How Much Food Storage Space is Needed on Your Concession Trailer?

You’ve planned the menu, perfected the recipes and are ready to start designing the blueprints for your dream mobile kitchen. A kitchen is one of the trickiest design challenges in any home, and it doesn’t get any easier when crammed into a 16-to-22-foot trailer. However, by spending a little extra time thinking about the use of your space, taking a hard look at your revenue goals, and—gulp!—doing a few simple math equations, you can be confident that you’ve got the storage space you need for a kitchen that works as hard as you do.

In the food industry terms, the amount of storage space inside your trailer is referred to as capacity. The good news is that food trailers typically have more capacity than food trucks—giving you a head start when it comes to maximizing your options. Generators for a food truck are almost always built inside what could be usable kitchen space—what a waste! On a food trailer, the generator is typically placed outside the unit on the tongue, right behind the hitch. This opens up additional space that can be used for valuable storage.

How much capacity should you allow for storage in your trailer? The answer is—as much as you need to get the job done and meet all health requirements. Seem vague? Let’s break it down a bit with a few questions to see what you need to consider for your specific type:

  1. What are you creating in your kitchen? How much (or little) space do the individual parts need before they come together? If you’re running a coffee shop on wheels, you might need relatively little storage as a great deal of beans, condiments and cups can be kept in fairly tight quarters. However, if you’re going to be running a full-menu mobile pit BBQ with lots of different kinds of meat and sides, you’re going to need prime storage options and space. The experts at Custom Trailer Pros can give you an idea of how much space is typically reserved for kitchens serving your type of cuisine.
  2. What are the local health department requirements regarding storage of the ingredients needed, and storage of other items that must be kept away from the ingredients? Just like a brick-and mortar kitchen, you need to think safety first to avoid being taken off the road before you make your first sale. Be sure to check local and state health department guidelines before making any major decisions regarding storage. Typical storage guidelines might include:
    • Storing vegetables above meat, poultry and fish
    • Keeping all stored consumables free from dirt, insects, animals, overhead leakage or contamination
    • A separate space away from food to store articles of clothing and personal items
    • A secure space for chemicals and cleaning supplies clearly separated from food, utensils packaging material and food-contact surfaces
  3. How much revenue do you need to make each day to meet your business goals? Before you answer “as much as possible,” grab a pen, a piece of paper and a calculator. First, you need to determine the “break-even point” for your trailer—how many of your creations do you need to sell each day to cover your expenses? Be sure to account for wages and truck operating expenses, not just the cost of goods sold. Use this formula to figure it out:

Total Fixed Costs ÷ ( (Total Sales – Total Variable Costs) / Total Sales) = Break Even Point

Once you figure out your break-even point, you need to determine how many of your menu items you would need to sell to hit that target. Obviously, your goal is to do better than break even, it’s to make money! How many more of your items would you need to sell to hit your revenue goals for the day? Now, add your break even items and your revenue-target items together. Whether the number is 500 tacos or 850 cups of iced coffee, you’ll want to make sure you have enough ingredients, supplies and serving items in storage so you don’t have to close shop in the middle of a late-day rush.

Determining the capacity needed to put make your recipe road-ready can be an overwhelming task, even if this isn’t your first foray into food trailers. It’s important to consider your needs from every angle and every spare inch, and it’s not something you should have to do on your own.

When you partner with Custom Trailer Pros, our experienced professionals will support your design goals with extensive knowledge of national food service regulations and set-up needs.  We’re innovative and full of ideas on how to make your ideas become reality. We’re here to be your partner and help you maximize this investment. Are you ready to put your dreams in drive? Give us a call today at 1-800-859-5405 or just click HERE to get started!

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