Business is booming in the Asheville food truck industry. It took a little while (about a year) for Asheville City Council to approve the downtown vending. But as of Friday, March 2 food truck owners have their own space in downtown Asheville. “The Lot” is what food truck owners are calling the parking lot located next to the bus station at 51 Coxe Ave. Among the vendors are Gypsy Queen Cuisine, The Pink Taco Truck, and The Lowdown Truck. The people are responding; food trucks are growing more and more popular. They seem to be a business venture that many people are considering. So let’s take a look at some of the issues involved in the business side of opening a food truck in Asheville, N.C.
First and foremost is the financial aspect, food trucks aren’t necessarily cheap. It would be wise to consider what your needs are according to the type of food you will serve and the preparation involved. You may not need a large truck if you plan to prep and cook food at home, and just use the truck for vending alone. In this case, a smaller, less mobile truck with a small kitchen may be a good option. But if your menu is a little more extensive and requires a larger kitchen, a truck with more options may be what you need. There are hotdog style carts that can be found at around $2,000 and refurbished, drivable trucks can run over $40,000. Food carts and trucks, just like restaurants, are subject to fire and health inspections.
The general consensus seems to that a used truck is a great way to go simply because they are already outfitted. The cost of acquiring and remodeling a new truck with vending windows, lined walls and floors, hot running water, electricity, and a payment system can cost $75,000 to $100,000.
Food trucks require insurance. Luckily it’s not as expensive as you may think; it doesn’t cost much more than regular car insurance. Although it is best to tell the insurance provider of any and all risks that your truck might pose. Remember to discuss what risks your auto policy covers and if there is additional insurance you should get.
Permits are also required for a food truck. First the site has to be approved for permanent food vending. There are specific requirements, especially for a downtown location, including sidewalks and power source (generators are not allowed downtown). After that the food truck itself must have and individual permit and Buncombe County Health Department permit. In order to operate a City Business License would also be required.
Creatively, and just as important are the menu, business name and marketing strategy. Your food has to taste good, your name should be fantastic and catchy, and you need to get people interested in what you have to offer.
If you are interested in joining the food truck revolution, give Fisher Stark a call. We can help you with the legalities of starting a small business. And while we work on minimizing your risks and protecting your assets, you can focus on that awesome name for your awesome food truck. Call 828.505.4300 to speak with one of our small business attorneys today.
Last updated 7/5/2015
We provide small business services for Western North Carolina communities including Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville, Brevard, Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton and Weaverville.