Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the important parts of your plan.
Your Executive Summary should quickly grab the attention of the reader. Tell them what kind of food truck business you run and what stage it is in. For example, are you just starting out, do you have a food truck business that you want to grow, or do you run a chain of food trucks?
Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that comes after this one. For example, describe the food truck business in a few words. Talk about the kind of business you are running. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of the people you want to buy from you. Give a quick overview of your marketing plan. Find the most important people on your team. And give an overview of how you think your finances will work out.
In your company analysis, you will explain what kind of food truck business you run and give a description of your business.
For example, you could run one of the following types of food trucks based on the food you serve:
- American: This kind of food truck specializes in burgers, hot dogs, and a variety of sandwiches.
- Asian: This type of food truck serves a variety of East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) and Southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Thai, and Malaysian) and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi) dishes (including Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi restaurants).
- For desserts, this type of food truck can be anything from an ice cream truck with soft serve to a bigger, fancier stand at a food market or event.
- This type of food truck serves dishes from Central and South America that are known for their strong flavors and wide range of spices.
- Fusion: This type of food truck serves new dishes that are more sophisticated and creative versions of more traditional ethnic foods.
In the Company Analysis section of your business plan, you need to describe the type of food truck you run and give some background on the business.
Be sure to answer questions like:
- When did you start the business, and why?
- What big steps have you taken so far? You could have reached a sales goal, opened a new store, etc., as a milestone.
- Your legal structure. Is your business set up as an S-Corp? An LLC? A one-person business? Tell us about how your legal system works.
You need to give an overview of your food truck business. This is also called a “market analysis.”
This may seem pointless, but it has more than one use.
First, learning about the food truck business makes you smarter. It gives you a better idea of the market you’re in.
Second, market research can make your strategy better, especially if it finds trends in your target market. For example, if there was a trend toward eating Fusion food, it would be a good idea to make sure your plan includes creative menu choices.
The third reason is to show that you know a lot about the food business. This is what you do by doing the research and putting it in your plan.
In the market analysis part of your business plan, you should answer the following questions:
- How much money does the food truck market make?
- Is the target market getting smaller or bigger?
- Who are your biggest rivals in the market?
- Who are the most important market suppliers?
- What changes are happening in the business world?
- What are the growth prospects for the industry over the next 5–10 years?
- What is the right size of the market? That is, how big is the market that your business could be aiming for? You can figure out such a number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the people in your area.
In the section of your business plan for starting a food truck about the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
Customer segments include college students, moms, teens, baby boomers, and so on.
As you might expect, the type of food truck business you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. Obviously, baby boomers would want different prices and product options than college students, and they would also respond to different marketing campaigns.
Try to figure out who your target audience is based on how they look and how they think. In terms of demographics, you should talk about the age range, gender, location, and income level of the people you want to serve. Most food truck businesses mostly serve people who live in the same city or town. Because of this, it is easy to find demographic information on government websites.
Psychographic profiles tell you what your customers want and need. The better you can understand and describe these needs, the easier it will be to find new customers and keep the ones you already have.
In your competitive analysis, you should figure out who your business’s direct competitors are and then focus on them.
Food trucks that sell food are their main competitors.
Indirect competitors are other options for customers to buy from besides direct competitors. This includes fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, and people who make their own food at home. You need to talk about this kind of competition to show that you know not everyone visits a food truck business every day.
In terms of direct competition, you should list the other food truck businesses that you are in direct competition with. Most likely, the businesses right next to you that sell food on wheels will be your main competitors.
Give an overview of their businesses and list their strengths and weaknesses for each of these competitors. Unless you’ve worked for one of your competitors, you won’t know everything about them. But you should be able to learn important things about them, like:
- What kinds of clients do they work with?
- What kind of goods do they sell?
- How much do they cost (high, low, etc.)?
- What do they do well?
- Where do they fall short?
For the last two questions, try to answer them from the point of view of your customers. And don’t be afraid to stand outside your competitors’ stores and ask customers as they leave what they like and don’t like about them.
The last part of your competitive analysis section is to list the ways in which you are better than your competitors. For instance:
- Will you serve the best food?
- Will you provide menu items that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you make getting your products easier or faster for customers?
- Will you give better service to your customers?
- Will your prices be better?
Think of ways you can do better than your competitors and write them down in this part of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, its price, where it will be sold, and how it will be promoted. In the marketing plan for your food truck business plan, you should do the following:
Product: In the product section, you should repeat the type of food truck business you wrote about in your Company Analysis. Then, give specifics about the products you will be selling. For example, will you have things like salads and wraps in addition to burgers?
Price: Write down your prices and how they compare to those of your competitors. In the product and price sections of your marketing plan, you show what you have on the menu and how much each item costs.
Place is the name for where your food truck is. Write down where you are and how your location will affect your success. For instance, will you park your food truck next to a gym, office building with a lot of people, etc.? Talk about how your location could get a steady flow of customers.
Promotions: This is the last part of your marketing plan for your food truck business. Here, you’ll write down how you’ll get customers to your place of business (s). Here are some ideas for ways to promote your business:
- You can get more customers by making the outside of your food truck more appealing.
- Putting out samples of food in front of the food truck
- Putting ads in newspapers and magazines in the area
- Listings that are paid for on Yelp or other websites
- Use of delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.
- Trying to get in touch with local blogs and websites
- Social media advertising
- Collaborations with local groups (e.g., gym members get a free fruit cup with each wrap they purchase)
- Local radio advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
- Make a program to keep customers coming back.
In the other parts of your business plan, you talked about your goals. In the operations plan, you talk about how you will reach those goals. Your plan for operations should have two different parts.
Everyday short-term processes include things like serving customers, buying supplies, keeping the store clean, and so on.
Long-term goals are the steps you want to take to get there. Some of these dates could be when you hope to have served your 10,000th customer or made $X in sales. It could also be when you plan to hire your Xth employee or launch a new truck.
A strong management plan is necessary to show that your food truck can work as a business. Show the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.
You and/or your team should ideally have worked in the food truck business before. If so, talk about this knowledge and experience. But you should also talk about any experience you have that you think will help your business do well.
If you don’t have enough management in place, you might want to put together an advisory board. Two to eight people would be on an advisory board. These people would help your business by giving advice. They’d help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have worked with food trucks or who have run quick-service restaurants and small businesses successfully.
Your 5-year financial statement should be part of your financial plan. For the first year, it should be broken down monthly or quarterly, and after that, it should be done annually. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement are all a part of your financial statements.
Income Statement: A profit and loss statement, or P&L, is what most people call an income statement. It shows how much money you made and how much it cost you, so you can see if you made a profit or not.
You need to make assumptions when making your income statement. For example, how many people will you serve each day: 50 or 150? How much will sales grow each year? 2% or 10%? As you might expect, your assumptions will have a big effect on the financial projections for your business. Do as much research as you can to try to back up your assumptions with facts.
Balance Sheets: Balance sheets have a lot of information on them, but the most important things to know are that they show your assets and your debts. For example, if you spend $100,000 to set up your food truck business, you won’t make money right away. Instead, it’s an asset that you hope will make you money for years to come. In the same way, you don’t have to pay back a check from a bank for $100,000 right away. Instead, you’ll have to pay that back over time.
Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of money. Most business owners and food truck owners don’t know that you can make money but still go bankrupt if you run out of money.
When you make your Income Statement and Balance Sheet, make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a food truck business, such as:
- Cost of buying your food truck and making it your own
- Cost of kitchen appliances like grills, fryers, food warmers, and refrigerators
- Food prices and how much it will cost to keep enough supplies on hand
- Staff payroll or salaries paid
- Insurance for a business
- Fees and licenses
- Legal expenses