See all the food truck equipment you need to get started in the mobile catering industry
Food trucks are a good business model because the start-up costs are relatively low compared to a restaurant or cafe and they are mobile which means you can go where the footfall is.
However, getting started can be a little overwhelming especially if you don’t have any commercial catering experience.
One of the main questions most people have is what equipment does a food truck need?
The main type of food truck equipment you will need is a three-compartment sink for washing equipment and a separate sink for handwashing; work surfaces for prepping and serving; a boiler system for hot & cold running water; shelves for storage; fridges/freezers; and a power source such as LPG gas or a generator to power equipment.
There are a few more general items to consider and depending on what type of products you intend to sell will influence your final equipment list. For example, if you want to start a juice truck you will need more specialized equipment such as juicers and blenders.
Below is a full list of general and specific food truck equipment along with catering supplies such as disposable packaging and cleaning products.
Food truck equipment list (general list)
Depending on the type of food and drink you sell from a food truck will influence the equipment you need. However, there are some general pieces of equipment that every food truck needs to operate.
Stainless steel tables
You will need easy-to-clean work surfaces to prepare, cook and serve your products.
Shutter-mounted extractor fan
Also known as a cooker hood, an extractor fan sits above a cooker and removes airborne grease, smoke and fumes. This is needed especially when you cook greasy foods like burgers and hotdogs.
Very useful for cooking a wide range of food products such as stews, curries and soups.
Under counter or tabletop fridge
Like any commercial kitchen, food will need to be kept chilled. However, space is at a premium in a food truck which means you may want to consider an under-counter or tabletop fridge.
Under counter freezer
You will also need to keep foodstuffs frozen to extend the shelf life, which means again considering a space-saving freezer that fits under the counter.
Needed to power all of your equipment when there isn’t a fixed power source on site. It’s a good idea to go for a silent/quiet generator that is over 4kva to keep up with the power demands of your truck.
A space attached to each side of your food truck that helps you showcase your tasty cuisine to the public. Kerbside menu boards are also useful for driving footfall towards your truck from a distance.
Serving food that is safe to consume is important for both your consumers and your business reputation. So thermometers will be needed to check the temperature of your food.
Chopping boards (different colours)
Different coloured chopping boards are needed for food preparation and separating out different types of food products such as fruit/veg and uncooked fish and red meats.
Knives & utensils
Again needed for food preparation and serving.
Fire safety system
Cooking with gas can be hazardous which means you will need (by law) a fire safety system in place. This can include things like an extinguisher/fire blanket/Automatic fire suppression system. However, check your local state authority to check the exact requirements.
A food truck needs 4 sinks in total. A three-compartment sink for washing, rinsing and sanitizing food and equipment and a separate sink for handwashing.
Fresh & wastewater tanks
You will need fresh and wastewater containers for clean water and to capture the wastewater after cleaning.
You also need a submersible pump connected to the freshwater tanks to create pressure and pump the water up to the sinks.
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Needed to supply hot/warm running water to your food truck for hand washing and cleaning equipment.
Payment system (cash & card)
You will need a way to take payment for your products. A combination of a cash register to take cash and a mobile payment system is recommended to give your customers the option of both.
Gas bottles (propane)
If you use a lot of gas-powered equipment such as cooker ranges, griddles and fryers then you will need gas propane bottles (also known as LPG) to power them.
A place to keep stock and other miscellaneous items.
Additional commercial storage and kitchen space
This can be an afterthought when deciding what a food truck needs because it’s not something that is separate from a food truck. However, you may find you need additional preparation and storage space away from your food truck to keep up with demand.
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Food truck equipment list (specialized)
Food truck operators tend to create niche food and drink concepts which means they use specialized food truck equipment to produce their products.
Espresso machines – Commonly used in coffee trucks to make espressos, lattes and cappuccinos
Juicers and blenders – Commonly used in mobile juice trucks to makes juices and smoothies
Rice cooker – For making large quantities of rice for curries etc
Sandwich press – Commonly used for grilled cheese sandwich trucks
Microwave – For general use to reheat food products
Bain Marie – For keeping cooked food warm
Food warmer – To keep cooked food warm and at a safe temperature
Griddle – for cooking things like bacon, sausages, pancakes, home fries, french toast, and eggs
Soup urn – For keeping warm soups, broths and stews
Hot water urn – For teas and coffee
Charbroiler – Used to chargrill, char-broiler or broiler foods such as ribs and steaks
Deep fryer – Used to cook a range of foods that include chips, chicken wings, fish and cheese sticks
Skillett & frying pans
Food truck supplies
Aside from food truck catering equipment, you will also need to consider food truck supplies such as disposable packaging to serve your products and cleaning equipment to maintain hygiene standards.
#Tip – Go for biodegradable or compostable disposable packaging
Disposable food packaging (takeaway & onsite eating)
Paper napkins & dispenser
Condiment bottles (sauces)
Bins (food waste, recycling, general)
Sanitizing products (hands, surfaces & floors)
Sponges and cloths
Mop & bucket
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Do you have to use commercial equipment in a food truck?
Because you are potentially cooking for hundreds of people at a time you will therefore need commercial catering equipment that is hard-wearing and up to the task.
Commercial equipment is more expensive than cooking equipment for home use, but it should come with longer commercial warranties.
How does a food truck get water?
Food trucks generally get their water supply from a 30-35 gallon clean water container, which is connected to a subversive water pump, which pumps the water through a boiler system to produce hot and cold running water. A food truck also needs a 50-55 gallon wastewater container to collect dirty water.