A Typical Day in the Life of a Food Truck Owner

Running a food truck is no stroll in the park. In fact, operating a food truck can involve downright dirty, draining, and difficult work. When your employees drop the ball, it’s up to you to pick it up. When a tire goes flat, often you’ll be the one who has to repair it.

You’ll work the most (and longest) hours. You’ll work every job in the business, from line cook to mechanic to accountant. To create a successful food truck business, you’ll need to develop a culture of hard work, with you being the one setting the example for your staff.

Sure, it can be a 9-to-5 job, but not in the way you may expect. Take a look into a day in the life of a food truck owner. (Keep in mind that your schedule will look different if you opt for a different service time, such as breakfast or lunch.)

9 a.m. to noon

The alarm goes off, and you crawl out of bed; it’s 9 a.m. From the time you wake up until approximately two hours later, you’re busy going over your calendar of events and planning for your day. With 30 minutes to go before meeting with your team members, it’s time to get ready and drive to your meet-up location, the commercial kitchen.

Noon to 12:30 p.m.

You meet with your team to discuss your notes, daily specials, and suggestions from lessons learned the previous day. Your team shares with you what they’ve heard overnight from local news and from customers and competitors. Sharing this information keeps everyone in the loop, part of the team, and, in most cases, in high spirits.

12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

During this time, the team goes to the market and bakery or to inventory the food shipments that have been delivered. After getting the food needed for the truck, everyone heads to the commercial kitchen to chop fruits and vegetables, blend the sauces, and grill the meat (if you serve it).

Those team members not involved in the food prep will organize the truck to ready it for the work night, fire up their Twitter and Facebook accounts to notify followers of the truck’s location(s), and conduct another round of correspondence and phone calls.

5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Time to head to your “office”; you now take the truck from the commercial kitchen’s lot to your first stop.

6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

It’s time! It’s time to open the doors, practice your trade, and make your mark on your community. When you reach your destination and a line of people are already at the curb, the sight is both invigorating and terrifying.

It’s invigorating because you already have loyal followers who have found your location and are waiting to be served a meal from your heart. It’s terrifying because you need to park and start cooking quickly so you aren’t keeping your customers waiting too long.

You’ll have little to no awareness of what’s going on outside the truck during this period. Your eyes will shift from the growing queue of ticket orders to the fryers to the main cooking surface while you’re preparing the orders as they come in.

Now is when you must enjoy your job; now is the point where you’ll know whether you’ve made the proper choice in opening a food truck. If you’re distracted or dislike your environment, you may want to start planning how to sell your investment and head to another career.

2:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The night’s service is over, and you’ve made your way back to the commercial kitchen. You clean out the truck and wash it down so it’s ready for the next shift. You break down and marinate the meat and, in some cases, even order the bread for tomorrow’s pick-up or delivery.

You store the food and lock up the truck. It’s finally time to head home.

On the trip home, you reflect back on the day and are very thankful that the oil in the fryer didn’t explode or that you were able to start the truck without any issues, and finally, you see it — home sweet home. After a final round of reading e-mails and listening to phone messages, you go to bed. Your 9-to-5 workday is over, only to start again tomorrow.

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