Location, location, location. In the real-estate business, the location of a property is one of the biggest factors influencing how much a property will be rented or sold for regardless of condition and size. This rule holds true in the food truck business as well. If you’re able to find profitable locations to park your truck consistently, even a mediocre food and menu can be highly profitable.

But finding the right place to park isn’t as easy as it sounds. There’s much that must be considered before rolling up on a new site: 1.) Learning if there is a permit or fee required. 2.) Finding a large-enough space to park. 3.) Is there enough foot traffic in the area to make the trip worth the time and money invested in getting there? Here are some of the best places I’ve found to open a food truck.

Farmer’s Markets

Markets popup all across the United States from the Spring – Fall months, which can vary in length depending on where in the country you live. Farmer’s Markets are usually held in a recurring location 1 – 2 times per week and provide an ample supply of foot traffic.

Farmer’s Markets work better for some types of menus better than others. If you decide to test a market in your area try to play up the any ingredients or menu items that are sourced locally. Serving products that are purchased locally and responsibly produced can make your truck more attractive to this market.

farmers market

Vending at a farmer’s market.

Festivals / Special Events

Concerts, children’s festivals, and other special events can yield nice one-time gains for your truck. Best of all, you usually don’t need to invest much energy in promoting yourself at these events since there’s usually a built in audience that’s ready to spend.

If you find a festival or event that has yielded a strong payday be sure to stay in touch with the organizer of the event. Often, popular events are held once per year. By staying friendly with the organizer you’ll increase your chances of being invited back next year.

Craft Breweries 

Let me tell you, operating a food truck at a brewery can be an exceptional strategy in the food truck industry. Craft beer establishments primarily focus on their selection of beers, often leaving a gap in the food service area. This presents an ideal opportunity for food trucks to cater to the patrons who are there to enjoy the beers.

Imagine this scenario: regular customers, those who are loyal to their favorite brewery, visit not just for the beer but for the social atmosphere as well. Naturally, they become hungry during their visit. This is where your food truck comes into play, offering dishes that perfectly complement the beer, creating a harmonious dining experience.

local brewery

Local brewery.

Breweries or wineries can become significant allies in promoting your business. They often use their platforms, including social media, to announce your arrival, helping to draw a crowd even before you’ve officially opened for the day. This mutual support system benefits both parties—you provide the food that keeps customers staying longer, while the brewery ensures the customers have plenty of reasons to order another round.

Food Truck Parks / Pods

In recent years, the food-truck revolution has exploded with popularity. As a by product of the increased exposure in the industry, more food trucks have popped up and owners have started to work together for the common good. One result of this team work has been multiple trucks parking in a single location on an agreed upon day and time. Typically, a group of food trucks banding together in the same area will attract more attention than a lonely vehicle.

One of the benefits of networking with other owners is that you’ll become aware of the location and time of these truck parks or pods. You don’t need to be best friends with everyone in the industry, but try to keep a professional relationship with your “competitors” to ensure you get invited to these lucrative events.

Business Districts

Business and financial districts may already be competitive locations depending on where you live. But they remain worthwhile opportunity for the savvy food-truck entrepreneur. Some large corporate offices will even host regular food truck days where vendors can park outside their office location during the summer months. This is ideal since the event will often be promoted to employees through a company newsletter or email. This basically serves as free advertising for your food truck.

Bustling districts of white-collar workers like this often exist in downtown areas of larger cities. If you can secure a parking spot that isn’t already taken by another concession stand these areas can provide a consistent stream of customers for a mobile restaurant.

Beaches and Parks 

On sunny days, crowds flock to these locations for relaxation and recreation. A food truck can provide the perfect refreshment or snack for beach-goers or park visitors. These locations often have limited on-site food services, creating a demand for convenient, on-the-go food options that food trucks are perfectly equipped to provide. People in these settings are generally in a leisurely mood and more inclined to indulge in treats and meals that enhance their day out, whether it’s ice cream, barbecue, seafood, or refreshing drinks.

beach food truck

Food truck on the beach.

“Vending by the water, especially here in Maine next to the ocean, is an experience like no other. There’s something truly magical about serving our specialties with the backdrop of the sea stretching out behind us. The fresh, salty air, the sound of the waves, and the vibrant community that comes together here.” – Malcolm Bedell 

Bars and Nightclubs

When folks drink, they get hungry and don’t mind paying for food. If there’s a popular bar in your area you could end up making a lot of money for just a few hours of work if you don’t mind working in the evening. One of the best strategies is to position the truck within eyesight (and smell sight) of the entrance. This way bar patrons will smell the delicious fare when entering and especially exiting the building. It’s a winning formula for a successful location.

If you find a bar that is profitable for your food-truck, do everything you can to stay on good terms with the owner of the business as this type of relationship can yield profits for years to come.

Construction Sites

Construction sites often have a concentrated group of workers who need quick, convenient access to meals, as they might be located in areas with limited nearby food options. This creates a high-demand scenario with relatively low competition directly on site.

Best of all, construction projects can last for months or even years, providing a food truck with a steady and predictable customer base. Workers on these sites need to eat daily, offering regular business opportunities for breakfast and lunch services. Some of the best construction sites where I live are around new housing developments. These massive build sites are often a 10 – 15 minute drive from the nearest gas station or fast food joint making them the only readily available option for workers.

Building a connection with the workers and the site managers is key at these locations. Show up consistently, remember the regulars, and make sure you’re as dependable as their own work tools. Do that, and you won’t just be another food option, you’ll be part of their daily routine.

construction site

Busy construction site.

Gas Stations

Believe it or not, gas stations can be a very lucrative place to setup shop. Often workers that are employed in construction, shipping, or law enforcement end up purchasing a 5-hour old hot dog or microwaveable sandwich from a convenience store for lunch while filling up with gas. But if there’s a better alternative, many folks will often fork over a few extra dollars in return for a decent meal.

More often than not, gas station owners and managers appreciate having these food trucks around too since trucks can draw more attention to their businesses and keep people in the area longer. As long as you get approval prior from the business before showing up this can be a win-win scenario both for yourself and the gas station.

Tip: When identifying good gas stations to prospect consider larger convenience stores or “super” stations that get a lot of customers. One place to begin the search is near major highways and interstates because you can also end up serving hungry travelers as well.

As a small business owner, always keep your eyes open for new and profitable locations to park your vehicle. Also, ask other mobile entrepreneurs where they feel the best spots are. If they’re not willing to share their favorite locations just follow their Twitter feed to monitor where successful food trucks like to frequent. The longer you stay in business and remain friendly with other business owners, event organizers, and continue to network you’ll eventually find the most profitable spots in your area.

Keep in mind that once you find that winning location make efforts to establish your presence in that area in a consistent basis. This will help win over repeat customers and help you get to know the local players / competitors in that area.

Exploring these creative locations can help food truck owners expand their customer base and explore new markets. Of course, it’s essential to check local regulations and obtain necessary permits before setting up in any new location no matter how appealing it could look.

Want to start your own food business?

Hey! 👋I’m Brett Lindenberg, the founder of Food Truck Empire.

We interview successful founders and share the stories behind their food trucks, restaurants, food and beverage brands. By sharing these stories, I want to help others get started.

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