Many of us have fond memories of hearing the sound of the ice cream truck rolling through our neighbourhood when we were kids, and the excitement that followed. There was nothing quite like a sweet ice cream cone to cool you off on a hot summer day.
As adults, that excitement has perhaps worn off a bit- until now. For residents of San Antonio, Texas, the ice cream truck of your childhood has been replaced by an upgraded, adult version. Say hello to the margarita truck.
The Margarita Truck
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the restaurant industry hard, and chef Johnny Hernandez’s restaurant La Gloria was amongst the thousands of foodservice establishments across the country that were forced to close its doors.
As reopening plans began to roll out at the end of May in San Antonio, Texas, Hernandez came up with a creative way that he could still serve his restaurant’s loyal customers without them having to leave the safety of their own homes.
The restaurant’s first margarita truck hit the streets on May 28th and has been bringing taco kits, chips and salsa, Mexican street corn, and of course, their famous margaritas, right to the doorsteps of San Antonio residents ever since.
“Today, safety is top of mind for everyone, and many of our customers are simply not ready to dine out,” Hernandez said. “However, we know that doesn’t mean they don’t crave one of our famous margaritas.” 
Originally, the truck only operated within a three-mile radius of Crockett Park downtown, a neighborhood of San Antonio. Since its inception, however, the restaurant has added a second truck and now services Leon Valley, Alamo Heights, and other neighborhoods as well .
How Much For a Margarita?
To get one of La Gloria’s famous margaritas, you must first place an order online. A single 16-ounce drink will start at ten dollars, or you can get a margarita kit that serves six and starts at 38 dollars.
Flavours include prickly pear, blue, mango, and their signature house margarita, but alcohol can only be delivered if at least one food item is also ordered.
The truck operates Monday to Wednesday from three in the afternoon to eight in the evening, Thursday to Saturday from noon until eight, and Sunday from noon until six .
If you live in the San Antonio area and would like the margarita truck to pay a visit to your house, check out their website to find out when they’re going to be in your neighbourhood and to place your order.
How to Start Your Own Food Truck Business
A food truck business can be a great way to make a living, especially during these pandemic times. A successful food truck can bring in 500 thousand dollars per year, wth start-up costs starting at just 40 thousand dollars .
To start a successful food truck business you need four things: a competitive and appealing concept that makes you stand out, a good business and financial plan, an effective marketing strategy to build your customer base, and of course a fully-equipped food truck.
Here are eight steps to starting your own food truck business, according to fitsmallbusiness.com:
Step One: Market Research
The difference between success and failure in the food truck business (or any business, for that matter) often comes down to planning. When you start your business, you want to make sure that you are supplying a demand, or filling a hole in the market.
This includes deciding where you’re going to park your truck so that customers know where to find you. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the local laws, since each municipality will have rules governing where you can and cannot park your truck.
The next step is knowing your competition. Find out what else is out there, and try to do something different. Having a good idea is fantastic, but not if someone is already doing it in your area. Take some time to visit other food trucks to get a feel for what’s popular and to know what the most profitable times are, too, since time of day will affect what type of cuisine you offer.
Step 2: Get a Name and an Idea
Once you’ve done the research, you can decide what type of cuisine you’re going to offer. This should take into consideration what’s popular in your area, but should also be something that you’re passionate about or interested in.
Your name, then, should reflect the type of food you’re offering and the vibe you want to give out. Try to make it unique, descriptive, and relatively easy to pronounce, since many food trucks rely heavily on word-of-mouth to gain customers.
Along with the name, of course, goes your logo. This should be reflective of the name and the concept that you chose, and be exciting and noticeable enough to stand out amongst other food trucks.
Step 3: Create a Business Plan
You need a good business plan to know how long it will take before your food truck turns a profit. This plan should include:
Business description: including the food truck industry in you area, future possibilities, the concept, the theme, and other markets that could impact your business.
Market analysis: identify market trends in the food truck industry in your area, your target market, and your competitors.
Organization and management: How do you plan to run your business? This includes operating procedures, staffing, etc.
Product line: this includes your menu, ingredients, procedures, costs, and selling prices.
Marketing plan: How do you plan to get the word out there? Consider influencer marketing and social media marketing in this plan.
Funding: how much funding do you need to start your business? Where is that money going to come from?
Financial projections: you should break down your projected expenses, profits, and losses for at least your first three to five years.
Step 4: Get Your Licence and Registration
There are several permits that you need in order to operate a food truck, that could range from 100 to 500 dollars in price depending on where you live. At the very least, you will need a business licence and a food service permit, however you may also require one or more of the following:
- Mobile Food Facility Permit
- Health Permit
- Food Safety Certification
- Food Handler Permit for employees
- Workers’ Compensation
- Business Insurance
You may also need a parking permit and registration, and depending on your area, you may be required to have a commercial kitchen that you use to prepare your food. Make sure you do your research ahead of time and factor these costs into your plan.
Step 5: Finance your Business
Starting a food truck business can cost anywhere from 40 thousand to 200 thousand dollars. Mobile-cuisine.com offers an excellent breakdown of potential costs for you to get a rough estimate of what it will take to start your own food truck business.
There are several financing options available to small business owners, including equipment financing programs, small loans, investors, and crowdfunding, to name a few. Do some research to find out what’s available in your area and to determine your best option.
Step 6: Design Your Menu Board
The menu attached to the side of your truck is the best way to show customers what kind of food you’re offering. It should reflect your theme, but also be easy to read. Try to keep food descriptions as concise as possible, and highlight your best-sellers.
Step 7: Get the Truck
Purchasing a food truck can cost anywhere from 3250 dollars to 200 thousand dollars, depending on whether you get new or used, and how much work needs to be done. This cost amount includes the cost of retrofitting the truck with the necessary equipment and wrapping it with your design.
It is very important that you don’t cut corners when you buy a truck, because this could potentially save you thousands of dollars down the road. You also need to make sure that the truck is properly insured, should anything happen to it.
Step 8: Market your Truck
The final step to getting your food truck business going is, of course, marketing it! You will want to use a combination of online and traditional marketing strategies, including social media marketing, taking your truck to local events, mailing flyers, and building a good website .
A Lot of Work, a Lot of Reward
There is quite a lot of leg work involved in starting up a food truck business, but if you do it right you can be extremely successful. Many people across the country have quit their nine to five office jobs in favor of the road, and have never looked back.
Operating a food truck is hard work, but it can be fun and rewarding, and allow you more freedom with your life than you ever thought possible.
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