Food Truck Startup Costs: What You Need to Know

In the last half-decade, the food trailer sector has experienced substantial growth, standing out as one of the most successful niches within the broader food service industry. This impressive growth primarily stems from a shift in consumer tastes, with an increasing demand for high-quality street food that is more affordable compared to traditional dine-in restaurants. In the United States, the food trailer industry boasts a revenue of approximately $2.2 billion. Looking forward, the sector is projected to enjoy a steady increase, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 1.6% up to 2028.

Given the steadily increasing popularity of food trailers among consumers, they have become the popular choice for entrepreneurs starting a new catering business. Food trailers not only allow emerging culinary entrepreneurs to open a restaurant with less investment and risk than traditional restaurants, but also give them more flexibility to serve at different locations.

Curious about how much it costs to start a food trailer business? You’re in the right place.

Initial Purchase or Lease of the Food Trailer

The heart of your business, the trailer itself, represents your biggest initial expense. Prices vary significantly based on whether you buy a new food trailer, make use of a used food trailer, or lease your food truck.

  • Buying a New Food Trailer

On average, you can expect to spend around 80,000 EUR for a new food trailer. However, at Futuristo, you can get an 8.5-meter long custom-made trailer in which up to 8-10 cooks can work, for only half of that cost. If you want to start small, Futuristo Mini can be an excellent choice for only 26,900 EUR. Check the trailer models on our website for more information and let Futuristo become your trusted food trailer provider. What is not to love about premium, custom made European brand?

  • Buying a Second-Hand Food Trailer

The cost of second-hand food trucks might range from 10,000 EUR for basic sandwich and coffee setups to around 40,000 EUR for an equipped vintage VW camper in EU. While opting for a more affordable used vehicle might seem cost-effective initially, the risk of it breaking down shortly thereafter could leave you in a difficult situation. It’s crucial to investigate the reliability and longevity of the models you’re considering.

Another thing to consider when buying used is inability to custom fit the vehicle to meet your exact business needs.

  • Renting a Food Trailer

Another option is renting the trailer. The cost of renting a food truck depends on the length of the lease, but if it’s longer than, say, six months or more, it should be around 1,000 to 3,000 EUR per month.

Before deciding between buying a food trailer or renting a food trailer, consider long-term objectives of your street food business. For a catering venture that isn’t just a short-term project, owning your food trailer might be more beneficial, as it is more cost-effective in the long run.

Registration and Regulatory Compliance

  • Restaurant and Catering Business Formation and Registration

Managing food trailer is a foodservice business, so it has to comply with certain business requirements. First, you have to register your business. The associated costs depend on the type of business you choose and where you are located. In Europe, expect to pay anywhere from 0 to 2,000 EUR for the various filing costs.

  • Street Food Serving Licences and permits

Managing a food trailer involves obtaining various licenses and permits, much like traditional restaurants, catering and other businesses.

To ensure compliance and avoid potential fines or penalties, it’s essential to consult with your local authoritative bodies, as the Food Truck rules and associated costs vary significantly depending on the location.

Required permits in EU may include a liquor and food service license, parking permit, and seller’s permit. If you play music to your customers, you may also have to deal with music rights.