With property prices soaring and large gatherings back on the calendar, expanding your physical locations may not be in the budget. Now might be the golden moment to invest in mobile kitchens that will allow you to expand your business and take your product directly to the customer.
Statistics by Zippia show a bright future for food trucks and trailers in the coming year. After food truck revenues dipped slightly in 2020, they rebounded last year. Zippia reports that "The market size of the U.S. food truck industry is $1.16 billion, as of 2021." The industry's explosive 12.2% annual average growth rate since 2016 is also a good indicator of what the future holds for the mobile kitchen market in 2022 and beyond.
Ready to take advantage of the opportunity? Here are five criteria to consider when deciding what type of mobile kitchen trailer is going to be best for your business.
1. Brand New or Used
If you're diving into the mobile kitchen market, the first decision to make is whether to buy used or buy new. Neither option is guaranteed to create a better return on investment than the other. Buying new costs more but saves on maintenance and remodeling.
Buying a new trailer allows you to easily customize the kitchens to create the ideal workflow for your company. Buying used trailers can be more budget-friendly and make buying a more extensive trailer possible. Used trailers often come with appliances and bonus features as well.
If you are not ready to commit to this endeavor before exploring the possibilities, look for a mobile kitchen trailer for rent. Renting will give you the opportunity to understand the profitability of this business model, as well as getting a better idea of the features that work best for you.
2. Big or Small
There is an excellent range of food trailers on the market. The mega trailers roll in at over 50' long and 8.5' wide. On the petite side of the scale, some mobile kitchens get it all done in an 8' by 7' floor space. As you might expect, the larger the trailer, the more expensive it will be.
Things that might affect how large a trailer you want to invest in:
Number of employees working per shift
Menu size and variety
Type of events and spaces you plan to cater
The more space you have to create your meals or treats, the more comfortable and clean the interior will feel. Bigger trailers also have the advantage of larger exteriors to display menus, custom graphics, brand logos, and advertisements.
3. What's Cooking
You're going to need different appliances, counterspace, and hot or cold storage based on what you intend to offer consumers. Consider the varied appliances required by these three popular food vendors:
Ben and Jerry's
In-N-Out Burger will want stoves and deep fryers. Ben and Jerry's will want large freezing and refrigeration appliances. Starbucks will need display space for café goods and counterspace for barista machines.
If you're buying new, you may be able to custom order the required appliances along with the trailer. Otherwise, many appliances can be translocated from brick-and-mortar restaurants or bought secondhand on various websites.
4. Bonus Features
Bonus features should be considered an added plus rather than fundamental assets. A trailer of the right price, with the proper proportions, and necessary appliances will be a more worthwhile investment than one with outstanding bonus features but a workspace that is too cramped. However, added features can add to the ease of use and customer experience you provide.
Mobile kitchen retailers often market:
Foldable tables and chairs
Monitors for displaying orders
Cashier drawers and contactless card readers
5. Decorations and Aesthetics
Some decorations are useful regardless of your décor, including LED lighting and menu chalkboards. However, if you buy a used trailer, the aesthetics may need to be adjusted.
Branding your mobile kitchen is vital for longevity in the mobile kitchen industry. Popular fast-food chains, donut stops, and packaged food vendors will attract customers based on their brand. This custom signage can easily be included in your build package if you are ordering a new trailer. If your trailer is used, you will want to partner with a company that can paint or wrap your trailer to reflect your brand.
Decorations unique to every brand:
Custom vehicle wraps
Custom vinyl banners
3-dimensional signage or props can be placed outside in the eating and serving area or connected to the trailer's roof. Think of a mega ice cream cone, a burger protruding from the trunk, or an extra-large piece of curly bacon that doubles as a bench for customers awaiting their orders and eating their meals.
Are you a popular restaurant or packaged food brand searching for well-qualified mobile kitchen creators? Look no further than Craftsmen Industries, the name behind the best modular units available. Our team specializes in state-of-the-art mobile kitchens built for high-volume events.