Starting-up: Food Trucks vs restaurants

Whether you’re travelling or exploring your local city, food trucks are a great way to taste some of the best street food around the world. With thousands of people flocking to street food markets and festivals takes a look into the business behind food trucks and some of the costs involved in running a food truck compared to a restaurant

Flavours From Around The World

If you’re a foodie, you’ll know that street food is a popular choice for many across the world. With some food trucks even getting their own Michelin star, it seems no Instagram page is complete without a tasty snapshot of these delicious delights – but how much does it take to run your own food truck?

Food Trucks vs Restaurants: The Real Cost

To serve food on the go you’re going to need a van, and that costs around £8,097, that’s almost £112,000 less than the cost of a restaurant in the UK.

Since you eliminate the need for seating and layout that’s needed in a restaurant, you’ll save around £10,000, meaning you can inject the spare cash into other upfront costs such as stock, van insurance or a point of sale system.

Overall, you can expect to spend around £8,780 on upfront costs for a food truck. If you decide to open a restaurant – assuming that you won’t be buying the building and will instead be renting – you can expect around £49,875 in upfront costs. The great thing about owning a van is that you can customise it however you like, unlike many business owners who have to rent restaurant spaces, meaning they cannot decorate or customise as freely.

Starting the business may seem like the hardest part, but sustaining the business is definitely one of the most challenging parts of the journey. Public liability insurance costs around £199.37 annually, food truck parking costs £134 per month, and with the constant need to be on the move, fuel can cost around £382 per month.

Overall, recurring costs will be around £7,914 per month for a food truck, while for a restaurant, it’s significantly more at £9,385 per month – over £1,400 more than a food truck.

Interestingly, along with upfront costs, most of your money will be spent on licensing your business. This includes food business registration, street trading licence, and a premises licence if you’re planning to serve alcohol, which will cost you around £1,279 for a food truck. For setting up a restaurant you can expect to spend considerably more, over £6,000 in fees.

 The Total Cost of a Food Truck vs a Restaurant

This includes upfront costs, recurring costs for the first month, and licensing:

Cost of a Food Truck Overall Cost of a Restaurant Overall
£17,973 £65,263