer in a location during service hours while allowing you to still drive your vehicle, maybe to pick up more supplies on an extra busy day. With a truck, you can’t leave and still continue service. Maintenance is another consideration. If your truck is broken down you’re out of commission. You have more flexibility with a concession trailer. You can borrow a vehicle, rent, or leave your trailer in a good location while your truck is being serviced.
Less Depreciation On TrailersNeither a food truck or food trailer increases in value but a truck will lose more value faster. You put miles on your food truck but a trailer doesn’t record miles. Sure you have maintenance on trailers for items such as tires and brakes, but you don’t have the wear and tear on the engine and transmission that you do on a truck.