DIY Food Truck Design with Jeremy Campeau | FTE Episode 049

Mexi-Casian Food TruckJust like building a house. You can’t just build a house from an idea in your head. You need a blue print. – Jeremy Campeau on designing a food truck

Jeremy Campeau designed and built a food truck with no previous experience for somewhere between $20,000 – $30,000. Sure, there were some speed bumps along the way and a lot of troubleshooting needed, but the final product speaks for itself with Buffy’s Mexi-Casian Grill now roaming the streets of Lincoln Park, MI. If you’re in the process of designing or ever thought about building a food truck of your own, you won’t want to miss this episode of the program.

Campeau has been a life-long entrepreneur.  In his teens he started a repair shop and now own his own successful construction business. But it was a cousin’s layoff from her job that pulled him into building a food truck. Jeremy’s cousin had recently been laid off from her job and was ready to go into business for herself. That’s when the idea of building a the food truck first formed.

In this interview, Campeau shares what the process was like for him to build his first truck. This includes everything from how they found a used bakery truck, to shopping around for deeply discounted used cooking equipment at local auctions to get the best deal and ultimately install their equipment. Jeremy also highlights the importance of having a clear understanding of what your menu will be prior to beginning the design phase.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why a bakery truck was selected as the foundation of the food truck
  • How Jeremy Campeau designed the interior layout of their concession truck
  • Some of the mistakes that were made while building Buffy’s Mexi-Casian Grill
  • Why Jeremy worked with an architect to determine where to install cooking equipment in the truck
  • How to find out about auction sales and restaurant closures where cooking equipment may be sold
  • How they purchased a serving window at Lowe’s that can more easily fit into a truck.
  • Why Jeremy wanted to truck to be in line with commercial kitchen code
  • The reasons you should consult with a professional electrician even if you plan on building a truck yourself.
  • The length of time it took to design and build the vehicle from start to finish.

Quote from The Show

If you’re going to get into this it’s time and money. It’s a huge cost of time and money so you really want to either hire experts or you want to plan a lot and research a lot. – Jeremy Campeau on what you should do if you’re thinking about building a food truck.

Mentioned During the Show

Buffy’s Mexi-Casian Food Truck – This is the food truck referenced during the show. They serve up Mexi-American fusion food to the hungry residents of Lincoln Park, Michigan, located close to Detroit. Check them out if you live in the area.

Harbor Freight – This is the store Jeremy Campeau goes to purchase the tools needed to customize his food truck. This is the ideal place to find things like metal sheers or grinding wheels.

Auction Zip – Use this website to help find auctions near you that are discounted restaurant equipment. This is a terrific way to save money on mobile kitchen supplies.

How to Build a Food Truck Yourself – A more in-depth, step by step article on building a food truck.

Random photos from the food truck build:

back door of food truck

mobile kitchen photo

inside of food truck

propane tanks on truck

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.