thinking about starting a little business -- getting a lunch truck to drive around (or park during lunch) office parks and sell sandwiches. Anyone has any experience with something like that, any advice?
Recently there was a stink in a nearby town when a woman showed up with a hotdog cart and parked it in legal spaces on the busy main street and paid the parking meters of course. All the restaurants got peeved and cited an ordinance about parking consecutively or vending from a space. At an y rate, be sure you check all regulations before you invest. You might be able to find a rig cheaper, especially if you have some know-how in repair/refurbish. Might be cheaper to rent the kitchen of a dinner-only place, fix the food there and then deliver it.
To get free, confidential business advice and a review of your plan, as well as general small business guidance, go to SCORE.org for e-mail counseling or to find a local SCORE chapter near you. Run by experienced business volunteers.
Shrek is right that the start up can be expensive and you can't do it without proper licensing. Food must be prepared in a health dept. approved kitchen - if you so much as own a cat you will have a hard time being approved. Permits are required for you park in most urban areas and the fees can be high. You also need to check into insurance. I helped run a food cart for awhile in NYC which is one of the most regulated places for such things, so it may be easier other places. Check with your local small business office - they should be able to give you the most solid advice.
instead of a "roach coach"... why not a lunch basket, you could still bring sandwiches, muffins, fruit, etc and sell it.
I know one woman who went from business to business selling breakfast tacos... 2 flour tortillas, with either eggs and potatoes, or egg and sausage in them... 2 for a dollar... she did a lot of repeat business
Here your required to have 'commasary association' so that there is a place to clean your equipment, park it legally at night, have cold storage for your food products, ect, not an easy business to operate.
A parallel idea I had some time back is to supply small local mom and pop stores with product that you get from large wholesalers. The wholesalers do not want the small places business because of the slim profit margin because of exspences, there is not enought volume to be profitable. But a sub wholesaler could possiabibly profit adequate from this arraingment. This is going to require muchhomework to see if it would fly. Keep in mind that you would need secure storage to buy enought to get big volume discounts. There would be a lot less licences and permit requirements if you only handled sealed product. You would need a closed vehicle that would carry a couple of tons at a time. Then establish a day route to out lying businesses. This would also require the type of personnality for such venture.
A friend and I were just discussing the hotdog vendor in front of Home Depot. He had a cart with dogs, brats, sausages, chips and drinks. They are the best hotdogs - but what really sold them was the man's personality. He always has a cheerful comment or a funny joke. Actually, he's more a commedian that sells hotdogs.
Anyway, my friend says this guy made lots of money and then franchised. Now he's off traveling.
I'm not saying it's a good idea for you or not, but this guy sure made it work.
When Jon was first starting out in the catering business, there was a big office building being constructed right behind where the shop was located.It was late fall and winter was coming on and they had the idea that soup might sell really well to these construction workers. So they made a big kettle of soup from leftovers and took it over to the job site and talked to the head foreman. They handed out that first kettle of soup for free but offered to provide a pot each day at so much a pot to the company or so much a bowl to each worker. Foreman bought it by the pot and wrote it off as a perk to the workmen on his expense sheet. He looked like a caring boss for about 50 bucks a day, the workers loved the hot soup and Jon made enough on the deal to make it worth his while. The soup was different each day and often made with leftovers from other jobs. Aint nothing cheaper than soup. And you could prolly get away doing it without running up against the health department long as no one got sick. Get a couple of sweet old ladies to deliver the soup and a free bowl to the cop on the beat and who will talk.
Pretty sure the "Lunch trucks" are buying their sandwhichs and sweetrolls, etc.
prepackaged. Check any vending machine that sells packaged foods for a name. Suppliers should be on food label. That way your off the hook with kitchen passing health dept regulations, because your only distributing them, not making them. Cold storage on the other hand could be a problem.
We use to have one vendor who came around every friday to sell pizza by the slice. Made a killing and sold out all the time. I'm sure they hit other office complexes or industrial parks everyday and sold out. Might think about that, less to worry about storing food, etc. Check local pizza joints to see if you can buy wholesale, have them slice it big and turn around and sell it for $2.50 - $3.00 a slice. You only need 2 choices, plain cheese for the non meat eaters and cheese and sausage for the rest. Maybe even throw in a special in the mix, all the fixings.
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