The Food Truck Business Purchasing Guide


Make smart decisions when purchasing equipment for your Food Truck Business. Learn about the equipment you will need, typical costs, and where are the best places to buy it.

Required Equipment and Materials


Most food truck owners will need the following equipment to get started:

  • Refrigeration ($1000 - $5000 each)
  • Prep table ($500 - $1000)
  • Cash registers ($100 - $200)
  • Various cleaning supplies ($150 - $200)
  • Disposal dishware, foam or plastic ($15 - $80)
  • Exhaust hood ($500 – $1,500)
  • Check books ($50)
  • Commercial cooking units (fryer, charbroiler, grill) ($500 - $1000)
  • Signage for menu ($100)
  • Condiment dispensers ($12 - $20 each)
  • Truck ($20,000 - $100,000)

You should plan to budget anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 for initial purchasing costs. The biggest cost by far will be sourcing the actual truck, unless you choose to lease a vehicle.

Sample List of Purchases

A typical person looking to purchase equipment for a food truck business might make the following purchases:

  Grand Total: $38,874 

Key Decisions


Picking the right truck is arguably the most important buying decision you’ll make when starting a food truck business. We outline the key considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when making this purchase and provide some popular options.

Considerations When Buying a Food Truck

Be Efficient in Using Limited Space

Food trucks put a size restriction on food preparation and operation—think about the size of the truck you need for the food you will be making. This includes space to store, prepare, and sell your food.  

You may need multiple freezers and fridges for the day’s operation, as well as a ventilation system if your proposed food preparation creates a lot of smoke. Think about how many people you want to be able to have in the food truck at once, and whether you’ll need an AC system.

Determine the Cooking Facilities You Will Need

Make sure to think through each stage of food prep to gather all the cooking units you will need. For example, if you are a food truck that specializes in ice cream, think about the amount of commercial freezers you will need for your inventory. Or, if you’re starting a veggie burger food truck, you may need multiple commercial cooking units, such as a bun warmer and grill.

Follow Local Legal Codes

There may be specific legal requirements for your food truck spaces in terms of safety. Make sure that the space you will have follows the safety codes of businesses in the areas you want to operate in, so that it can pass an inspection when needed.

Make Your Design Stand Out

Apart from the quality of the food itself, making a successful food truck business requires great packaging and design as well. Always keep in mind ways you can make your food truck stand out in the crowd, and incorporate that into building your food truck.

Popular Opinions

Here are some popular options in finding the right truck to build your business.  

Customizing

If you have enough mechanical skills, and spare time, it may be a worthwhile investment to customize your own truck. This process would include things like finishing, electrical work, plumbing, etc.

This is a great option if you want to save some money, or if your food truck idea is unique and unlikely to have previous models that are built to suit your needs.

Second-Hand Food Trucks

If your food truck aims to create more common types of food, such as pizza or burgers, there may be used trucks that you can start with. Although some modifications will be needed, this option will also greatly reduce your startup costs.

Leasing

If you can’t afford a new or used truck, it may be worthwhile to consider leasing a truck from a leasing company instead of purchasing a truck upfront. This is a low-risk option that may be great to test the waters for your new business.

Best Places to Buy


As mentioned above, one can either buy a new truck and customize, find a used truck, or choose to lease. Just make sure to inspect the vehicle thoroughly beforehand to ensure it is good working condition and will suit your needs.

PrestigeFoodTrucks

This is a great retailer for aspiring business owners with capital on hand. You can either buy a new, ready-made truck or choose to lease one. PrestigeFoodTrucks has great reviews and has collaborated with many famous franchises.

UsedVending

UsedVending is a common stop for many previous owners of food trucks to list their vehicle for purchase. There is a wide selection throughout all of the U.S. as well as Canada. UsedVending also sells other items food truck owners may need, such as cooking units.

Usedvending also has a number of different locations to make purchasing an easy process for its customers.

CustomConcessions

A premier source for building customized food trucks, CustomConcessions provides great designs for business owners with capital ready to invest in their business. Owners are able to get a free consultation for a quote for the price of their dream food truck. However, prices are likely to be much higher.

RestaurantEquippers

For all other smaller items, such as cooking units, fridges, and other utensils needed for food truck business, RestaurantEquippers offers a range of options. With an online store as well as physical locations, it is a great option to begin looking at all the goods needed for food truck business.