The mantra that the three most important aspects of real estate are location, location, and location is true, not only for standard bricks-and-mortar restaurants, but for food trailers as well. Ask any trailer vendor about the most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success, and you will undoubtedly get the same answer: find a great physical location for your trailer.
Get Visibility and Traffic
Although high visibility from the road is certainly important, it’s equally important to find an area that has a considerable amount of foot traffic. This is even more crucial if you aren’t planning on moving your trailer regularly. While you are scouting out a spot, bear in mind that you’ll need access to public restrooms in order to qualify for your permit from the health department.
Scout for Spots
With the above considerations in mind, the question becomes, “How do I find a choice spot?” While it might not be terribly efficient, one surefire way to find out what spaces are available is to drive to spots you are interested in and ask for the property managers’ information. But we do not recommend going it alone. There’s strength in numbers, so find partners.
Consider which trailers you would like to work with and share tables/customers. Remember to choose your partners wisely based on not only whether you can get along and help each other, but also on your partners’ food. Ideally, you don’t want to be in a trailer park with other trucks that have cuisine that is too similar to yours. You will also benefit from working together with other trailers in your food court to market your location. It would be wise to see what kind of social media outreach others are doing to promote the space.
Typical lease agreements range from month-to-month or yearly. We suggest finding a good location to sink your wheels in for at least one year while you are building your customer base. A common complaint among trailer foodies is the trouble they have finding trailers in the first place. Other complaints are related to trailers changing location without warning and not being open when they say they will be.
See the full CW Startup Guide, which walks you through each step of starting your business.