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A guide to staffing your food truck business

Food trucks, a phenomenon that's grown increasingly popular over the years, offers a unique business opportunity. They allow budding entrepreneurs to dip their toes into the restaurant industry without the need for a brick-and-mortar establishment.

However, operating a successful food truck business requires a well-structured team. In this guide, we'll delve into the essentials of staffing your food truck business, including key roles, how to hire, and training processes.

Understanding your staffing needs

Food trucks, unlike traditional restaurants, operate with a lean team. The size of your truck dictates the number of employees you can comfortably and efficiently accommodate. In many instances, food truck owners employ two or three sets of staff: those working on the truck and others based at the commercial kitchen.

Truck size

The truck's size and the number of workers required in the commercial kitchen to prepare the food before it's transported to the truck will influence the number of employees you hire. Most food trucks can accommodate two to six workers. The fewer individuals you need to hire, the better for your operational costs. However, even if you plan on handling many operational duties, you'll need to fill several positions for smooth operation in this fast-paced industry.

Key roles in your food truck business

Staff roles in a food truck business generally fall into two categories: front of house and back of house.

Service window attendants

These staff members interact with, serve, and cash out customers from the moment they approach your service window until they leave. Your front of house employees represent your food truck and are the main point of interaction with your customers.

They need to be professional, polite, and reliable. Familiarity with the menu, including the preparation methods, taste of food items, and whether special orders are allowed, is important for these staff members. They should also know the daily specials, if any, to inform customers.


Running a food truck business requires a lot more than just serving delicious food. It requires careful planning, organisation, and management. And that's where the role of a manager comes in. A manager in a food truck business plays a crucial role in ensuring its success and profitability.

One of the main responsibilities of a manager in a food truck business is to oversee the day-to-day operations. This includes managing the staff, coordinating schedules, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. From ordering supplies to managing inventory and tracking sales, the manager is responsible for keeping track of all the essential aspects of the business.

A manager in a food truck business needs to be adaptable and flexible. The nature of the industry means that things can change quickly, whether it's the location of the truck or the menu offerings. The manager should be able to make quick decisions and adapt to any changes or challenges that arise.

Overall, the role of a manager in a food truck business is multi-faceted and demanding. They are responsible for overseeing operations, providing excellent customer service, marketing and promotion, and being adaptable to changes. With their expertise and leadership skills, a good manager can ensure the success and profitability of a food truck business.


In the fast-paced world of food truck operations, the role of a chef is vital and dynamic. A chef in a food truck is not just responsible for preparing delicious and mouth-watering meals, but also for ensuring the smooth operation of the entire business. The chef is the heart and soul of the successful food truck businesses, bringing their culinary expertise and creativity to the forefront.

One of the primary roles of a chef in a food truck business is menu development. The chef must create a menu that is not only appealing to customers, but also practical for the limited space and resources of a food truck. They need to carefully select ingredients that are easy to source and can be prepared in a small kitchen on wheels. The chef must also consider the target market and adapt their menu accordingly, ensuring that it caters to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences.

Another important role of a chef in a food truck business is maintaining quality and consistency. Customers expect their favourite dishes to taste the same every time they visit the food truck. It is the responsibility of the chef to train their staff to follow recipes and cooking techniques precisely, ensuring that every dish meets the same high standards. The chef must also monitor the quality of ingredients, ensuring that they are fresh and sourced from reliable suppliers.

Additionally, a chef in the food truck industry must be able to handle the pressures of working in a small, confined space. They need to be able to multitask efficiently, preparing multiple orders simultaneously while maintaining cleanliness and organisation. The chef must also have excellent time management skills, as customers expect quick service from a food truck. They need to be able to work under pressure without compromising on the quality of the food.

Hiring your food truck staff

Catering van workers at work

As a food truck owner, once you've determined the roles required for your food truck business, the next step is hiring. It's recommended to start the hiring process 3-4 weeks before you plan to open your food truck, particularly if it's seasonal. Assembling a reliable team from the beginning means you'll only have to onboard and train staff once for the entire season.

Food truck insurance

Proper insurance coverage may be important in protecting your mobile catering trailer. Employers liability is an essential requirement for mobile caterers. Public liability is worth considering for caterers but is not a legal requirement within the UK. It's important to understand the insurance coverage needed to safeguard your business.

Onboarding your food truck employees

Once you've found your perfect team of food truck crew, send them their on boarding paperwork, complete any background and driver's license checks, and start your staff training.

Running a successful food truck business requires strategic planning, particularly when it comes to staffing. By understanding the key roles, hiring process, and training needs, you can build a team that will help your food truck business thrive.

Frequently asked questions

Why might I hire a food truck manager?

Your first hire should be the food truck manager, if you're not planning to take on these responsibilities yourself. They need to be a strong operator who thrives in a fast-paced environment. The manager sets the workplace's tone, maintaining positivity during challenging situations in a small environment. Their energy greatly influences staff happiness, which in turn impacts sales and turnover.

How do I conduct an interview for my food truck business?

Conducting an interview for your food truck business can be exciting and challenging at the same time. The key is to identify candidates who are not only skilled but also passionate about food and customer service. Start by asking about their previous experience in the food industry, their skills, and why they are interested in working in a food truck specifically. Then, dig deeper into their ability to handle fast-paced environments, multitask, and work well under pressure. Remember, a good fit isn't just about the skills on a resume - it's about enthusiasm, attitude, and the ability to contribute to the unique vibe of your food truck.

What common mistakes do food truck owners make?

Starting a food truck can be an exciting venture, but it is not without its challenges. One common mistake that food truck owners often make is not thoroughly researching their target market. This can lead to menu selections that don't resonate with their customers. Additionally, they often fail to account for the unpredictable nature of the business, like inclement weather or mechanical issues, which can greatly impact sales. Finally, many food truck owners underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to run the business. From sourcing ingredients to maintaining the truck, it's a full-time job that requires dedication and hard work.

How do I advertise my job openings for my food truck?

Advertising job openings for your food truck can be a fun and creative process. Start by utilising social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to reach out to potential applicants. Additionally, consider attending local food truck events or festivals to network and spread the word. Traditional methods like flyers or local newspaper ads can also be effective. Don't forget to highlight the unique perks of working on a food truck, such as the dynamic work environment and opportunity to interact with different people every day.

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