By: Fawaz Bermamet
With its low start-up costs and flexibility, the food truck industry has started to become a staple in Kelowna’s hot spots and even an established category in the Canadian food landscape. Despite suffering from complicated regulations and a frustrated restaurant industry, food trucks appear to be thriving and it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Over the past couple of years more and more food trucks have been hitting the streets of Kelowna, with household names such as CrAsian, Kitchen Party, Surf Side California and many more, which is understandable when taking into account the industry’s margins. With an average revenue of $141 thousand, as calculated by Statistics Canada, and initial startup costs ranging from $37 thousand for low end vendors to $150 thousand for the higher end establishments, food truck venders can be seen breaking even in a short amount of time.
As there are many ways to find success in opening a food truck, there is no surefire tactic that can be followed to ensure everyone’s success, what works for one person might not work for the other. However, many specialists in this specific sector have found key elements to adopt in order to boost profitability and secure long-term service, they can be broken down into three categories. First of all, enhancing your customer service because in this day and age the internet has provided the most reliable food critique, the everyday user, and without the proper customer dispute management, a bad reputation will damage your credibility. The second is building your own brand that makes you distinguishable from others. And finally, being adaptable. Colleen, from the Kitchen Party food truck, says “If something is not selling, get rid of it, don’t waste space on something that is not selling on equipment you are not using”.
Although opening a food truck is considerably cheaper than opening a restaurant, and therefore a more tangible goal. Achieving success in this market is much more complex than it seems. Food trucks have a very high rate of failure with 60% going under within three years of operating. Various factors can contribute to food truck failure, such as a lack of financial and accounting knowledge, a food truck is at the end of the day a business which requires proper accounts handling. Another is the support from your community, “Support from the city to allow us more opportunities” answered Colleen when asked about what helped her truck gain success.