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December 11, 2018 Staff

Should You Take a Food Truck Training Class?

Why you should take Food Truck Classes.

Running a food truck is just as hard if not harder than running a restaurant.  Would you start a restaurant without any formal training? Probably not, right?

You should be taking training of some sort before you get started on type of serious business endeavor. There’s literally no profession or real business you can start with a realistic chance of success. Would a dentist hang up their shingle without first attending school and acquiring the necessary certifications? We certainly hope not!

But for some reason there are plenty of people that think they can start a food truck business without any sort of mentorship. Keep in mind that there are plenty of different ways to learn. You can certainly learn a lot of the concepts and numbers behind operating a food truck business in a class, but working part-time or being an intern on a food truck can often be even more valuable. Ideally, you would get trained on both aspects of the business before rolling out on your own.

A lot of community colleges are now offering food truck classes and we think the perfect mix is online training and class based training now that they are being offered. Also, community college classes are always more affordable than universities and you might even be able to figure out a way to get some of your books and schooling paid for with a scholarship.

Tony’s Clam Chowder – Built By M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks.

What should you be learning?

This is really tough to say because each food truck owner brings a different and unique set of skills and knowledge to their business but here is a general list of things you should be competent in before you set out to start your truck:

  • Food prep and Food Safety
  • Marketing and Menu basics
  • Managerial Leadership and Conflict Resolution
  • Truck Safety and Rules of the Road
  • Food Truck Regulations for your city
  • Food Truck Finance
  • Marketing
  • How to Pull off a Catering Event
  • How to Create a Weekly Operations Schedule

This is a basic and sparse list of everything you’ll master as an experienced food truck owner but you don’t have to know it all before you get started.  After all, you’ll never be a food truck owner if you don’t take the first step, right?

Start your apprenticeship

We highly recommend reaching out to a local food truck and ask to tag along or work for free.  Yes, we said work for free.  Every great technician, professional or master of any craft always served under an apprenticeship.  You should too.

Pick your favorite food truck and call the owner up.  Tell him about your dream and offer to help for free for a few months.  It’s gonna suck, but its the best way to learn the job on the go and those are when the real lessons get absorbed the best.  Good ‘ol hands on training.

This is one of the approaches that Dave Krolak of the of the Cas’ Pierogi and Kielbasa food truck used to start his business. Instead of going it alone, he reached out directly to one of the prominent local food truck owners in the area and offered to compensate him for training. That modest investment in training has yielded all sorts of benefits for Krolak’s business in return.

First, he got an understanding of what it really takes to operate a food truck from someone that’s successfully operating the business. Questions that could take other inexperienced vendors weeks to figure out on their own could be quickly solved by Dave’s mentor.

In addition to a better understanding of the business this arrangement yielded some immediate monetary benefits as well. As you may know, a lot of owning a food truck is getting to know the players in your community. Specifically, getting to know the people that are organizing events in your town, other food truck owners that understand the most profitable daily service locations, and the corporate contacts that book catering events.

Having a teacher rapidly increased the speed the Dave’s food truck business that would have otherwise took years to experience the same levels of success. Why not fast forward through early stages of trying to figure out who the local players are and where the biggest events are in your area? Instead find and compensate a mentor to send your success into hyper drive.

Crepe Myrtle Cafe Food Truck – Built by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks

Apply what you learn

You don’t have to have your food truck to apply what you’re learning already.  If you can try a pop-up or catering event for a friends birthday party…then apply and practice these skills before you start your food truck. Imagine yourself in the food truck while you’re practicing some of these skill sets.

If you’re putting together your business plan for your food truck with all of the financials, apply that new knowledge to your business as well.  Most of the skill sets your learning translate over to what you’re currently doing so flex these muscles as much as possible.

If you’re going to be investing tens of thousands of dollars into a food truck or hundreds of thousands into a restaurant, it makes sense to spend some time investing in yourself through classes, a mentor, or reading blogs and blogs like this. While taking a class is no guarantee of longterm success it will certainly increase your chances.

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