Starting a food truck business

In this recipe we'll guide you on how to start a food truck business


Budget est.

Do it yourself

Average time spent



Need a hand?


Are you an entrepreneur with a taste for starting your own food truck business? Then this business recipe is the place to start.

Read this recipe in conjunction with our article on How to start a business in 30 days and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Strategise & plan

First thing’s first- you’ll need to set up your licenses and registrations. As this business would be selling meals or perishable foods for consumption, you’ll need:

Business license

A business license is a must. Operating without one is a punishable offence, so be sure to sort this out first.

Your local municipality handles business licenses and certificates of acceptability. To apply for your certificate of acceptability, you’ll need these documents.

You can contact your local municipality directly to discuss licensing procedures and Health & Safety regulations. To find your local municipality’s contact information, check out this link.

Gas Certificate of Conformity

If you’ll be using gas on your food truck, you’ll need to get a Gas Certificate of Conformity.

Liquor license

Additionally, if you’re looking to sell liquor, you’ll need a liquor license. Your locality will determine where you apply for your liquor license. We’ve included links to the main metros below-

Music license

A last note on licenses- if you plan on playing any music you’ll need a license from SAMRO (South African Music Rights Organisation) and SAMPRA (South African Music Performance Rights Association)

Starting a food truck business recipe_licenses

Identify your target market

This may seem challenging when you consider that everyone needs to eat. Your best bet in figuring out who you’re catering to is to jot down your answers to the below.

Identify demographic

  • Age group
  • Income bracket
  • Location
  • Gender

The next step is to find out what your client’s needs are-

Identify client needs

This should be a profile of the needs your target customers have. Including things like efficiency, quality, competitive pricing etc. will help you understand how you can best service these needs.


Finding out how much money you need for your business is vital. Make a list of the following and then begin researching the costs.

Starting a food truck business recipe costs

Truck requirements

They type of truck you need will dictate your budget. Purchasing either a fitted out food truck or a trailer that can be retrofitted with kitchen equipment can impact the amount of capital you need. If your truck is going to cater towards events only, you won’t need as large a truck as if you were to be catering to the public.

A decent truck can cost between R100 000.00-R150 000.00


Your food truck will require certain equipment to run.

Serving disposables

Find out costs for:

  • Plastic cups
  • Lids
  • Flatware
  • Cutlery
  • Serviettes

Cooking equipment

  • Electric griddles or flat top grills
  • Commercial gas griddles
  • Extractors
  • Gas refills

Preparation supplies

  • Cutlery
  • Cutting boards
  • Cookware
  • Aprons
  • Thermometers
  • Spatulas

Serving supplies

  • Serving utensils
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Spice shakers
  • Condiment bars
  • Cup dispensers

All purpose disposables

  • Disposable gloves
  • Hand sanitisers
  • Cling wrap
  • Grocery bags

Sales & Marketing

Marketing you products can be daunting. Especially if you don’t know where to start. That’s where we come in-

Social Media

Advertising your delicious dishes and awesome customer service on social media is a no-brainer. But which channels are right for you?

Social Media channels

According to this infographic by Social Pilot Instagram is the best channel for food businesses. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t market your business on these other channels, but if your marketing strategy involves awesome pictures of your food, customers and employees, Instagram is a great place to start.

Reserve your business name

It’s a good idea to reserve your business name on the social channels of your choice. These include the main 5 channels:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Flyers & handouts

A great way to advertise your business is to design flyers or handouts and either place these in postboxes or hand them out to people at shopping malls. Be sure to target people in the area you want to service.

A great resource (that’s free) for designing beautiful flyers is Canva. For more free marketing tools, check out our article on this here.


Decide on the location you want to be known for. You could take your truck to any location that’s available but this comes with its own risks.


You’ll need to research the following about the location/s you’re looking to show up in:

  1. Times of day that are busiest
  2. Are there other food trucks that congregate in this area?
  3. Is your offering unique enough to stand out in the case of other food trucks using this location?
  4. What are the costs to get you there and back?
  5. Are special events held in this area?

And there you have it, your guide to starting your very own food truck business!

Looking for funding? Let us know your needs here and we’d be happy to help you explore your options.

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