As food trucks have continued to dominate the restaurant scene in many cities, more and more entrepreneurs are stepping away from this mobile model and going back to the basics – which can often mean launching a storefront restaurant in lieu of (or in addition to) a food truck. While you may be worried about potentially increasing overhead expenses, there are some situations in which this transition can make financial and logistical sense. Read on to learn more about the factors to consider when deciding whether to transition your restaurant from truck to storefront.
What should you keep in mind when deciding the future of your food truck?
Making the decision to expand your restaurant to a storefront, while not irrevocable, can require you to sign a lengthy lease or even take out a mortgage – therefore, it's important to consider all the relevant factors before making the leap.
If your food truck simply can't keep up with demand, or if you find yourself being pulled in multiple directions at once with little time to restock, expanding into a storefront may allow you to serve more customers.
Comparison of overhead costs
If you're planning to utilize a storefront restaurant in addition to your food truck, you'll need only to determine that the increase in sales volume will be enough to offset the cost of your lease payments, utilities, and property taxes. However, for situations in which you're likely to swap out your food truck in lieu of a permanent space, you'll want to take account of all the costs associated with food truck operation (from permit prices to generator fuel) to see how much your new projected overhead could change things.
You may find that the amount of driving you're doing or the higher utility cost of storing frozen food in a hot truck may have increased your truck's overhead expenses to the point where a storefront restaurant is actually cheaper.
How can you select an ideal property for your restaurant?
Because opening a storefront restaurant gives up one of the primary advantages of a food truck – the ability to quickly and easily relocate to just about any part of the city – it's crucial to do your homework before purchasing or leasing a building to ensure your new space will fit your needs.
This can mean evaluating parking (as expensive or unavailable parking can send potential customers elsewhere), the general reputation of your area, the services provided by your neighbors (helping you open up the third or fourth pizza shop on the block), and other factors. A real estate agent may be able to work with you to determine your precise needs and find a building that fits the bill.