Food trucks and concession trailers can be stand-alone businesses, or they can be an add-on to existing food businesses. Food trucks can be a great way to boost business when you already have an established food company, whether it is a restaurant or a catering business.
For one Chicago-area company, adding food trucks helped increase revenue when sales in other areas were down. Marcus Lemonis of The Profit stepped in to open up the possibilities for Honest Foods.
Honest Foods Gets Reinvented
Honest Foods was featured on The Profit in the fall of 2016. Honest Foods has been in business in Chicago for over twenty years. They are a catering business that served exceptional food.
When they appeared on the show, Honest Foods was struggling financially. Their profits were down 30%, and they weren’t sure why. They served just one or two large groups of customers—the movie industry in particular. However, when business for movie-makers was down, so were their catering numbers. One potential avenue for increasing revenue was to invest in food trucks.
Marcus Lemonis did an informal survey on food truck owners in downtown Chicago. He visited with two food truck owners on the show. The first noted that he invested $55,000 in his food truck. He estimated that he would gross $500,000 per year. The second indicated that he spent $58,000 on his truck, and he would make between $250,000 and $300,000 per year.
Based on these numbers, it was easy for Marcus and Honest Foods to see the potential. Marcus proposed that Honest Foods invest in two food trucks. He predicted that each truck would be able to gross $300,000 per year, with roughly $180,000 in net revenues per year for both vehicles.
The team purchased two used food trucks to start out. The goal of the food truck was to have other sources of income when catering jobs were down. Adding these concession trailers to the mix supported stability in profits for the business.
One of the downsides of buying a used truck is the potential for mechanical problems. Honest Foods learned the hard way that they should have a used truck inspected before purchase. Failing to have it examined added another roughly $5,000 to the total price of one of the trucks.
Getting a brand-new truck may be more expensive, but you know exactly what you are getting. In addition, new trucks also often come with warranties that can be very valuable if there are problems with the truck as you get started. You can completely avoid the issues that Honest Foods faced with buying a used truck. At Concession Nation, we also offer delivery—which means you can avoid the all-night drive that Honest Foods owner, Tad Devlin had to endure!
The food trucks that Honest Foods added were very different from their catering business. One focused on shaved ice and desserts, and the other served gourmet grilled cheese. They designed the graphics for the trucks themselves and created unique menus that fit the theme of each truck.
Food trucks are a great way to experiment with new food offerings. On The Profit, Honest Foods created a “dessert grilled cheese” that included Nutella, bananas, and marshmallows. If that unique combination is a hit, you can bet that they will include it in their catering offerings. Food trucks and concession trailers allow you to get creative, and then serve what works best in both locations.
Adding Food Trucks to Your Business
Food trucks can be a great addition to a restaurant, catering business, or other food-related venture. Or even a hotel and large office building. Concession trailers allow you to expand your business to people that may not otherwise visit your business. Your food truck can go to brand new customers throughout your city. You can also be present at large events, such as festivals, seasonal outings, and community gatherings without securing a catering gig.
You can get exposure from a food truck in ways that simply cannot be obtained with a brick and mortar business. You can even cross-market while you sell—your food truck can promote the restaurant or catering service and vice versa! People who enjoy shaved ice and grilled cheese will certainly be aware of Honest Foods’ catering service, if they weren’t already, after they visit their food trucks.
If you have a catering business, your food truck can travel to events with you. You can serve food directly from the truck or trailer, or you can cook in the truck and set out food in another location—or you can do what Honest Foods did and combine the two for various events.
Adding food trucks worked for Honest Foods, and it can work for your business, too! The team at Concession Nation has helped over 1,500 business owners get on their feet with food trucks. Whether you are starting a food truck business or supplementing your income, Concession Nation has the experience you need to get the job done. Contact us.