4 Ways to Prepare Your Food Truck for the Busy Season

Before you hit the road this spring, make sure you're ready to roll.
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It's smart to start hiring summer employees for your food truck now so you can get a head start on training. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

For many food trucks, spring means the start of busy season. The time to prepare? Winter.

“If your truck is not ready, you and your staff will find you’re not prepared when your lines start building up,” said Richard Myrick, editor-in-chief of Mobile Cuisine Magazine. “And the longer your lines get, there’s a bigger chance that people at the back of the line will decide to move on to the next truck.”

Myrick said there are four major areas to evaluate to make sure you’re ready to roll.

Related: 5 Ways Food Trucks Can Dominate in the Off-Season

Have your paperwork ready

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“A big key is making sure you have all your paperwork in place, if you don’t have your permits or your registration in order, that’s the quickest way for your day to get shut down.” -Richard Myrick (Photo: Richard Myrick)

“A big key is making sure you have all your paperwork in place,” said Myrick.

The food truck industry is quickly growing in popularity across the United States, which also means public officials and police departments are more likely to stop by for a random inspection.

“If you don’t have your permits or your registration in order, that’s the quickest way for your day to get shut down,” he said.

Tune up the truck

If your food truck can’t get from point A to point B, you’re not going to make money, so truck maintenance is key.

Myrick suggested checking the radiator and tires for starters. Look for tire wear or damage and check the tire pressure. Drive the truck around to make sure it’s not pulling to either side. “Those kinds of things can lead to bigger and more complicated problems,” he said.

If you’ve continued running your truck through the colder months, you’ll want to flush out your winter antifreeze and fill the cooling system with a summer-appropriate antifreeze.

Myrick provides a more extensive checklist on the Mobile Cuisine website.

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Make sure your food truck’s equipment is working after a winter of storage by checking things like electrical wiring and propane lines. (Photo: Roger Schultz/Flickr)

Check your equipment

Next, if you haven’t used the truck over the winter, you’ll want to make sure all the equipment is operating.

“Over the winter, from a lack of use and just keeping a truck in storage, lines can get worn just from weathering,” he said. “If you’re running propane, check all of your lines and all of the connections for any leaks to avoid a potentially hazardous situation for yourself, your customers and your employees.”

“Your electrical wiring and connections should also be checked to make sure it’s in good condition, said Myrick. “That may even mean opening up conduits to make sure that those electrical connections are clean and that you’re going to get the electricity that your equipment needs to operate.”

Then there’s the fine-tuning of the equipment to make sure it works the first time, and replacing any worn parts.

Hire your summer staff

Myrick said it’s essential to line up your summer staff early. Keep in contact with your employees over the winter or find new ones who can work the shifts you need.

Related: How to Hire Reliable Summer Employees

If you have high turnover, be sure to allot time for training. “That could mean early training sessions to make sure that everybody can cook the meals as needed, when needed and at the speed that you require as an owner.”

With a little prep work, when high season hits, you’ll be ready to get cooking.

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