9 Clever Tactics to Save Money on Food Truck Equipment
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9 Clever Tactics To Save Money On Food Truck Equipment

According to Food Truck Empire, an education company for entrepreneurs, food truck equipment can cost roughly around $25,000-$100,000 to furnish a mobile restaurant that can fully operate. 

But you know this rate still depends on what you specifically need for your business and where you’ll operate, which can put quite a dent in your budget. 

So if you’re planning to expand and open a new food truck, you might as well plan your menu carefully. Look for shop deals, rent or lease a commissary kitchen, or leverage technology like a QR code menu tool that helps you trim down your expenses. 

To further elaborate on this, we’ve prepared comprehensive information that will serve as your guide for your next purchases. 

9 practical tactics to cut down on food truck equipment costs

Creating a food truck menu
Staff introducing signature menus

Being overwhelmed when buying all the equipment you need is normal, especially when you’re still new in this industry. 

To help you mitigate this for your next mobile kitchen, here’s a list of tactics you can use to avoid unnecessary spending.

Plan your menu strategically

Carefully plan your operation, management, and menu ideas to determine exactly what you need. 

Create a food truck menu that focuses on dishes that can be prepared using versatile equipment, minimizing the number of specialized tools required. 

By streamlining your menu, you can reduce the amount of equipment needed and save money on unnecessary purchases. 

Shop around for deals

Don’t settle for the first price you come across. 

Take time to shop around and compare prices from different suppliers, both online and offline. 

Look out for sales, promotions, and clearance deals that can help you score significant discounts on food truck equipment. 

You can also buy in bulk or partner with other food truck owners to negotiate better prices. 

Buy used equipment 

Consider purchasing used equipment instead of brand-new items to save a significant amount of money. 

Many restaurant supply companies and online marketplaces sell high-quality, refurbished equipment at a fraction of the cost of new ones. 

But there are disadvantages that you also be aware of if you’re pushing to buy second-hand equipment. 

First, the functions don’t work well with the menu you’re going for, making it difficult to serve a high-quality meal for your customers or might change the taste of it. 

Next is the health inspection in your area. The old version or second equipment might not pass the standard requirement, which makes it difficult for you to install it on your food truck. 

Lastly, it has a lower life expectancy compared to when you buy a new one. You can probably use it for a good year or two but you will have to spend for maintenance. 

So, if buying new ones is still not within the budget, you can still explore using used equipment and tools as long as they can serve their purpose with a guarantee to pass health inspection requirements. 

Negotiate with suppliers when buying food truck equipment

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with equipment suppliers to try to secure a better deal. 

You may be able to negotiate lower prices, bulk discounts, or additional perks such as free delivery or installation. 

Building a good relationship with your suppliers can also lead to future cost-saving opportunities, so be polite but firm when discussing pricing and terms. 

Consider leasing or renting food truck equipment 

If purchasing equipment outright is not feasible for your budget, consider leasing or renting instead. 

Leasing allows you to spread out the food truck startup costs of equipment over time while renting gives you the flexibility to access equipment on a temporary basis without a long-term commitment. 

This can be particularly beneficial for seasonal businesses or startups with limited capital. 

Focus on essential items 

Prioritize your spending on essential equipment items that are necessary for your menu and operations. 

Avoid splurging on fancy gadgets or equipment that you may not use frequently. 

Start with the basic ones and gradually invest in additional equipment as your business grows and your needs start to change. 

This approach will help you stay within budget while still meeting the demands of your customers. 

DIY and repurpose

Get creative and consider DIY solutions or repurposing existing items to save money on tools. 

For example, you can build your food prep station using affordable materials from a hardware store or repurpose a commercial shelving unit for storage. 

Just be sure to prioritize safety and compliance with health regulations when implementing DIY solutions. 

Take advantage of tax deductions and incentives

Investigate potential tax deductions and incentives available for purchasing any tools for your food truck. 

Take note that it still depends on your location and business structure that you may be eligible for tax breaks or credits that can help offset the cost of equipment purchases. 

To be sure with your spending, consult with a tax professional to explore your options and maximize your savings. 

Leverage technologies 

Using technologies can significantly contribute to cost savings when outfitting your food truck. 

These can help you optimize various aspects of your business: order-taking, menu access, marketing, etc.

For instance, you can implement a QR code menu software that enables you to track your customers’ orders, streamline payment transactions, and generate sales reports. 

This cuts down on POS equipment expenses and transaction fees that you have to pay monthly.

You can also route optimization tools that will lead you to streets with less traffic, minimizing fuel consumption and vehicle wear. 

Through the strategic use of technology, you can enhance efficiency, trim expenses, and boost profitability in this competitive market. 

What equipment is needed for a food truck: A checklist 

Checklist of food truck equipment
The owner listed down the necessary equipment

To give you a guide on the necessary items you’ll need for your food truck, here’s a checklist you might want to use to avoid overspending. 

Cooking equipment

It’s given that you put up a portion of your budget to cooking equipment. 

But as mentioned, you can save on shopping for used or discounted ones instead of buying brand-new ones. 

To help you, here’s a list of essentials you can consider buying:

  • Flat top grill
  • Charbroilers
  • Microwave 
  • Toaster 
  • Cheese melter 
  • Fryer 
  • Food truck exhaust hood 
  • Range 

Warming and holding equipment

Maintaining proper temperature for your food requires warming and holding equipment. 

Food truck warmers keep your menu items free from bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses, making them appetizing and safe for your customers to consume. 

Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Countertop food warmers
  • Drawer warmers 
  • Heat lamps 
  • Insulated food carriers 
  • Chafing dishes 
  • Steam tables 
  • Plate warmers 
  • Pizza warmers 
  • Mobile holding cabinets 

Food preparation equipment

Next to add to your checklist are tools for preparing your dishes. 

What you need will depend on the food and drink items you offer on your menu since the equipment includes whatever you use to prepare food for cooking or serving.

  • Prep table 
  • Commercial refrigeration
  • Food processor
  • Blenders 
  • Mixers 
  • Cutting boards and knives 
  • Food slicers 
  • Steamer 
  • Portion scale and measuring utensils 
  • Induction cooktops 

Food truck supplies 

You’ll need to stock up on a variety of disposable serving items because your food truck will be servicing customers who are always on the go. 

Here are some of the things you’ll need:

  1. Disposable serve ware 
  • Paper plates 
  • Disposable cups (for hot and cold beverages)
  • Plastic utensils (forks, knives, spoons)
  • Napkins 
  • straws 
  • To-go containers 
  1. Cleaning and sanitizing supplies 
  • Dish soap and sanitizing solutions 
  • Cleaning cloths or towels 
  • Sanitizing wipes 
  • Trash bags 
  • Mops and buckets 
  • Trash bins 
  • Hand sanitizer or handwashing stations 
  1. Food storage 
  • Containers for ingredients and prepared food 
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wraps 
  • Food labeling stickers 
  • Food-grade gloves 
  • Food thermometer 
  1. Cooking supplies 
  • Condiments 
  • Seasonings and spices 
  • Basting brushes and squeeze bottles 
  • Pots and pans
  • Mixing bowls
  • Tongs, spatulas, and ladles 
  1. Utilities, maintenance, and safety equipment 
  • First aid kits 
  • Fire extinguisher 
  • Safety signs 
  • Fuel  or cooking 
  • Spare propane tanks
  • Vehicle repair tools 

Adding a QR code menu tool in your equipment checklist

As much as possible, you want to streamline your operations, especially when your business is confined to a limited space. 

So having a tool that can solve your business’s very specific needs is a must-have investment for your food truck.  

One thing you can add to your list of equipment is a food menu QR code tool which can:

Streamline the ordering process 

Your customers can simply scan a QR code displayed on your food truck or menu board using their smartphone camera, built-in QR code scanner, or a third-party app

This instantly directs them to your virtual menu to browse through your offerings and place their orders directly from their devices. 

You can serve your customers more efficiently by eliminating the need for physical menus and manual ordering. 

Customize the menu in real-time 

With a digital QR code, you have the flexibility to update and customize your menu in real-time. 

Whether you’re adding new items, changing prices, or promoting daily specials, you can easily make adjustments to your offerings without incurring additional printing costs. 

This allows you to adapt to changing customer preferences and food trends more efficiently. 

Enhance customer experience with a digital menu QR code 

What’s more rewarding than making your customers happy whenever they purchase from your mobile kitchen? 

With a menu QR code, it demonstrates a commitment to providing a modern and convenient dining experience for your customers. 

A recent survey from Restaurant Business reported that 78% of the respondents prefer using a food menu QR code over traditional menus because of the convenience of being able to access a menu instantly from their smartphones, especially in today’s digital age. 

All you need to do is learn how to customize a menu QR code that projects cohesiveness in your business’s image. 

Integrate with payment systems

This allows customers to pay for their orders directly from the online menu using digital wallets or credit/debit cards. 

This further simplifies the transaction process and reduces the need for handling cash which enhances convenience and security for you and your customers. 

Provide marketing and analytics opportunities 

Gather data on popular items with the tracking feature of this tool. 

You can get valuable insights from which you can tailor your marketing campaigns according to your customers’ liking of certain food items. 

You can also strategize on how you’ll be able to sell your nonpopular but profitable menu based on the information you’ll collect from your tracker. 

MENU TIGER: Your reliable QR code menu tool provider for your mobile kitchen 

MENU TIGER digital menu software
Smart menu software for food trucks

To maximize the use of this menu QR code tool, you have to look for a reliable software provider that offers features essentially useful in your operations. 

MENU TIGER definitely fits this criterion. 

Here are some of what it can offer to you: 

Creative menu QR codes

You can generate and customize your digital menu QR code based on your food truck’s visual branding. 

It lets you edit and design digital menus by changing the colors and patterns and adding your logo for cohesive images. 

Personalized options for your customers

One of MENU TIGER’s aims is to help you make an interactive experience for your customers. 

There’s an add-on feature for them to customize their orders based on their preferences and dietary restrictions. 

Engaging online menu 

You can build your menu with high-quality images of your food items, vivid descriptions, and videos that will surely entice your guests and encourage them to try your dishes. 

E-payment alternatives 

MENU TIGER makes payment transactions more simplified with its PayPal and Stripe payment options. 

This makes it easier for your guests to complete their orders without the need to wait in line at the counter just to pay them. 

Easy implementation

MENU TIGER is designed with a user-friendly interface.

Even if you’re not into technology or it’s your first time using digital menu systems, you won’t have trouble as it has a simple and straightforward interface, making it easier to use right away. 

Let’s hit the road with cost-efficient food truck equipment and MENU TIGER

Once you buy a food truck or sign up for a lease, you’ve probably considered which equipment to fill your workstation with

Unlike other mobile businesses, a mobile kitchen can house various equipment and supplies that can somehow jump out of budget. 

But it should not be a problem as long as you have excellent cost-saving tactics. 

One of those is considering a QR code menu software provider like MENU TIGER that guarantees cost-efficient and effective customer service. 

And there’s more to it than just providing your QR-coded menus. So, visit the website, sign up, and let’s take this food truck business to new heights. 


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