Food Cart Business: 7 Simple Steps to Start Your Own Food Cart

Looking for business ideasDo you want to start a food cart business?

Now there are two ways to do it:

First, you get a franchise.

However, the cost of getting one (A brand with years of proven track record) is really expensive.

The range is P150k-P400k. Sometimes, it can go as high as one million depending on the size of a business franchise.

Take note: this is only a franchise fee. You’re not paying yet for the downpayment of a rent, licenses and permits, and other miscellaneous expense.

But there’s a cheaper way. Which the second option is to:

Create your own concept.

That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Let’s do it now.

7 Steps to Start Your Own Food Cart Business

Step one: Ideas Development

In business, everything starts with an idea. And if you’re planning to start a food cart, you’re talking about a food idea.

What’s your food idea?

It can be a beverage type like Thirsty or a snack like Potato Corner.

Whichever you prefer, it has to be something unique or new to your customers.

By being unique, it doesn’t have to be completely new or original. It can be a little iteration of an existing product.

And now you’re asking, “Where can I get some good ideas if I don’t know about food?”

The best answer is:

Use the internet.  Google it or watch videos on Youtube. This is what I did.

Another way is to observe the street vendors. Check the food they’re selling.

What food that you and your friends love to eat on the street that has not been put yet inside a mall?

This will be your eureka moment.

Remember Mang Inasal? The founder got the idea to put a chicken barbecue inside a mall. Back then, it was a crazy idea. But he did it. And the rest is history.

Explore your surroundings. Analyze the problem. See the opportunity.

From there, develop a good idea.

Step Two: Market Research

See the scale of your idea if it is has a chance to succeed.

For a small business like food cart, you can have an informal research.

It’s the cheaper way than to conduct a formal research.

What you’ll do is to ask your friends to taste your product and get some feedback. Then you can improve.

You can also use social media to market your product initially and get some opinions from your followers.

All you need is feedback if there’s a demand. And it really fits the taste of your potential customers.

A lot of food cart owners didn’t spend a lot of time and money doing the formal research.

Their thoughts, “If my ideas fail, the lost capital is not that big. I can start over again.”

That’s why it’s good to start small. When you fail, you only lose a small capital.

What’s the most important thing is to take action!

Step Three: Creating a Business plan

Creating a business plan is an arduous task. Especially you don’t have a background in making it.

If you have a budget, you can hire someone to write a business plan for you.

I wrote a simple business plan for my food cart idea. I bought a book on how to make it.

Creating a business plan is not required though necessary. This is to set yourself in the right direction.

Business plan is all about planning.

You’re trying to see the direction of your ideas. To plan ahead of some possible challenges you may encounter in the future.

Most of all, studying your competitors. Those existing businesses that have similar ideas to yours.

You don’t need to perfect the details to finish a business plan. It’s utterly impossible. No one can predict the future.

But with the right details of your business plan, you can see a possible future where you’re business is heading.

I created one for my food cart idea. You can see it here as a sample. However, you can’t see the financial side as this is confidential. But you get the idea how to create one and how easy it is.

Since I’m not good numbers, my challenge is the financial planning. That’s why I partnered with someone who is good in numbers.

If you’re funding your own business. It’s your call to create a business plan or just create a one-page plan, on why you’re food cart idea will succeed.

Whichever way, the important thing is to plan ahead.

Just like the popular adage says, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail!”

Step Four: Searching for Reliable Suppliers

You need to find some reliable suppliers before you start your own business.

Probably, you’ll have some difficulty where to find them at the start.

If you’re like me who don’t have a lot of connection to people who know a lot of suppliers, you will be working hard to find them.

I asked some friends but they couldn’t suggest any.

Then I realized that technology is the answer. Then I use Google and social media.

Having a good supplier is really critical to your business.

Once your business starts running, the supply chain is critical to serve your customers well.

I believe you don’t want your business suddenly put to a halt. Because you’re running out of stocks. And your suppliers couldn’t cope with the demand of your business.

Look for reliable suppliers.

Step Five:  Looking for the Right Locations

The two biggest food chains in the country Jollibee and Mcdonald’s shut down their stores in many places due to bad locations.

You see, even the big brands can’t sustain to a bad location.

How much more for food carts who just started?

I’ve seen a lot of food cart businesses closing down due to the wrong choice of business locations.

I’m very observant. When I found a new food business sprouts, I time it of how long this business will last due to a poor location. Most of the time, I was right.

Sometimes I’m not correct to my timeline. One thing for sure, the business will eventually close.

I wish them to succeed. But their choice of location didn’t allow the business to prosper.

Location. Location. Location.

It’s always a challenge to select the right one.

But with patience and proper research, getting the right location is always possible.

Step Six:  Pre-launch Marketing

Before the business start, there should be a good anticipation of your would-be customers.

The powerful and cheapest way is to use social media.

You can setup a Facebook page that says coming soon. It’s easy to create a business page. Good thing, it’s completely free.

However, if you need to maximize your reach, you need to set aside a budget for Facebook Ads.

You can also build a simple website for your business.

There a lot of ways to do a pre-launch marketing.

The main idea here is to build anticipation and develop awareness.

Lastly, let’s talk about the launching day.

Step Seven: Launching Day

From ideas that turn into a reality.

It’s launching day!

The opening day of your store. Ready to accept customers.

Of course, prior to launching day, you have to anticipate the demand.

You did a pre-launch marketing.

And If your pre-launch marketing campaign was successful, there will be a lot of people to visit your store. Not only that, but a lot of curious random customers will also buy.

Make enough inventory. Create big discounts just to hook them to take advantage of your different offers. The goal is to let them taste your products and wow them with your great customer service.

Final Thoughts

There you go. You know now how to start a food cart business.

I even shared my own business plan for you to have a sample outline.

Just remember: starting a business for the first time is difficult. But what’s even more difficult is growing it big.


Let me know your thoughts. Do you have some questions?

Drop a comment below.


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