One of the unfortunate aspects of operating a food truck is that the units are targets for theft or vandalism. While you can’t control the actions of bad guys, you can take measures to improve the security of the unit.
While good insurance coverage can make getting back on the road easier, if your food truck is stolen you’ll still be out of business for months as you wait for the insurance check to clear and a replacement vehicle to be manufactured. Fortunately, there are proven actions you can take to prevent this disruptive event from happening all together. Here are our top tips for preventing the theft of your food truck or trailer.
Simple Best Practices to Prevent Theft
According to the San Jose Police Department, there is a vehicle stolen every 21 seconds in the United States. Many of these stolen vehicles are acts of opportunity by the evil doer. In other words, it looks easy to steal so the bad guy takes advantage. Here are a few reminders to keep your unit safe:
- Never leave the food truck turned on with the keys in the ignition. It can be easy to run into the grocery store to pick up some last minute condiments. Don’t do this! Grocery stores attract all sorts of people and you leaving the keys in the vehicle makes this an easy opportunity. The truck could be driven away and out of the parking lot in under 60 seconds.
- Always roll up the windows and lock the vehicle when you leave, even if you’re parked at the commissary or an event.
- Don’t leave valuables like iPad POS systems, smart phones or open cash registers in plain view. These can be grabbed and run off with easily by individuals looking for an easy grab and go. These small items can be almost impossible to get back.
- Park in a well lit area. Burglars don’t like areas that they can be spotted doing a dirty deed. Vending locations with a lot of foot traffic and people around are less likely to be targeted.
Avoiding Overnight Break-ins
While some of the “no-brainer” tips will help you avoid the most obvious mistakes vehicle owners make, if you own a concession trailer or truck the time for the unit is most susceptible while parked overnight.
Ensuring you have safe overnight parking spot in place is probably the most important measure you can take to protect your business investment. Even if you plan to park the trailer in your driveway to save money on storage there are steps you should take to make sure the unit can’t be easily taken.
- Install a video camera: Thanks to technologies like Ring and other systems, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to setup a home security system. You can setup a reliable camera that will record the trailer at night and during the day for under $500 all-in. In the event that someone does break in, you’ll have evidence that you can share with the authorities to catch the theif. Keep in mind this should not be a hidden camera. You want these to be visible to bad guys so they know they’re being recorded.
- Install Preventative Signage: Another proven tactic is to place signage around your truck that scares off potential robbers. Think “Beware of Dog” signs outside of single family homes that lets intruders know there is a pet present. Often the security camera or company you use will provide these stickers or bandit signs free of charge. Make sure to utilize them around your unit encouraging evil doers to look elsewhere for an easy opportunity.
- Remove Title and Other Legal Documents: Some counties require that you prominently post business information and health safety certificates somewhere that’s visible to customers while in operation. As a result, it can be more convenient to leave this documentation inside the unit while parked overnight. But don’t let this happen! Including information like the title can make it easier for bad guys to sell the unit for a quick buck to an unsuspecting buyer.
- Check Safety of Commissary or Storage Facility: Before you park your unit at a commissary or storage facility, put yourself in the shoes of a would-be burglar. Does the facility make it difficult to drive off with your vehicle? A reputable storage facility will have video cameras, fences, gates, and employees on-site to prevent break ins.
While no one can prevent 100% of theft there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of your business investment. By taking the steps recommended in this post, you can be more confident knowing that your lively hood will be there in the morning.