Catering trucks and street food don’t have the best reputations. In the past, you could count on food sellers to serve a nice treat so strong it could strip the paint off your car. Today’s sellers however, take a much different approach. The recent conditions that food sellers face can be harrowing and not to mention the health crisis in Ghana. The “food truck” invasion is taking over Accra street corners and once the haunt of blue collar workers, food trucks now attract people of various kinds.
There are no limits to the types of food that are now being sold from trucks and carts–a million chicken dishes; cupcakes; rice ball, burgers; ice cream treats and desserts of every type and delicious design.
Why start a food truck or cart rather than open a restaurant? The two prime reasons–startup costs, which can be considerably less (generally 10s rather than 100s of thousands for a truck), and profit margins, which can be considerably more (estimates run 50 percent for food trucks versus 10 percent for restaurants). Raymund Flandez offers the following steps to start a food truck business:
- Buy a used truck cheap. Choices include buying a used truck and retrofitting it, buying a new truck, or leasing. Given that a new truck can cost between $100,000 and $120,000, it’s probably not the most attractive option. Smaller, portable food carts may be suitable (and cheaper) for certain types of foods.
- Find a good location. Easier said than done! If food truckers don’t have access to private property, they are often held hostage by state and local rules, regulations, and ordinances about where they can park, and for how long–if they can get a vendor permit or license in the first place.
- Use social networking technology. Probably the easiest of the three steps given how quickly a food trucker can obtain and update a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter page. It’s entirely possible that part of the attraction for the technologically savvy crowd is the phenomenon of being “in the know” when others are clueless.