The Complete Guide to Food Truck Equipment and Installation

Woman prepared to work with food truck equipment in a food van

Food entrepreneurs are following a rising trend of opening a food truck business. If this is something you're considering, you'll want to secure what's needed to get started. This complete guide to food truck equipment and installation will help you prepare. 

Approximately 32,456 food trucks are serving food in the United States today. Many of these trucks operate in some of the largest cities in the nation. 

Graph of the top 15 cities with the most food trucks

One of the most compelling reasons to open this type of establishment is that start-up costs are low, and revenue can be substantial.

This post will cover the things you need to avoid to be successful. But first, let's discuss the equipment you'll need and why proper installation is so vital. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The first thing you want to do when opening a food truck business is to ensure you have all the equipment you need, including cooking, warming and holding, and food prep equipment. 
  • It is essential that all your equipment is installed correctly and by a licensed professional in many cases.
  • There are a lot of liabilities that go into operating a food truck. Ensure that food is cooked and handled properly and check that everything is up to date. Engage in regular checks and maintenance of your truck and its engine. 

Food Truck Equipment Checklist

Purchasing and installing the food truck equipment you need will require careful attention to the design and setup of your limited space within the truck. Optimize every square inch. 

Here is a list of the equipment you'll need:

Cooking Equipment 

There are several necessary pieces of cooking equipment you’ll need, including:

  • Grills, griddles, and flat top cooking surfaces
  • Range and charbroiler
  • Toaster and microwave
  • Fryer
  • Exhaust hood 

Warming and Holding Equipment   

These are the recommended warming and holding containers:

  • Fry dump station
  • Kettle and soup warmer
  • Countertop food warmer and heat lamps

Refrigeration Equipment 

Here is some specialized refrigerator equipment you’ll need:

  • Salad and sandwich prep fridge
  • Pizza prep fridge
  • Undercounter fridge and freezer
  • Worktop fridge

Food Prep Equipment

Having the necessary food prep equipment is crucial. Some essential food prep equipment to consider purchasing includes:

  • Stainless steel worktable
  • Cutting boards
  • Knives, cutlery, spatulas, cooking spoons, and prep forks
  • Skillets, saucepans, fryer pans
  • Blender or food processor
  • Rinse stations, hand sink with commercial faucets, pre-rinse fittings, and pot fillers
  • Thermometers

Food Truck Supplies  

You’ll want to ensure you have the following supplies in your food truck:

  • Serving utensils
  • Squeeze bottles and condiment dispenser
  • Shakers for sugar, spices, and other dry condiments
  • Paper food trays, cups, to-go containers, and plastic eating utensils
  • Napkins and dispensers
  • Order forms
  • Receipt printer paper
  • Disposable gloves, hairnets, and other sanitation equipment
  • Plastic and aluminum wrap
  • Janitorial supplies

Why Proper Installation is Essential in the Food Truck Business

Before you review the don’ts of the food truck business, keep in mind what you must do. Hire licensed professionals who are certified to install the equipment needed for your establishment. 

Doing the work on your own or hiring an unskilled person can lead to disaster and make you liable for anything that goes wrong as a result. Not only do you want to protect your investment in your truck, but it is also your responsibility to keep your employees and your customers safe.

For example, if you station your food truck at a lot with other foodservice trucks, if there is a fire, it can spread quickly to other trucks on the lot. If disaster strikes because you were negligent when installing your equipment, this makes you liable for all damages. 

For that reason, you should never attempt to save on installation by hiring someone who isn't certified to do the job.

The 5 Don’ts of the Food Truck Business 

Knowing the pitfalls of running a food truck is the best way to ensure you don’t find yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in. So, let’s review some of the don’ts of operating a successful food truck business.  

1. Don’t neglect all safety measures

Proper safety measures will keep you from dealing with liabilities that could force you to close your establishment. Make sure everything is working and up to code.

Properly store propane tanks and secure them during transit. Check for outdated electrical. Don't try to repair things on your own without proper equipment. It is dangerous and can cause serious injury.

Proper safety measure includes cooking food properly. Improper food prep is costly and ruins the customer experience. Furthermore, it may cause you to run out of food and limit your earning potential.

2. Don’t forget your permits

Check with the state (or states) you'll be operating in as many states require multiple permits. You and your employees may need food handlers’ cards. Whatever the requirements, you'll want to have all your regulatory paperwork complete. Also, only set up where you are permitted to do so.

3. Don’t run out of materials

Not only does this refer to ingredients, but you will also want to make sure you have enough plasticware, containers, and other storage equipment. Be conservative when giving out plates, napkins, condiments, etc. 

You will also want to see that you have the proper amount of cash and coin on hand, especially smaller bills. That way, you can provide change for any sized transaction.

4. Don’t forget to check your equipment daily

Have a checklist of all equipment to ensure you don’t forget to check your essential equipment. This includes generators, stoves, faucets, pre-rinse valves, ventilation systems, etc. When you get new equipment, make sure professionals install it properly.

5. Don’t neglect regular maintenance on your truck engine

Maintaining your food truck will be one of your most significant investments. Even if you are a stationary foodservice truck, you will need to guarantee the truck’s engine is operating for when you move the vehicle. Move the truck as little as possible. When you must drive the vehicle, do so carefully.Chart of the most significant operating costs of food truck business  

Chicago Faucets Has the Food Truck Equipment You Need  

At Chicago Faucets, we have the faucets and fitting for commercial kitchens, even those inside a food truck. From pre-rinse valves to glass and pot fillers, we have what you'll need.

If you're considering starting a food truck business, contact us here to speak to someone who can ensure you get the equipment you need.  

Topics: Food and Beverage, food truck equipment, Food Services