19 Food Truck Industry Statistics to Know

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Roll up your sleeves and loosen that belt a notch because the food truck industry is cooking up a storm in 2023! Food trucks have become the culinary stars of our streets, serving everything from gourmet burgers to delectable mac ‘n’ cheese.

Whether you’re a foodie at heart or an aspiring entrepreneur, these 19 food truck industry statistics will give you a taste of what’s sizzling in this delicious world on wheels. So, grab a snack and let’s hit the road!

General Food Truck Industry Statistics

Get the inside scoop on the heart and soul of the food truck industry with these statistics. From annual wages to the number of employees, we’re dishing out the basics of this vibrant world on wheels.

Cash Flow in the Food Truck Lane

In 2021, the food truck industry was cooking with gas, churning out an impressive $318 million in annual wages. This money isn’t just going into the coffers; it’s filling the pockets of chefs, servers, and all the food truck heroes working tirelessly to bring us fantastic flavors.

These earnings are a testament to the industry’s growth and its commitment to its workforce, a paycheck-worthy love affair with the mobile culinary world.

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Pockets Filled With Flavor

While not everyone in the food truck business is pulling in celebrity chef salaries, the average annual wage in this industry is still a hearty $38,064. That’s enough to keep those aprons clean and the passion for culinary adventures alive.

In the world of food trucks, it’s about more than just money; it’s about savoring the joy of cooking and sharing it with the world.

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The Food Truck Brigade

Across the vast expanse of the United States, a thriving army of 40,547 food truck employees ensures that delicious dishes on wheels are never too far away.

These numbers represent the diverse tapestry of culinary talents, from the big cities to small towns, all united by their love for street food and their dedication to serving smiles with every meal.

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Small Teams, Big Flavor

The heart of the food truck industry beats in its small, tight-knit teams, where the average food truck business employs 1.2 dedicated individuals.

This cozy setup allows for a more personal connection with their customers and a level of attention to detail that’s hard to match. These small crews are a testament to how a handful of passionate people can create culinary magic on the streets.

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Feeding the Economy

As a collective force, these mobile kitchens don’t just satisfy our taste buds; they also pump up the economy with an impressive annual revenue of $2.7 billion.

This thriving industry is a testament to the power of entrepreneurial spirit and culinary creativity, enriching communities and stomachs all around the nation. It’s not just about feeding people; it’s about feeding the economy, one delicious dish at a time.

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Food Truck Industry Trends and Predictions

Looking into the crystal ball of the food truck industry, we’ll explore the trends and forecasts that will shape 2023 and beyond. Find out what’s sizzling in the ever-evolving world of curbside cuisine.

Revving Up the Food Truck Engine

Back in 2011, there were 8,677 food truck businesses cruising the streets of the U.S., which seemed like a lot at the time.

Fast forward to 2023, and we’re now feasting our eyes on a whopping 36,324 food truck businesses nationwide, a staggering 23.9% increase in just over a decade.

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A Flavorful Growth Spurt

The food truck industry isn’t just serving up tasty dishes; it’s also cooking up some impressive business growth. From 2018 to 2023, it’s been on a remarkable journey with an average annualized growth rate of 9.9%.

In simpler terms, this industry has been expanding its horizons steadily and deliciously.

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Putting People to Work

Speaking of growth, the food truck industry has been a steady source of employment opportunities.

From 2016 to 2021, it maintained an average annual employment growth rate of 8.6%, with 2021 alone boasting an 8% growth rate. Besides a minor dip in 2016, it’s been a satisfying feast of opportunities for job seekers.

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Market Size on the Rise

The industry’s market size has been on a flavorful upswing, growing by an average of 4.9% each year from 2018 to 2023. As of 2023, the food truck industry’s market value has reached a tantalizing $1.49 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2020.

While it saw steady growth from 2016 to 2019, hitting $1.21 billion in 2019, it faced a temporary dip in 2020 before bouncing back in 2021.

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2022 and Beyond

The road ahead looks promising too. In 2022, the food truck industry market was projected to grow by 3.4%, elevating the market value to a tasty $1.202 billion, surpassing the previous year’s $1.162 billion.

The food truck industry’s engines are revving for more culinary adventures in the years to come.

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Food Truck Business Statistics

Starting a food truck business? Discover the costs, challenges, and demographics that are essential for aspiring food truck entrepreneurs. These stats serve up valuable insights for anyone hungry to join the mobile kitchen revolution.

Rolling with the Food Truck Wave

In the U.S., the food truck scene has exploded, with a mouthwatering total of 36,324 food truck businesses parked and ready for action.

That’s a hefty 12.5% increase from the 32,287 businesses we saw in 2021. It seems like everyone’s eager to join the mobile culinary movement!

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Prime Parking Spots for Food Trucks

Finding the right place to park your food truck can be a recipe for success. Business districts, street food markets, and music festivals top the list of prime locations.

Business districts, often teeming with hungry professionals short on time, have proven to be a sweet spot for food trucks. Street food markets are like a playground for these mobile kitchens, with customers already craving their delights.

And music festivals? Well, they’re a goldmine, as festivalgoers are usually captive audiences with a hankering for food truck fare.

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Other Profitable Pit Stops

While those are the big players, parks and retail areas are also quite profitable places to park a food truck. They offer opportunities to tap into various crowds looking for a quick and tasty bite.

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The Cost of Culinary Dreams

Starting a food truck business isn’t just about passion; it comes with a price tag. During their first year, owners typically invest around $28,276 in permits, licenses, and legal compliance.

But that’s just the beginning – when you add up the truck, equipment, ingredients, employees, and prep kitchen, the total startup cost can swell to over $125,000. So, it’s no small fry in the investment department.

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Savoring the Demographics

Ever wonder who’s forking out their hard-earned cash at food trucks? Well, here’s the scoop: 43% of the monthly food truck spending is done by the 25-44 age group, and another 20% comes from those under 25.

So, it’s safe to say that food trucks hit the bullseye with customers under 44. They’re the ones relishing those curbside flavors.

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Food Truck Location and Profitability Statistics

Find out where the real food truck hotspots are, and which menu items are raking in the dough. From the best cities to park your truck to the most profitable bites, these stats guide you to the perfect location and the most mouthwatering offerings.

Cityscape of Food Truck Dreams

When it comes to the ultimate food truck haven, Portland, Oregon, takes the top spot. This city not only boasts the lowest average permit cost for a year at $7,287 but also keeps the restrictions on food truck owners to a minimum, making it a paradise for mobile culinary entrepreneurs.

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Food Truck Destinations across the U.S.

While Portland is leading the charge, there’s a lineup of other cities making waves in the food truck scene. Here are the top ten cities that every food truck owner dreams of:

  • Denver
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Indianapolis
  • Houston
  • Austin
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Nashville

On the flip side, Boston, Massachusetts, can be a bit of a culinary challenge for food truck owners.

It ranks as the toughest major city in the U.S., coming in at the bottom of the list in terms of permit accessibility and maintenance cost. While restrictions aren’t the most stringent, the overall experience can be a bit tricky.

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States on the Food Truck Map

Regarding the states serving food truck delights, California takes the crown with a smorgasbord of 753 food truck businesses, the highest number in the nation.

Texas and Florida follow closely behind, with 549 and 502 food truck businesses, respectively. It’s clear that the food truck fever is spreading far and wide.

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Profitable Bites on Wheels

Wondering what’s the secret sauce behind food truck profitability? Burgers take the lead, thanks to their widespread appeal, cost-effectiveness, and endless potential for culinary creativity. But the flavor parade doesn’t stop there; other top-profit menu items include:

  • Indian street food
  • Stone-baked pizza
  • Loaded fries
  • Grilled cheese
  • Falafel
  • Macaroni and cheese

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It’s clear that the food truck frenzy is showing no signs of slowing down in 2023. Cities like Portland, Denver, and Orlando are paving the way for aspiring food truck owners, while Boston might need a bit of a culinary makeover.

As the industry continues to grow and diversify, it’s not just about grabbing a quick bite anymore; it’s about celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit and the love for good food on the go.

So, whether you’re seeking the next hot foodie destination or dreaming of your very own food truck empire, this year promises a delectable adventure around every corner. Bon appétit!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where’s the best city to start a food truck business in the U.S.?

Portland, Oregon is the prime destination for food truck entrepreneurs. It offers affordable permits and minimal operational restrictions, making it a haven for culinary start-ups.

However, cities like Denver, Orlando, and Philadelphia also offer excellent opportunities for food truck success, making the choice ultimately dependent on your unique concept and preferences.

2. Which city should I avoid for a food truck venture?

Boston, Massachusetts presents the most challenges for food truck owners. It ranks as the most difficult major city in terms of permit accessibility and maintenance cost.

However, despite these hurdles, the restrictions on food trucks are relatively less stringent compared to some other cities.

3. Which states are leading the food truck revolution in the U.S.?

California tops the list with the most food truck businesses, boasting 753 in total. Texas and Florida follow closely behind with 549 and 502 businesses, respectively. These states showcase the growing popularity and profitability of the food truck industry.

4. What menu items are the most profitable for food truck businesses?

Burgers are the reigning champions of profitability on food truck menus. Their widespread appeal, low cost, and potential for creative variations make them a surefire hit.

Other high-profit menu items include Indian street food, stone-baked pizza, loaded fries, grilled cheese, falafel, and macaroni and cheese.

5. What’s the average cost for permits and legal compliance when starting a food truck business?

Food truck owners can expect to spend an average of $28,276 on permits, licenses, and ongoing legal compliance in their first year of operation.

However, it’s essential to note that this cost doesn’t cover other substantial expenses, such as acquiring the truck, equipment, ingredients, hiring staff, and setting up a prep kitchen. In total, launching a food truck business can require an investment of over $125,000.