If you love to cook and want to do so in interesting ways while making money, there are many food truck ideas you could start.
There are so many types of food trucks out there nowadays, and each can do well if you’re a good cook, offer good food at good prices and market your business well.
Following are 16 of the best food truck ideas, as well as how you can earn money with different types of food trucks.
Who doesn’t love good barbecue?
There are so many different ideas for dishes, including good, old fashioned smoked ribs, pulled pork with mustard BBQ sauce topped with creamy coleslaw and even smoke sausage sandwiches.
If you really want to set yourself apart from other BBQ food trucks, try coming up with your own sauce recipes and offering them as free samples or sides.
It’s one of many clever strategies how to start a food truck business.
With the right location, you could earn up to $50,000 with a BBQ food truck over just a season. (Memphis-BBQ.com)
Tactic for Success
One thing to keep in mind if you want to start this type of food truck is that BBQ is one of the most popular cuisines. That means many people are likely to desire your food, but it also means you’ll have a lot of competition. So, make sure your recipes stand out from the competition.
Speaking of something that everybody loves, cupcakes bring back a sense of nostalgia along with satisfying people’s sweet tooth.
Gourmet cupcakes have proven to be successful in retail stores, and in many food trucks around the country.
If you’re looking for food ideas for food trucks, try unique flavor combinations such as vanilla matcha, chocolate marshmallow, and vanilla and orange cream cheese.
This is a fun job for people who don’t know what to do but have a knack for baking and business.
You could profit about $2 to $3 per cupcake you sell. (Cupcake Jones)
You could even branch out and offer catering services.
3. Ethnic Food
Food trucks that specialize in one particular ethnic food are very popular and successful.
A main reason is they are an easy and inexpensive way for people to try new cuisines.
You could go for Asian fusion, for example, and offer garlic bok choy, pineapple cashew rice, and Indian vegetable curry.
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You could make about $5,000 per month with this food truck, depending on location. (Go Szechuan House)
There are many reasons why this food truck idea would work, including:
- It’s New – People love trying new things
- It’s Inexpensive – People don’t want to spend a lot of money to try new things, though
- It can be Familiar – Presenting the food in fusion style makes it easier to stomach
- It can be Fun – Make it an experience for the customers
Sandwiches are always a great go-to. They’re easy to eat standing, sitting or on the run.
They can be eaten now or kept for later. This is why sandwich food trucks always do well.
But, they’re also very common, so you’ll have to make your recipes really stand out.
People love a good-old fashioned hamburger, hot dog and chicken sandwich. Or, you could get more inventive and use creative ingredients in new ways.
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You could make up to $100,000 eventually with this food truck business. (Grouper Sandwich)
Trend on the Rise
Food trucks are very popular, and they’re only expected to grow in number. For example, the industry grew by 13.7% between 2017 to 2022. So, now is a great time for you to get into the industry.
5. Organic Healthy Foods
The trend in organic foods is attracting more people each year, as is eating healthy.
This makes for a really great idea for a food truck, as you can show people how tasty and delicious an organic healthy meal can be.
Some examples of menu items could include:
- Smoothies – The right mix of fruit, veggies and protein in drinkable form
- Veggie Burrito – A new twist on an old classic that everyone loves
- Plant-based Meat – BBQ jackfruit is a great sandwich idea
- Egg Sandwiches – Great combinations with veggies and spices
You could make up to $16,000 per month with this idea. (Beginners Passive Income)
This might sound like a silly idea, but it can really work, especially in hot areas or during hot months. Again, this is a play on nostalgia for people.
You can get really creative with your menu ideas and flavor combinations and even name them after popular alcoholic drinks like the Mojito, Margarita and Bloody Mary.
If you can get a license to serve liquor, you could even make boozy popsicles.
You could make up to $4 in profit per popsicle you sell. (Ice Pop University)
7. Ice Cream
Ice cream trucks are nothing new. In fact, they might even be the original food truck in America.
But, if you want to stand out, you can be very successful with homemade ice cream and even gelato with great flavor combinations.
In fact, specializing in gelato may allow you to stand out even more. This could include coffee and donuts, ginger pineapple, and lemon thyme.
You could earn about $300 per day with an ice cream truck. (Chamber of Commerce)
Trend on the Rise
No matter what food you’re going to focus on, you have to make it unique to be successful. In fact, more than 80% of people who dine at food trucks choose to dine there because of a new and/or unique experience. So, keep this in mind as you’re coming up with your menu or general approach.
Americans love a good burger, and if you can make a good one, you could become wildly successful with a food truck.
It’s not unheard of for this business to turn into a job that makes $200k a year.
The key to a good burger starts with the meat, but don’t forget about offering creative toppings, too.
A great way to stand out from the competition is to offer different types of meat, and not just different toppings.
In addition to the traditional ground beef, you can offer steak burgers, chicken burgers, meatless burgers and salmon burgers, to name a few.
A solid burger food truck could earn up to $300,000 in a year. (Mashed)
Tactic for Success
Aside from the menu and prices, one of the biggest factors in the success of a food truck is marketing. It’s imperative that you have a strong social media presence. You can use these pages to market your business, tell people where you’ll be that day and show photos of your delicious food.
Everybody loves a good waffle. It doesn’t have to just be plain with maple syrup and for breakfast, either. It can be lunch/dinner or dessert, too.
You can roll up your waffles and offer them burrito style with innovative fillings such as cream cheese, lemon curd or even with a fried chicken tender in between.
Some of the most successful waffle trucks have earned almost $1 million in a year. (Concession Nation)
Specialty food trucks can be very successful, and they can appeal to a wide variety of people.
Vegan food is one example of this, as even non-vegans are interested in trying this type of food out.
Some solid menu items could be healthy burritos, vegan grilled swiss cheese sandwich, and loaded sweet potato fries.
You could make roughly $15 per dish with a vegan food truck. (How to Start an LLC)
Fresh-caught seafood would do really well on a food truck, especially if you’re near a coastal location.
Some menu items could be simply steamed crabs, clams and mussels. Or, you could go with more intricate dishes like crab cakes or even deep fried lobster.
You could earn roughly $300,000 in revenue per year from this business. (Mr. Trailers)
12. Dog Food
One creative and out-of-the-box idea would be to have a food truck that makes specialty dog food and dog treats.
A lot of people bring their dogs to food truck events, since they’re all outside — and they deserve a treat, too!
Recipe ideas include peanut butter, banana and oat, and chicken bone broth.
You could make up to $7 per treat that you sell. (NBC News)
Specialty coffee is obviously extremely popular in America, and offering this on the go would be a great idea.
You could come up with inventive flavor combinations for lattes, cappuccinos and frozen coffees. You could even add some bakery items, too.
You could make about $9,000 per month with this idea. (Green Joe Coffee Truck)
Another nostalgia item, and one that satisfies the sweet tooth. You could make cake-based or classic donuts, and offer plenty of dips and toppings for people to choose.
Flavor ideas include s’mores, vanilla raspberry, and maple bacon.
You could earn up to $250,000 in gross revenue per truck you have. (Food Truck Empire)
15. Hot Dogs
One of the staple foods in America, hot dogs are popular for people of all ages.
A great way to separate yourself from others is to not only offer traditional hot dogs, but also offer sausages, kielbasa and other meats, along with sweet and savory toppings.
You could earn about $60,000 per year with this business. (800BuyCart.com)
Carnivals aren’t all about the rides; they’re extremely popular for food, too.
So, you can capitalize on this by offering new twists to some old classic carnival recipes. Think unique twists and flavors to funnel cake, French fries and snow cones.
You could make about $2,000 per day with this type of truck. (GoTruckster)
There are many different ideas that you can go with if you’re starting a food truck. Go with one that you have a passion for, and be creative with your menu choices.
Tim is a classically-trained journalist who loves to share knowledge and information with others. In the past, he has worked in TV, online and print media, and currently works with companies to help design, create and strategize their messaging.