Especially among millennials, food trucks have become hip and exciting…
In India, we’ve always had a vibrant street culture. Cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are known for the variety and delectableness of their street food. Hawkers can be found all over the urban landscapes of India dishing out puchkas, bhel puri, samosas, pakodas, pav bhaaji and more to the hungry hoards. Restaurants and street hawkers have existed peacefully side by side for decades.
Food trucks (mobile cuisine) have been around in the West for a long time but have now started making inroads into India too. Foodie entrepreneurs have jumped on the mobile cuisine bandwagon and millennials are flocking to these food trucks in urban areas. In fact, millennials are considered the ‘food truck generation’. For them food trucks are with-it, exciting, new, different and fun.
What makes food trucks so popular? Well for one, they offer food that is easy on the pocket. Service is fast. They are more hygienic than street food vendors. They are also very convenient for those on the go who don’t want to waste time stepping into a restaurant and waiting for their order.
If you are a foodie and an entrepreneur who is looking to open a food-related business, mobile cuisine is an option you could explore. Why?
1) Indians are eating out more and more and they love to explore new cuisines, new fads. Food trucks have already been proven to be popular. So chances are, you already have a market for your concept.
2) Setting up a food truck in a commercial area means you have a captive audience of officegoers who are looking for speedy service, hygienic surroundings and good food at reasonable prices.
3) A food truck in a tourist location could fetch you good business too. Because again, many tourists would prefer to grab a quick bite rather than go into a restaurant.
4) Specialize in a cuisine and offer something different at your food truck and you are bound to attract footfalls. Indians are getting more experimental in terms of their food choices. So you don’t have to restrict yourself to idli-sambhar, poori-potato, tandoori kababs or burgers. You could try a dessert truck, a food truck with vegan food, or some exotic cuisine.
5) If you don’t want to spend the entire day at your food truck, you could look at a food truck specializing in breakfast. Or just dinner. With more and more youngsters leaving their hometowns and flocking to cities for work, they are always on the lookout for reasonably priced but tasty food. So many youngsters balk at the thought of cooking breakfast or dinner. They would much rather grab a bite outside.
6) Starting a food truck is much cheaper than setting up a restaurant. Your overheads are so much lower. Therefore, if you have limited means but have a food dream, this is an option you should look at. The only cost is buying a truck and investment in equipment. Your operation costs too are significantly lower than if you had to run a restaurant.
7) You also don’t have to have a large staff, which means you save on employing people. Depending on what you serve, you could do it on your own or with a couple of helpers.
8) The menu is flexible. If you find something is not working, you can always dump it and introduce something new. You are not tied to a menu for months, like a restaurant is.
9) You can vary your locations. Let’s say a particular location is not working for you – be it because there is too much competition or there’s not enough business – you could look at taking your food truck elsewhere and setting up shop there.
10) It’s an economical way to build your brand. Since you have more flexibility, you can experiment with dishes, and even your brand name before you embark on opening a restaurant or a chain of restaurants. You can see what works and what doesn’t and tweak your products and services before expanding.
Did you know that around 60% restaurants fail in the first year, and almost a staggering 80% shut shop before their fifth year? The main reasons for this are high rentals and bad location. With a food truck, you have neither of these to worry about. Of course, each city will have their laws, permits and rentals, but the cost is nothing compared to what you will incur running a restaurant.
In the US, the food truck business is worth a whopping $800 million and is expected to grow 20% in 2019. In India, it is still in a nascent stage, but the popularity of food trucks is growing in leaps and bounds among hip youngsters and officegoers. So, think about mobile cuisine if you are looking at a food business with less risks, a good market and low investments.