Food Trailer vs. Food Truck: What’s the Difference?

When someone asks you to think about mobile food businesses, your first thought probably goes to food trucks.

We don’t blame you – food trucks have become extremely popular over the past decade, especially in more urban areas.

But food trucks aren’t the only game in town.

3 Ways Food Trailers Are Different Than Food Trucks

Don’t forget about the food trailer, which you’ve probably seen before at large events or fairs without even realizing the difference.

While food trucks and food trailers basically serve the same purpose – delivering delicious food to patrons for a profit – there are some big important differences that set them apart. Here are three ways that a food trailer is different from a food truck.

1. Food Trailers Require a Tow Vehicle

Probably the main difference between a food truck and a food trailer is that a food truck can be driven. The engine, driver’s area, and kitchen are all enclosed in one vehicle in a food truck.

A food trailer, as its name suggests, has the kitchen and prep area inside a trailer that’s separate from your engine and driver’s area. This means you’ll need to already have a tow vehicle or plan on purchasing one that’s properly equipped to safely handle your food trailer.

Keep in mind it might be easier to transport and set up a food truck because everything is in one place. A food trailer might be tough to fit into a tight space.

2. Insurance Is Different for a Food Trailer

This isn’t to say you absolutely need a greater liability limit. But, since your concession trailer is being towed by another vehicle, you essentially need two separate forms of insurance – one for your food trailer and the other for your tow vehicle.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming your general liability on your pickup truck will also cover any accidents involving your trailer. It could be an expensive lesson for you in terms of any damage you’ll need to pay for and potential fines for towing an uninsured food trailer.

3. Food Trailers Cost Less, But…

This shouldn’t be a surprise because a food trailer does not include driving power, but a food trailer is considerably less expensive than a food truck. A concession trailer could cost as little as $16,000, while you could easily spend at least $50,000 for a basic food truck.

However, keep in mind that with a food trailer, you may also need to buy a towing vehicle, which could easily double or triple your cost.

Is a Food Trailer or Food Truck Best for You?

Ultimately, you’re the only one who will know which mobile food option is right for you.

Consider your needs, territory, and business plan – and don’t forget to do plenty of research – before making your purchase.

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