Why Not Start a Food Business Using Your Bike or Car? Secrets Behind Food Trucks

The food business is one of the industries that is still showing significant growth in Indonesia. However, high competition among the players has demanded food business owners to not only be able to produce delicious food but also creative concepts.

One of the recent trends found in a big city like Jakarta is "pop-up restaurants" in the form of food trucks or bike trucks. Just like the name, food truck is a concept of food stall that uses a modified vehicle – a bus, a truck, or a big motorcycle – equipped to cook and sell food.

If you have a vehicle that you can use and are ready to run a food business that is simpler than a restaurant, you can try this one. Here are the steps:

1. Do a market research to identify your target customers

This is an important thing that you should do as an entrepreneur, in whichever field may enter. By doing a research, you would understand the kind of food truck products and concepts that are suitable for your potential customers.

Ifad, co-owner of Satay Fatboy who had successfully opened a food stall in Pasar Santa, South Jakarta, says that he had done a research with his partners to determine the right price range for their products, before finally decided to run Fatboy bike truck. The Fatboy food stall in Pasar Santa reached breakeven in three months.

Based on their own market research, the snack menu sold in Fatboy – sausages, meatballs on a stick, chicken wings, grilled corns, et cetera – are popular among the youngsters aged 14 to 22 years old. Based on that data, Fatboy can sell each menu for Rp 6000-Rp 15,000.

2. Hunt for a strategic location

After identifying your potential customers, the next step is to find a location to park your food truck. The location is crucial for the success rate of your food truck business, because most of the traffic would be generated from people who usually hang out in that area.

According to Ifad, Fatboy bike truck is placed in the center of areas that are popular with the youngsters – so far the locations he chose have generated good traffic in front of Camden Bar in South Jakarta, and at Sarinah parking lot in Central Jakarta.

The benefit of having a food truck is you can quickly move to a different location when you realize that you have picked a bad location.

3. Estimate the cost needed to modify your vehicle and buy kitchen utensils

Food truck is usually in the form of a vehicle that has been modified into a place to cook and sell food. A large bus or truck that is uniquely designed and modified will surely become the talk of the town, but you need to spend between Rp 200 million and Rp 700 million just for the making.

[Read: How I Funded My Small Business]

If you have a tight budget to spend, you can use the concept of bike truck like Fatboy. A bike truck is similar to a food truck, but it is much cheaper to produce, fuel efficient, and easier to be relocate, because of its compact size.

"The bike truck only requires two months to build," says Ifad, adding that the cost reached around Rp 30 million.

When you are done with the vehicle, start thinking about the kitchen utensils that you would need in the long run. You should buy compact, efficient tools that will not eat up your tight space.

4. Finalize the menu and name for your food truck

A successful food truck will not only be able to attract people within the first weeks of its operation, but also generate a steady flow of customers. Thus, the right choice of menu will determine the longevity of your business.

Ifad explains that Fatboy owners picked snacks that are already familiar to youngsters.

For the names, keep it simple, easy to remember, and relates to the menu that you are selling.

For example, the name "Fatboy" was picked because it describes the menu that are sold – greasy and full of calories, or in other words, making people fat. Even though it looks trivial, don't underestimate this process!

5. Make sure that your food has a unique selling point and good quality so that you will have return customers

According to Ifad, an entrepreneur needs to have patience and the ability to introduce something different to run a successful food truck business. Next, as a seller you need to retain customers that are already interested with your products, by maintaining good taste and service quality.

For example, you can make an extra effort to memorize the names of your customers and write them down on the food containers. By doing this, the customers would feel happy and encouraged to take a picture of their food and share them on their social media. You can start adding your loyal customers base.

When you are starting a food truck business, you should not expect an overnight success. Every businessman needs hard work and perseverance in order to become successful.

Now that you know the theories, it is time to make it happen. Good luck!

Read also: How to Start a Business by Opening Kiosk in Jakarta

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