Starting A Food Truck Part 4 – Steal My Idea
When I started this food truck series I promised to share my brilliant (brilliant in my own mind at least) food truck idea. I’ve got enough balls in the air that I simply can’t add another one to this juggling act of a life. So I invite you to take this idea and put it into action. If you do I’d love to hear from you and hear how it’s going – a way for me to live my food truck dream vicariously through you! You do however have to promise that I get free food if I come visit your truck.
(Note to keep myself covered in this litigious society: this is NOT a flushed-out business concept and anyone who takes the below information does so with the full knowledge that they should build a comprehensive business plan of their own that takes a look at all the risks inherent in starting up a business. Anyone who takes the following idea does so with the knowledge that opening up any business is risky and cannot hold me accountable for any lose of income that may result.)
Ok, now that I won’t be sued – my idea is to open up a gourmet cookie & milk truck. Sound too basic? Read the very very basic business plan skeleton below:
Target Market: Hungry college students at two local colleges – one has approx 42,000 students while the other approximately 4000 students – who are looking for a late night sugar rush.
Company Name: Baked – because the cookies are baked and because…well…they’re college kids and they would find humor in getting ‘baked’ at night.
Product: The menu would consist of five regular gourmet cookie flavors – such as Spiced Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Truffle – that are prepped offsite in a commissary or commercial kitchen and baked on the truck so that they are warm when given to waiting customers. The menu would also feature rotating flavors based on season/holidays such as “Luck ‘O The Irish” Chocolate Guiness Cookies around St. Patrick’s Day and Key Lime White Chocolate in the summer when key limes are in season.
Marketing: Some minimal print advertising in student newspapers to build awareness and via social networking sites such as FaceBook, FourSquare, and Twitter to alert students when the cookie truck is in their neighborhood.
Strategy: The truck will operate from 8pm – 2am Wednesday – Sunday during the academic school year and rotate between the various campuses. During exam weeks the truck will have extended hours and it will have reduced hours during campus holidays. The truck will also have the flexibility to attend university-related sporting events, can be ‘called upon’ to visit fraternity parties, etc. During the summer months the truck would have limited hours on campus and look for additional events.
Back of the Envelope Financials:
Cookies would sell for $1 per cookie or $10 for a dozen. Cash only or, if possible, contract with the university to accept student “points” (cashless payment) if that is applicable to that school.
If you estimate that you can sell, on average, 800 cookies per night and include only 9 months worth of work to coorespond with the academic calendar, you could have sales of $144,000 annually. From that you’d have to subtract out your fixed monthly expenses (kitchen/commissary rent and vehicle insurance) for which I estimated $900 monthly and your variable costs (gas and ingredients) for which I assumed $7,000 monthly. There are also the annual costs of doing business such as securing or renewing a business license, health department permit, etc and for that I estimated approximately $1640 per year. After you take those expenses into account the business would net $68,560 at the end of the year.
Keep in mind that those calculations do not include labor costs (for you or other employees), taxes, or the cost to rent or buy the food truck itself. Still, it’s enough to make me stop and think that it has the potential to be a good idea. If only I had the time to institute it! What do you think?