So you’ve decided to start a food truck. You love food, and you want to share your love of it with others (and make some money while you do it). That’s a big decision, and it’s only the beginning. Before you realize your vision, there are a lot of things you’ll need to do first. One of those is to make sure your food truck is as efficient a workspace as it can be.
Choose Your Truck Size Wisely
The first thing you need to do is to decide what size your food truck is going to be. How much space you have will determine how you organize it. With the average size ranging from 14-34 feet, there’s a decent amount of variety here. You’ll need to think about what you intend to be making and serving, the equipment that requires, how many people will be working in the food truck, and how many customers you’re going to be serving. Choose wisely. Going too big or too small will cost you in terms of efficiency.
Keep Space in Mind When Choosing Equipment
Once you’ve chosen your truck size, you’ll need to choose your equipment accordingly. You only have so much room to work with, so don’t go getting the biggest and baddest of everything. Stick only with the equipment you need. Make sure the size of the equipment makes sense for both the space you have available and the quantity of food you’ll be serving. It doesn’t make sense to get a large deep fryer for frying up falafel when a countertop version will do the trick. Having the right equipment will go a long way towards creating an efficient workspace. You’ll have what you need and it won’t take up more space than it must, giving you more room to work.
Be Deliberate about Organization
Organization is one the keys to being efficient. You can’t have an efficient workspace if it’s in chaos. Think carefully about the flow of work in the kitchen here, and use that to help you design the layout of your food truck. This is where knowing your product and your process is crucial. Everything should be as streamlined as possible, from food prep to cooking to serving. Once you’ve got the layout figured out, be disciplined about keeping everything in its proper place and instill that discipline in others who work with you. That will help you not only start with an efficiently designed workspace, but keep it that way.
Be Smart about Storage
Limited space means limited storage. You need to store everything from dishes and equipment to the food and ingredients, but you have limited space to work with. You’ll need to be smart about using all your available space. Pull-out shelves in your cabinets can help you make the most of your space, which is invaluable in a food truck where storage space is extremely limited. Remember to think vertically too. You can probably store a few things overhead.
Avoid Having Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Food trucks aren’t usually a one-man show. There are usually a handful of people working to keep up with orders and get food out in a quick, efficient manner. There’s a reason there’s a saying about there being too many cooks in the kitchen though. If you have too many people working in a small space, you’ll just be tripping over each other the whole time. You can’t work efficiently that way. Make sure the number of people you have working in your food truck makes sense for the space you have and the tasks that need to be done.
Keep It Clean
Cleanliness is crucial for food safety, personnel safety, and efficiency. You can’t work quickly and efficiently in a messy kitchen. You won’t be able to find things as easily as you need to. The frequency of mistakes will increase. The risk of injury rises too, and you’d better believe that injuries slow you down and reduce your efficiency. Make it a point to keep your food truck clean. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this one point.
Look for Alternative Spaces for Food Prep
Because you have pretty limited space in your food truck, food prep can be a little extra tricky if you’re only using your truck. Consider using alternative spaces for preparing your ingredients. You could use a commissary kitchen or rent a shared or private commercial kitchen. If you’re friends with people in your local restaurants, you might see if you can use their kitchen during less busy hours. Creating a partnership could be a good move for you here.
While it’s admittedly down the list a bit as far as things you need to do to get your food truck business off the ground, creating an efficient workspace still has a solid place on that list. You can’t expect to run a successful food truck with an inefficient space. If you’re not sure what to do or how to approach it, remember that you can always try talking to other food truck owners, observing them, and see what does and doesn’t work.