From gourmet burgers to stoned baked pizza, see some of the most profitable food truck items
Food trucks are now part of popular culture and whatever you can find in a restaurant you can find on the street food scene.
However, not all food trucks are created equally and you will see some with long queues of hungry customers patiently waiting to be served, others with shorter queues, and even some with no queues at all.
If you are anything like me, then you may be wondering why this is so and what is the most profitable type of food truck?
Well, food trucks that make the most tend to strike a good balance between the popularity of the food sold, and the profitability of the ingredients.
Determining the most profitable food items on a food truck menu involves a multi-step process that combines cost analysis, sales tracking, and customer feedback. Here’s a systematic approach to do this:
- Ingredient Cost Analysis: First, calculate the cost of ingredients for each menu item. This should include all components of the dish, from primary ingredients to garnishes.
- Operational Costs: Factor in the operational costs associated with each item. This includes cooking time (and the cost of fuel or electricity), labor costs, and any special equipment needed for specific items.
- Pricing Strategy: Ensure each item is priced appropriately. This involves considering the cost of ingredients and operations, as well as the perceived value by customers and competitive pricing.
- Sales Tracking: Implement a system to track the sales of each item. This can be done through a point-of-sale system or manual tracking. Record the number of each item sold and at what times they are most popular.
- Revenue Calculation: For each item, calculate the total revenue (price multiplied by the number sold).
- Profit Calculation: Subtract the total cost (ingredient cost plus operational cost) from the revenue for each item to find the profit.
In this article, I have listed 7 of the most profitable food truck menu items and tips for keeping food costs low.
Burgers have been served up by food trucks and trailers from the day dot and for very good reason.
Not only are they extremely tasty but are very popular, as well as relatively cheap and easy to produce.
And they are still just as popular today, which makes them one of the most profitable types of food truck items out there.
2. Indian Street Food
Another firm favorite, not just on the street food scene, but around the world is Indian food.
Any food product that has a lot of sauce to it, like curries, and has quite a wide range of vegan options to choose from is cheap to produce, which means higher profitability.
It can also be cooked in bulk, as well as costing minimal time in terms of preparation on the plate. People expect Indian food to be a lot messier than foods such as sushi.
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3. Stone Baked Pizza
Some of the best food in the world was created out of necessity by the poor.
The same goes for the garlic sauce used as a topping for pizza, known as “peasant food”
So you can see why this would be a profitable food truck item that is cheap to produce and can be sold at a premium.
4. Loaded Fries
Sometimes sold as a main meal or as a side at food trucks that sell products such as burgers or hotdogs.
Loaded fries are extremely cheap to produce as all you are using is potatoes, salt, pepper, and a range of seasonings and toppings.
Think garlic mayo, cheese, and a sprinkle of rosemary and thyme.
5. Grilled Cheese
Like hotdogs or burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches are made by using one main product.
Sure you might offer a range of different types of cheese but you get the premise.
Any type of food truck cuisine that uses a lot of fruits and vegetables and minimal amounts of meat will be profitable.
This goes for falafel wraps or salad boxes.
Falafels are from the Middle East and are made by blending chickpeas with oil and spices and then deep-fried.
It is then served in pitta bread or wrap with salad and dressings or in a salad box.
7. Mac N Cheese
Known as mac n’ cheese in the US and Macaroni cheese in the UK this is quite a versatile dish.
Made mainly, from macaroni pasta with melted cheese a wide array of toppings can be added to this type of food.
Think salami, smoked bacon, or fried shrimp.
How food trucks become profitable
Food trucks that are successful and tend to make the most money do several things to minimize expenses and maximize profits.
Keep the number of menu options small
A good way to make food truck items profitable is to keep the menu options to a minimum.
A good rule of thumb is around 3-5 food options.
The fewer options there are on the menu, the fewer ingredients that will be needed, hence reducing the cost of the final product.
This also helps with stock control of efficiency when producing food and reduces food waste.
Go vegan or use less meat
Using meat, like beef, chicken, or pork in dishes is one of the biggest expenditures when it comes to street food or any type of food operation for that matter.
To keep expenses low and profits high it’s a good idea to construct a food truck menu that uses less meat or meats that are relatively cheaper to produce such as chicken.
Use seasonal locally produced ingredients
Ingredients that are more exotic and grown in other countries often come at a price.
This is because they are grown, packed, and shipped from another place, sometimes on the other side of the world.
If possible try and create a food menu that is seasonal where you can tap into local producers and suppliers.
This can keep the price low and help with the bottom line.
Consumer demand and price of ingredients
There’s no point in making a food truck menu that may be profitable in terms of the cost of ingredients but no one wants to buy the food.
It can be a balancing act between choosing a dish that is popular and has a proven market and the price of the ingredients.
The list above has these two elements in mind and a good example of these would be burgers and pizza
Striking the right balance between a dish that is popular with the consumer and the cost of producing it is the key to coming up with the most profitable food truck items.
Menu items such as burgers and pizza, for example, are known and loved by millions and they are relatively easy and inexpensive to make.
The fact they have been around for a long time on both the restaurant and food truck scene is a testament to this.
In short, the most profitable food truck item is one that sells well and is cheap to produce.
If you stick to that method as a starting point there is no reason why you can’t make money with a food truck