Embarking into the flourishing food truck industry is an exciting adventure for any new food inspired entrepreneur, especially finding the food truck that will help make it all happen. We understand that the custom built food truck doesn't always fit the budget -which is why we have created a checklist to help assist in the buying process when looking at used/premade food trucks. Check out the buying checklist that helps bring peace of mind:
✔Once a food theme or truck idea has been decided it is important to identify the proper class (1,2 3,4) category for your food truck. This code may vary city by city, state by state so it is important to do your due diligence here because you don't want to purchase a class 2 (light assembly, no cooking) capable truck by mistake when you really need a class 4 truck (commercial food operation). This step helps save money from having to renovate.
✔Check equipment and confirm if it is commercial approved equipment -not residential. Many who are attempting food truck builds don't understand the hot and cold side for equipment, and we have seen many instances where the builder installs residential kitchen equipment like hoods and fridges because commercial equipment isn't in their ballpark. Many people think a fridge is a fridge, but in reality commercial fridges have different door seals, different refrigeration mechanics in it where it can operate in more intense conditions -like constantly being opened and closed, bi product heat from any hot equipment, etc. An average household fridge opens 15-20 times a day whereas the commercial fridge could open more than 100 times a day -the equipment is made the way it is to be used in the environment it's intended for.
✔Get records on who built the truck or renovated it, and make sure you trust the source! If it looks like it might fall apart, chances are it will. One of the top calls we get is fixing someone else's defective work. We've included photos and videos below from one of our repairs we received regarding a hood, re running gas line and rewiring electrical in a brand new cart. Unfortunately the “professional” he hired did not live up to his word and left the truck owner to deal with the shotty work. Luckily he was able to find Peace of Mind and a “FUCK YES” after we got through with the repair. You can see in the photos and videos below that the hood doesn't even touch the wall, is unsecured and uneven. The gas line ran inconveniently across the walk path (which is not very large in a food truck -resulting in tripping or an accident) has 2 different types piping mixing galvanized and black iron, not ideal or correct. The electrical is not ran properly -wires with foil tape, external wires running from the box through and out the door (pinching it every time the door is closed) and up the roof fully exposed. The wiring used is indoor romex which is not suitable for exterior use. We are comfortable sharing these photos as a way to educate and assist others in the buying process and to prevent others falling into the wrong hands!
✔Check the sink size! We've seen small residential sinks in busy commercial food truck kitchens, you can guess how long that really lasts before a new sink install is at the top of their list. It's also important to check local codes for tank sizes -check hot water tank size to ensure you are able to do what you need to do.
15x15x12 minimum bowl size for dishes.
12x16 for handwashing sinks -these are required by city code (codes may vary state by state). It is also a bonus if the handwashing sink is near your serving window that way you don't have your back to the customer and customer can see you washing hands while you interact.
✔Check the power supply, we run a standard 240 volt 50 amp so you will always have capability for any needs. What we see a lot is 125 volt 30 amp being ran, which for some trucks is fine, but for the long haul it just isn't enough.
✔Last item on the checklist is if there is a serving window, opt for a horizontal slide over vertical -there will be less hovering since the vertical window doesn't allow a lot of head space as it the window itself cuts your space in half and the horizontal sliding window has a wider opening.
**Note on Plexi Glass in Window: Plexi cracks, leaks, gets cold, does not slide efficiently, it may end up as a constant replacement on a food truck.
Through our experience of building, servicing, maintaining and renovating the food trucks here in Central Oregon and beyond we've seen some pretty botched work, which has allowed us to understand and identify many of the problems food truck owners run into to help and advocate for this blossoming industry. We’re done with seeing truck owners sink their money into trucks that were promised to perform and they end up having to either dump more money into repairing them or have to shut down the whole operation completely -no more! At Peace of Mind Customs our services are built to last and we are here to advocate for the food truck community to create something greater than just a badass food truck, we're interested in helping others thrive and assist in making their food truck dreams come true.
To learn more about more about food trucks check out Tips For Building A Food Truck or give us a call today at 541-728-3511.