I took care of the why question with my last post, now to address the how question. How do you go about getting a food truck anyway? So, the rest of my blogging will be about our journey to becoming food truckers.
I left you with food truck lesson 1: Prepare an air-tight, detailed business plan, and then plan for it not to go according to plan! Since we aren't able to buy everything new, that second part is serious.
Way back when the dream was for a restaurant my Aunt Regina, who used to be a manager for a restaurant in South Beach Miami, bought us business plan templates for Christmas. The package included a bunch of spreadsheets with all these questions you need to answer in order to determine things like start-up costs, and operating expenses. My highly motivated, spreadsheet-loving husband jumped right on it! (If spreadsheets and ANAL-izing things was a super power he would have it!)
I was thinking if anyone can put together an excellent, detailed plan its David--we have this planning thing covered! He even bought other books with things like 'dummies' and 'idiot's' in the title (his faves are the Nolo ones) to read up on everything just to make sure he was getting it all right! After some time agonizing over these spreadsheets he was finally feeling confident enough to put together a business plan and prepare something for fundraising and investors. We found out quickly that there are very few ways to get the funding you need for a start-up restaurant/food business. Banks won't even give you a start-up business loan unless you have been in business for 2 years! (If I could be in business for two years without a loan, then I wouldn't be talking to you silly bank!) So we turned to private investors and the conversation went something like this:
Potential investor: Wow! I think this is the best business plan I have ever seen!
Me: Great, so we can count on you to support us then?
Investor: [awkward silence]
Basically, unless you have a bunch of cash lying around, you will need to get a personal loan to foot the bill. This is very frustrating given that we put together an LLC in order to separate our personal and business assets. Can you see how things haven't been going according to plan? And we haven't even really gotten to the plan itself yet!
Unless you have restaurant management experience there are going to be a LOT of things you don't know that you don't know! Even if you are experienced, there are going to be a lot of things that you forgot to consider. My brother, Mark who was a bar manager, told me to have a huge contingency line item in our plan and he was right! There are SO MANY UNFORESEEN EXPENSES when you are starting a business. Since we are working on a very tight budget these expenses can really hurt. Let me count (some) of the ways:
the truck cost more than expected
the used truck needs more repair than expected
the height of the truck limits the size of the fridge we can install--special fridge size = special fridge $$
did you remember to include the fryer oil pot and accessories in your estimate for that fryer?
What! Why does the county require that?! Its not in the code!
How much did that permit cost?! We need a permit for every city?!
We have to pay how much to be at their event!?
Why do I need a commissary kitchen when I have a kitchen on wheels?
I could go on...
Now you see how the money adds up, but so does the time it takes to deal with all of these things. So now we are on to food truck lesson 2: Everything takes longer than you expected.