How to Start a Food Truck in Gainesville, FL

GainesvilleOne of the best ways to learn what it takes to operate a successful food truck is to get out and speak with a longtime vendor in your area. They understand the local health codes, the best places to park, and can provide some hard-won perspective on what the day-to-day operations are like in this business model.

Our guest expert Tyler Black of Ameraucana Wood Fire was kind enough to share his time and expertise to help out future mobile food owners by answering all of our questions. If you live in the area be sure to get out and support their businesses. Your taste buds will thank you!

Note: If you’re super serious about starting a mobile food business in Gainesville, we’ve also provided some helpful resources at the bottom of this article to steer you in the right direction and put you on the fast track to launching your own business.

Tell me a bit about yourself, your business, and how long you’ve been operating in Gainesville?

Tyler Black: We opened November 1st, 2013

 

How did you learn how to start a food truck in your area?

Tyler Black: I had an idea and mostly researched everything online and talked to people in the wood fire business.

What are some of the unique opportunities of operating a food truck in your city?

Tyler Black: We are mobile, so we can get to temporary events, and catering is really easy.
 

What are some of the unique challenges of operating a food truck in your city?

Tyler Black: Gainesville is in the dark ages when it comes to food trucks. We have also had some trouble with some mid ranged corporate restaurants that think we are stealing customers if we are within a certain range of them.
 

Where should entrepreneurs go to find information about the local health code and fire safety regulations? 

Tyler Black: Ask a health inspector. The health code and building requirements can be exhausting to read through. I took a reverse engineering approach to it and just figured out what I needed to to for me.

 
Ameraucana Wood Fire

A Little Slice of Ameraucana Wood Fire Pizza.

Are there any specific city regulations or requirements that you’ve seen overlooked by other owners in the past or frequently made mistakes?

Tyler Black: We are self sufficient because we have a 3 compartment sink, so we don’t new a commissary for food preparation. I do need a place for getting fresh water and dumping though.

What’s the parking situation like in Gainesville and do you need a special permit to park or is it a free for all?
Tyler Black: It’s limited by a bunch of old city laws that were meant to apply to roach coaches. Hopefully things will change. We try to find cool people that have private parking lots for us to set up in. A lot of places will try to make money off you though, be weary of them.
 

Finally, if you could give only one piece of advice for new food truck entrepreneurs. What would that nugget of advice be?

Tyler Black: Keep the menu simple. Do one thing and do it well. Don’t pay huge fees to set up, be creative with your gigs.

 

Anything else newbie food truckers should know about starting a business in Gainesville?

Tyler Black: If you don’t have restaurant experience, you won’t make it.

Want to Learn More? Here’s What We Recommend Reading Next. 

The Ultimate Food Truck Case Study – We follow newbie food trucker Anthony Salvagno for months as he goes through the process of starting his first food truck. Everything from developing the concept for his business to buying a mobile food unit is covered in this series of posts.

Florida Department of Health – Call the Florida Department of Health for Alachua County at 352-334-7930 for details on starting a mobile food unit. According to the organizations website, permits in this county are $180 for a mobile food service. Visit the official website for details.

Original Gainesville Food Truck Rally – This is a yearly food truck rally held in Gainesville. This is the ideal place to start forging connections with local industry folks.

Help with Funding? The reality is most entrepreneurs need to beg, borrow, and save for their first truck. This guide shares the 7 most frequently used tactics for acquiring capital, including a couple you may not have heard of before.

Thanks again to Tyler for his time and willingness to share this expertise! 

About Support Staff

Brett Lindenberg is the founder of Food Truck Empire and Food Empire Pro. Brett's mission is help to entrepreneurs start and grow profitable food businesses. Since 2014, Brett has interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs on the Food Empire Pro podcast and written hundreds of blog posts on all aspects of food business. Brett has been quoted in media outlets like Entrepreneur Magazine, CNBC, and The Washington Post.