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Challenges in Starting a Food Truck Business in India

The food truck concept is still in its early stages in most Indian cities. While offering the luxury of changing locations, food trucks also boast lower operational expenses compared to traditional restaurants.

If you’re passionate about the food industry and want to start a small-scale business, a food truck might be the perfect fit. However, like any other venture, it comes with its own set of challenges.

Being aware of these challenges beforehand can significantly increase your chances of success.

Here are some of the major challenges faced by food truck businesses in India:

Food truck business

1. Getting Permits and Licenses

Regulations for permits and licenses for operating a food truck business in India are not well-defined.

Each municipality or panchayat may have different requirements, so before you invest in a vehicle and equipment, make sure that it is possible to get all the necessary documents in your town.

If you have good contacts in your area or connections with the municipalities, then getting these permits may be easy for you, otherwise, it can be a time-consuming process.

It can take several weeks or even months to get all the necessary documents. Usually, the following documents are required to start a food truck business:

  • NOC from Municipal Corporation
  • NOC from Traffic Police
  • FSSAI Mobile Vendor’s License
  • Fire Safety Certificate
  • Commercial Vehicle License from RTO
  • Insurance for your food truck business (if required)

It can cost you anywhere between 50,000 to 60,000 rupees to obtain these permits or licenses. There are a lot of consultancies which can help you to get these documents.

2. Purchasing a Food Truck

While starting a food truck business may seem like a low-investment venture, it’s important to remember that there are still significant initial costs involved.

Although the operating costs of a food truck can be relatively low, a substantial upfront investment is required to get started.

If you’re new to the business, it’s a good idea to start with a used vehicle instead of a new one. You can always upgrade later once your business is established.

Attractive Design:

In today’s competitive food truck market, having an attractive and eye-catching truck is essential. Since your target customers are likely to be young people, the overall design of your truck becomes even more important.

It’s advisable to get your truck customized by a specialist in food truck modification rather than a local workshop.

There are many such workshops available, and you can find contact details for those in your region through the IndiaMART website.

Planning Before Purchase:

Before purchasing and customizing your vehicle, it’s crucial to finalize your food truck menu and decide on the equipment you’ll need. Since space is limited in a food truck, making changes after the initial modification is difficult and can make your truck look messy.

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3. Limited Space can be an Issue:

While the ability to move to different places is an advantage in the food truck business, there is also the challenge of limited space. This can make it difficult to offer a wide variety of dishes.

One way to overcome this challenge is to focus on a specific theme or niche for your menu. You can then offer different varieties of dishes within that theme each day, and update your social media accounts with the daily specials.

It can also be difficult to offer dishes with complex preparation processes or that require large equipment. If a dish has a complex preparation procedure, you can prepare it at home and then bring it to your food truck to store and sell.

4. Finding a good location for your Food Truck Business

Finding a suitable location is the biggest challenge in the Food truck business. Parking availability in prime locations in your city can be limited, and even if it is available, there may be a lot of competition for it. That’s why it’s important to do your research thoroughly.

Before you finalize any parking location, check with local authorities to make sure you can get a permit. Once you have confirmed that you can get a permit, you can then move on to the next step.

You don’t necessarily have to be successful in your business in the first location you start in. So, look for one or two other locations as a backup.

5. Dust and Weather Challenges

If your food truck is located near a busy road, dust control can be a major issue. Therefore, it is important to consider this factor when choosing your location.

You may also face dust problems during road repair work and building construction.

Along with the dust problem, weather is also a big challenge. South and East India have an extended rainy season, while the North has a chilly winter season.

It is difficult to operate a food truck in such weather conditions, and people are also not willing to stand on the roadside. Even if you do operate a food truck, you may have to operate with reduced business hours

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