This is the first word that comes to my mind whenever someone asks me for advice on opening a food truck business in this region.
What two things does a food truck signify? One is food and the other is truck – and you thought that this was a tricky question. In this region, it seems that the word truck does not imply anything. To me the primary function of a truck is to be mobile - hence the four tires and a steering wheel. But the concept of food trucks in this region is backward.
This is mainly because the classic food truck business model seen in the developed countries such as America and Europe is still in its infancy stage in this region. Authorities have not been able to evolve and get comfortable with this concept to demark regular zones or places of selling. Then there are the innumerable difficulties in getting approvals and permits and a suitable location to get the food truck business started. You will bounce back and forth between authorities such as Dubai Economic Development (DED), Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Municipality, and Chamber of Commerce to find answers.
Let’s assume that you were able to navigate the maze of approvals and permits and manufactured a food truck for business. Once you have the truck your assumption would be that you can cook food in the food truck and serve, but that is not the case. Many times authorities only allow food trucks to operate if the food being served has been prepped or pre-cooked at an already graded central kitchen.
Wait! What! So that means that you either open a central kitchen or outsource your production to a third party central kitchen. This brings me to my next point of investment and profitability. If you open your own central kitchen you better have a lot of money to setup the production and if you outsource trying to save the heavy investment then you might be compromising quality issues, freshness, delivery issued all with a higher cost to your bottom line. Most food truck business owners will tell you that it is not a very profitable business if your sole source of business is just one food truck. Since you cannot move from place to place you are relying on the customers available only around you. Secondly, some food truck owners cater only to events moving from one event to the other but even the event organizers don’t make things easy and simple.
Lastly, given the scorching heat in this region food truck business is seasonal. To counter that food truck owners rely on home deliveries from their central kitchen or the outsourced partner as the demand for ordering-in increases drastically during the summer months. Franchising a food truck is a much easier bet since you will get the setup and the necessary assistance in obtaining all the approvals and permits. So if the thought of having a food truck business is crossing your mind then I would highly suggest going for a franchise of a food truck and make sure that they are able to assist you through the process of it all.