Food Service Equipment & Supplies/Food Truck Equipment and cost
QUESTION: Hi Brian,
What brand NSF equipment that is good and mid-priced for food truck would you recommend. I'm in LA and looking to have one built but cost are around 80K plus depending on truck and equipment. I'm trying to save and not get suckered in with built cost of the truck. Appreciate your help and expertise.
ANSWER: Hi Joe:
Have you already purchased a truck or are you starting from the ground up? The reason I ask is that there has to be an abundance of used food trucks on the market that would save you quite a bit of money. Otherwise we can start from the ground up and I can advise on manufacturers and dealers to contact. I'm well connected in L.A. so I'm sure I can help you!
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QUESTION: Thanks for your prompt reply Brian.
I have not purchased a truck and still looking for a 18" cab step truck.
I have been looking since last year and most used food truck around 30K are the orig. lunchera/taco type equipped. I'm looking for a more upscale truck with stove tops and upright refrigerator which are priced around 60K used.
One manufacture quoted me 60K for w/ a new kitchen equipment. One other option was to supply the used truck and used equipment and have them build the truck at what cost? What is the best way to cut cost on the built?
ANSWER: Dear Joe:
Sounds like you've done a fair amount of research already so I can't be of much help in regards to finding the "right" used truck. As far as building a new truck from the ground up I have a couple of thoughts to share.
Most food truck manufacturers want to provide a turn key product which means they provide and install everything and give you a finished product. They're rationale is that in such an elaborate, confined space only they are qualified to ensure the equipment fits properly and conforms to NSF requirements. Of course that's not really the case; they just prefer to sell you the entire package.
Having said this there are some advantages in allowing the truck manufacturers to provide a turn key product:
1. In many cases you will need custom stainless fabrication to fit everything in and they have these resources
2. They have CAD drawing capabilities to provide drawings for health department approval
3. Since this is their area of expertise they can advise on what's allowed and what's prohibited in your municipality
On the other hand, if you are willing to do a fair amount of research and leg work you can probably save 20%~30% by outfitting the truck yourself. Obviously you will need to find a manufacturer who's willing to sell you the truck unequipped. You will also need to retain an equipment designer to provide drawings to the truck manufacturer so that they know where to place convenience outlets, exhaust canopy ductwork, drain connections, etc. (I can put you in touch with several qualified designers). Next you will need to specify and purchase the required cooking/refrigeration equipment (I can help you with sourcing equipment and figuring out which brands will give you the biggest bang for your buck). And, lastly, you'll need someone to install/hook-up all your equipment (I know people who specialize in this).
Having outlined all this the question you need to ask yourself is whether it's worth your time and energy to "do it yourself" rather than buy a turn key product? You will also have to navigate the health department requirements INCLUDING providing them with a complete protocol for all utensils you will be using, how you will sanitize both the utensils and the truck interior, how you will dispose of waste water and grease, where you will take the truck to have it sanitized (you must have a health department approved facility like a central commissary to dump waste water/grease and sanitize the truck). And, of course, you need to outline how you will prepare and store your foods.
Let me know if I can be of further help and good luck!
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QUESTION: Hi Brian.
Can we meet to discuss possibilities?
I'm sorry but this forum is the limit of my free consulting time. You are welcome to contact me through this forum to bounce ideas or get recommendations but I'm not in a position to start offering face-to-face consultation without charging for my time.
Happy to help you through this forum in any manner that I can.