How to establish a food carts business

Food carts, one of the most fun to run businesses, is growing popularity among people day by day. Are you looking to start your own food cart business or are just curious about this business opportunity? Then, check out our easy simple guide to start you own food cart business today.

Why food carts

You can start your own food cart business at a minimal cost which surely makes it less risky than operating a traditional restaurant which can cost a lot to even start. As a bonus, you can operate this business at your leisure. In addition, the mobility of a food cart business allows you to take it to a place that might attract more customers that day making it easier to reach new customers and increase your sales. You don’t need a whole lot of team of experience to start your food business journey: you can even start a food cart business solo. Not to mention that the popularity of street food today compared to restaurants attracts more and more customers daily.

1 Know your customers

Before starting any business, you need to first check where your potential customers are and who are they. Through this and a detailed analysis, you can create an idea of how much earnings you should expect per the number of given customers available in each geographical area. It would be ideal if you find an area where there is no competition.

2 Get your license

Before starting any business you need a license to operate legally and to understand how to abide by any restrictions. Different cities have their different requirements which may include truck permits, health department certificates, etc. You need to check your local government rules for the same and apply for a permit. An interesting fact: Los Angeles County has the most stringent regulatory hurdles than anywhere else in the US. So if you can get a permit in LA, you can get one easily almost anywhere else. 

3 Cost to start the business

Congrats! You got your license! Now let's check out the cost for starting this business. Now obviously to start this business you need to have a food cart. You need to think what food you would want to serve on it and what all variety and optional offerings would be. Our research shows that the most unique and exotic foods sell the best. You need to determine your daily sourcing for all the ingredients and food supplies. With all these details in place, you can start figuring out a budget required to get into this business.

4 Write down a full proof plan

Even though it is a fun to run business, you should still go in with a thoroughly thought-out plan so that you make the best out of your new business and not get lost in competition. It is not as complicated as you may think. First your business needs an awesome name by which people can remember your delicious food. With the name you also need a simple mission statement: it maybe a one line statement that tell about your business is or what is your business wants to do for the people. Then you need to find the perfect cart that is spacious, designed right, and can attract customers. Remember to do the maths: know what will be the start-up cost or investment plus you also need to write down the daily operational cost of the business, including cleaning, fuel, and what you are paying any employees. With the basics done, then we need to figure out some projections like, how much profit or loss will you incur in the upcoming months of starting the business.

5 Get financing  

Now you have a foolproof plan and you know what exactly you want plus how much money it would require to start this business You need to figure out where you can get this kind of financing. Basically, you can borrow money from friends and family or you can go to a bank to take a loan. When taking a loan from the bank you need to figure out how much interest you will owe over the course of your loan. As such, you will ensure the proceeds from the food cart will be able to cover the interest and ultimately pay the principal on the loan per your planned timeline. 

6 Find a place to start

Food carts are relatively small compared to other types of food ventures like food trucks and it can be really competitive depending on where you are going to be operating. To start, you need to find a place where you can actually sell your food items and at the same time don’t face a lot of competition. Obviously you will want to note whether the neighborhood is safe for you even overnight if you plan to operate longer hours. 

7 Use social media

Some of the most successful businesses today use social media to grow their business online. Use social media to create a buzz and attract your customers to your food car. You can use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to actually share how your food looks like and what your customers opinions and reviews are on buying your food.

8 Making it big

Once your brand starts taking off, get yourself some kind of uniform that describes your brand and also think about merchandising. You can, for example, start selling tee shirts, coffee mugs, and other promotional items. Connect with your customers to grow your brand. The bigger your brand becomes the more customers are willing to buy from you.



The food cart industry has changed incredibly over the past few years becoming one of the hottest new businesses you can start from a very minimal investment. From the comfort of your own neighborhood, you can launch this business and attract new customers. Over time building with dedication and hard work, this is a business opportunity that allows you to build a profitable brand and grow it into a food carts franchise.