If you are a foodie, you can’t deny the bliss of street food with the food truck business in India. Do you know street foods have become an integral part of our culture? Now, people including tourists not only visit our country for UNESCO World Heritage sites, but also to explore the street foods!
Over time, regular street food stalls have transformed into fancier Food Trucks commonly called “Meals on Wheels.” They’re gaining popularity in many Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad, making a unique mark in the ever-changing eateries scene.
Now, if you’re excited about the idea of having your own food truck, then, you’ve come to the right place. In this write-up, we’ll go through eight crucial things to know about the food truck business in India.
So, let’s jump right in without any delay!
(A) What is a food truck business?
A food truck business involves operating a mobile kitchen housed in a vehicle. Unlike traditional stationary restaurants, a food truck travels to various locations, catering to a diverse clientele. This model offers flexibility in choosing strategic locations, such as busy streets, markets, or events.
The business typically focuses on a specific and often unique menu, ranging from gourmet dishes to specialized street food. Entrepreneurs in the food truck industry need to adhere to licensing requirements, establish efficient operational processes, and identify high-traffic areas to maximize customer reach.
We will discuss the whole concept in detail in the upcoming sections. In essence, a food truck business combines culinary expertise with mobility, providing a dynamic and potentially lucrative venture within the food service industry.
(B) Is the food truck business profitable in India?
The food truck business is profitable in India if you set it up smartly. Really? Yes, running a food truck in India can make good money. Recent info suggests that if you organize your work smartly to cut costs and join big events actively, you can boost your profits. To make your food truck profitable, you need to put in some money upfront and make sure your food is top-notch.
Do you know what the best part of the food truck business in India is? Compared to regular restaurants, starting a food truck in India costs less initially. You just need to get a truck and cooking gear. With people wanting more convenient and diverse food, plus being careful with spending, you can make decent money in the Indian food truck scene.
It’s tricky to give an exact number for how much you could earn without knowing details like where you’ll be, who you’re targeting, your menu, and pricing. But here’s the deal- the food truck business in India is growing fast.
According to Research and Markets, it’s expected to grow about 11% from 2021 to 2026. So, with the right plan and checking out the market, having a food truck in India could totally bring in some good profits.
(C) Do you need to pay rent for the plot or land for the food truck business in India?
Well, the answer is a bit complex. In many cases, you need to pay rent for the plot or land for a food truck business in India. If you are well aware of the Indian street market, then you must be well aware of this fact- “extortion of money by the police.”
In India, there have been reports of police officers engaging in bribery and extorting money from street vendors. This includes vendors selling street food and operating food trucks too! This practice allows vendors to continue their operations without facing legal consequences.
It seems that some vendors opt to pay bribes to the police to avoid punitive action and maintain their businesses. Such incidents have been reported in different cities, including Mumbai and other urban areas.
However, it’s important to note that not all vendors engage in illegal activities or pay bribes, and there are also efforts to address this issue and improve the situation for street vendors.
(D) Crucial Things to Know about Food Truck Business in India
Starting a food truck business in India requires careful planning and consideration. Here are 8 crucial things, you must know before launching a food truck in India-
|Research & Planning
|Thorough industry research and a detailed business plan.
|Licenses & Permits
|Obtain required licenses: FSSAI, Fire Department NOC, Municipal Permission, Vehicle License.
|Menu & Cuisine
|Create an appealing menu considering local trends and preferences.
|Vehicle & Equipment
|Choose a suitable, high-quality food truck. Acquire kitchen equipment with an estimated investment of INR 2 lakhs
|Identify strategic locations, and confirm parking permissions from municipal authorities.
|Set prices wisely, evaluate profitability and invest in a reliable POS system.
|Marketing & Branding
|Establish a strong brand, and implement a marketing strategy using social media and collaborations.
|Food Safety & Hygiene
|Adhere to strict standards, ensuring proper food handling practices
|Recognize financial investment, plan meticulously for success in the food truck industry.
Now, let’s dive into the details of – How to start a food truck business in India?
(D.1) Research & Planning
This is the most fundamental fact that you must know while planning a food truck business in India. Conduct thorough research on the food truck industry in India, including the following-
- Market Demand
- Target Audience
- Popular Locations
Develop a solid business plan that outlines your concept, menu, pricing, and marketing strategies.
(D.2) Licenses and Permits
Obtain the necessary licenses and permits to operate a food truck in India. This includes a food safety license, local municipality permits, and other specific permits required by your city or state. Here are some key permits you must obtain before launching your food truck-
- FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India): To operate a food business, FSSAI registration is required if your business is categorized as a petty food business. If your gross revenue exceeds INR 12 lakhs, you’ll need an FSSAI license.
- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Fire Department: Due to the use of gas appliances, obtaining a NOC from the Chief Fire Officer of the state where you plan to operate is mandatory for food trucks.
- Permission Letter from Municipal Authority: Before launching your food truck, securing a written approval stamped by local municipal bodies is necessary.
- Vehicle License: Since a food truck operates from a commercial vehicle, you must obtain a vehicle license from the Regional Transport Office (RTO).
(D.3) Menu & Cuisine
Identify a unique and appealing menu that caters to the tastes of your target customers. Consider local cuisine, food trends, and dietary preferences when designing your menu.
For guidance, you can look into the table given in the next section where we will be describing the popular cuisines offered by famous food trucks.
(D.4) Vehicle & Equipment
Select a suitable food truck or vehicle that aligns with your business needs, ensuring it comes equipped with proper food storage, cooking facilities, and essential utilities such as water and electricity.
The condition of your vehicle is crucial since your business’s success relies heavily on it. Investing in a high-quality truck is advisable, as it demands less maintenance and repair, resulting in increased operational uptime.
Choosing the right food truck may seem challenging due to the variety available, but thorough market research can simplify the decision-making process. While considering a used truck is an option, if financially viable, it’s preferable to invest in a new one, with a minimum cost of around INR 4 lakhs.
In addition to the vehicle, you’ll need to acquire essential kitchen equipment like a gas stove, cooking vessels, utensils, cutlery, etc. Consider providing chairs and tables for customers who prefer seating. The collective investment in equipment is estimated to be around INR 2 lakhs.
(D.5) Location Selection
Identify strategic locations with substantial foot traffic, catering to a target audience that complements your menu and concept. Explore areas near office complexes, colleges, markets, and popular tourist spots for optimal visibility.
While a food truck offers mobility, it’s essential to recognize that selecting a location is not a free-for-all. Prior to parking, you must consult municipal authorities to confirm if parking is permitted.
Additionally, ensure there is ample space for setup, excellent visibility, and minimal competition. Even for a food truck, success hinges significantly on the chosen location.
(D.6) Earning Potential: Point of Sales System, Pricing, and Profitability
Set the prices for your food items by factoring in elements like ingredient costs, preparation time, and market competition. Evaluate your overall profitability by accounting for expenses such as ingredients, staff wages, fuel, and maintenance.
Consider investing in a reliable Point of Sale (POS) system for efficient billing, inventory management, and customer data tracking. The upfront investment in a quality POS system pays off through reduced inventory loss and the ability to tailor menus to customer preferences, ensuring a smooth and profitable operation of your food truck business.
Food trucks are renowned for delivering a strong return on investment. On average, a food truck can generate earnings in the range of INR 7,000-10,000 per day, totaling around INR 2-3 lakhs per month. Engaging in events and college fests can significantly boost daily earnings, potentially reaching INR 35,000-40,000.
(D.7) Marketing and Branding
This is one of the most important aspects of the food truck business in India. Establish a robust brand identity and formulate a marketing strategy to draw in customers. Leverage social media channels, local promotional efforts, and collaborations with nearby businesses to amplify awareness about your food truck.
While word-of-mouth referrals are beneficial, accelerating business expansion necessitates the creation of a professional website, collaboration with delivery chains, and the introduction of exclusive promotions.
Explore advertising opportunities on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and ensure your business is listed on Google for increased visibility and reach.
(D.8) Food Safety and Hygiene
Adhere to strict food safety and hygiene standards to maintain the trust and satisfaction of your customers. Implement proper food handling practices, regular cleanliness routines, and quality control measures.
While setting up a food truck business in India, you must be well aware of the challenges. Some of the significant ones are-
- Regulatory Complexities: Navigating through intricate and often inconsistent regulations at municipal and state levels can be a daunting task. Acquiring and renewing licenses, including FSSAI and local permits, poses bureaucratic hurdles.
- Location Struggles: Securing prime locations with high footfall is competitive and constrained by municipal regulations. Strict parking restrictions and the need for prior approvals make choosing strategic spots challenging.
- Operational Expenses: Fluctuating fuel prices add unpredictability to operational costs. Balancing quality with affordable pricing becomes intricate amid rising ingredient costs.
- Seasonal Influences: Inconsistent footfall during different seasons impacts daily earnings. Weather conditions also play a role in shaping outdoor dining preferences.
- Marketing & Visibility Challenges: Establishing a strong brand presence is crucial in a competitive landscape. Limited marketing budgets pose hurdles in reaching a broader audience.
- Infrastructure Maintenance: Ensuring the reliability of the food truck’s mechanical components while managing associated maintenance costs is a continuous challenge.
- Staffing Complexities: Recruiting and retaining skilled staff for efficient food preparation can be challenging. Managing a mobile workforce and ensuring consistent service quality add to the complexities.
- Customer Education: Creating awareness about the concept of food trucks and building customer trust is an ongoing effort. Educating customers about unique offerings and food quality is vital.
- Health & Hygiene Compliance: Adhering to stringent food safety and hygiene standards is paramount. Implementing consistent cleanliness practices, especially in a confined space, is crucial.
- Economic Sensitivity: The business is sensitive to economic downturns, impacting consumer spending on non-essential items. External economic factors also influence ingredient prices and overall business costs.
Remember, starting a food truck business in India requires significant financial investment and dedicated effort. However, with careful planning and attention to these crucial aspects, you can set yourself up for success in the booming food truck industry.
(E) Popular Food Trucks in India
The following table describes some of the famous food trucks in India. (Note: The data has been taken from the famous food blog.) Go through the table and try the savory of the food truck dishes-
|Food Truck’s Name
|The Lalit Food Truck Company
|Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place, New Delhi
|Taste of the States
|Tortilla wraps, Sugary Churros, Tacos
|9 am to 8 pm
|The Cheese Truck
|Viman Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra
|For Cheesy Delights
|Mac and Cheese, Stoners Chicken, Stoners Stuffed Nutella
|2 pm to 12 am
|Bombay Food Truck
|ONE BKC, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E) Mumbai
|Everything at One Place
|Pav Bhaji Roll and Fries
|11:30 am to 7:30 pm
|SuperSucker Food Truck
|Sarita Vihar, DLF Place Saket, Delhi
|Snacking Made More Fun
|Paneer Kathi Roll, Soya Momos, Hazelnut Cold Coffee
|9 am to 10:30 pm
|EON Free Zone, Kharadi, Pune, Maharashtra
|Best of Burgers
|Manchurian Burger, Chicken Steak Burger,
|11 am to 11 pm
|Delhi Food Truck Co.
|Leisure Valley Gate Number II Parking, Sector 29, Gurugram, Haryana 122009
|Enjoy the Savory Dishes of North
|Dahi ke Sholey, Naanza
|7 pm to 12 am
|Girme Heights, G-1102, Salunke Vihar Road, Kedari Nagar, Wanowrie, Pune, Maharashtra
|All things Sweet
|Peanut Butter Waffle, Oreo Cream Waffle
|hop no L7 LIC colony sector XI, 10th Main Rd, Jeevan Bima Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560075
|Taste the Twist
|Deep Fried Oreos, Joe Burgers
|12 pm to 3 am
|2/8, 4/9, 6/10, Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai
|Best of Tibetian Cuisine
|Schezwan Fried Rice, Noodles, Momos
|4:30 pm to 11 pm
|Parking area, near The Lalit Hotel, IT Park Rd, Chandigarh-160101
|A Blend of West and East
|Maggie, Frankie, Dosas
|4 pm to 12 am (Tuesday- Closed)
|Parathawalas and Grills
|Ramagundham Locality, Hyderabad
|For the Taste of North
|Sandwiches, Mughlai Rolls, Parathas
|Mon & Tue: 5 pm to 11:30 pmWed to Sat: 6 pm to 12 amSunday: Closed
This table will give you a brief idea about the popularity of various types of street food in different regions.
Note: Do you know that the food offered in food trucks is similar to that of Quick Service Restaurants? We have already explained the top 10 Quick Service Restaurants in India. Visit the article for detailed information.
(F) Final Thoughts on the Food Truck Business in India
In wrapping up, starting your own food truck business in India holds immense promise. From thorough research and acquiring licenses to shaping a tempting menu and picking strategic spots, each step shapes your success.
The potential for substantial daily earnings, especially during events, along with the significance of effective marketing and hygiene practices, underscores the thriving nature of the food truck industry.
While challenges exist, your careful planning and dedication can lead to a truly rewarding journey. In the diverse culinary landscape of India, envision your food truck not just satisfying taste buds but also carving out a path for a flourishing entrepreneurial adventure!