How to Assemble Your Food Truck's Supply List - dummies

How to Assemble Your Food Truck’s Supply List

By Richard Myrick

Just as you’d set up a grocery list for your personal use at home, generating a supply list for your food truck should be based on the needs of your menu. Look at your menu and put together a comprehensive list of all the ingredients you need to prepare these items for your customers.

Follow these guidelines for setting up your own list:

  • Add all the ingredients necessary to make your menu items, and be as specific as you can. If you need shredded Cheddar Jack cheese for your tacos, for example, be sure to specify that rather than listing just “cheese.”

  • Group all like items into categories. Most of the suppliers you deal with group their products with common classifications, like baked goods, dairy products, and meat/poultry. Following this tip makes it easier to purchase like items from the same suppliers, which helps you save money on your food purchases.

  • You may not be able to complete the list yourself before you find suppliers, but your list needs to be as complete as you can make it (item name, category, and projected weekly volume — in other words, how much of a given item you expect to use in a week) before you can begin the process of finding suppliers.

    When you start speaking with suppliers, they’ll help you determine what type of unit sizes you can get for each specific item (such as cases, tubs of particular weights, and the like).

  • When you’re drawing up your supply list, consider all the factors involved in preparing your menu items. You may choose not to spend a lot of time prepping all the food on your menu. If so, you may be willing to spend some extra money purchasing pre-made items, such as sauce bases, pre-cut meats, or prepackaged baked goods.

    If your concept requires that your food be “from scratch,” then by all means, include all the items you need to create it.

The following table is one example of how to organize supplies (this list is partial).

A Partial Sample List of Supplies
Item Category Projected Weekly Volume
Bread, French roll, 1.5 oz. Baked goods 360
Bread, sticks, 2 oz. Baked goods 750
Bread, 3-ft. loaf, Italian Baked goods 100
Pizza dough balls, 20 oz. Baked goods 240
Butter, unsweetened, 1 lb. Dairy 3
Butter, whipped, 5-lb. tub Dairy 3
Cheese, Cheddar Jack, shredded Dairy 6
Cheese, mozzarella, fresh Dairy 5
Cheese, Parmesan, shredded Dairy 6
Cheese, provolone, longhorn Dairy 6

You can get a quick estimate for your projected weekly volume of each of these items by breaking down each menu item into ingredients and amounts needed for each serving. Multiply these totals with your projected weekly sales count for each menu item to get your projected weekly volume.