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What size catering van should I buy?

As an entrepreneur in the catering industry, one of the most critical decisions you'll have to make is selecting the right catering van for your business. Your vehicle choice can significantly impact your operational efficiency, service quality, and overall business success. In this guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of choosing the perfect catering van, examining factors such as size, mobility, storage capacity, cost, and much more.

Types of catering vehicles

There are numerous types of catering vans available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It's essential to familiarise yourself with these options to make an informed decision.

Food trucks

Food trucks are the most common catering vans, offering a combination of mobility and kitchen functionality. They vary in size, ranging from 10 to 26 feet long and 7 feet wide. However, they can accommodate a variety of kitchen appliances and provide a comfortable operational area for staff.

Food trailers

Food trailers are typically larger than food trucks, with sizes ranging from 8 to 53 feet long and 7 to 8.5 feet wide. They offer ample space for full-sized kitchen equipment and storage, making them ideal for large-scale catering operations.

Food carts

Food carts are the smallest type of catering vehicles, typically 4-7 feet long and 2-6 feet wide. They are easy to manoeuvre and cost-effective, making them an excellent option for startups or small-scale operations.

Understanding your food business needs

The size of your catering vehicle should align with the size of your food business operation.

Here's how to determine the right size for your catering van:

Business scale

The scale of your street food business operation directly influences the type and size of your catering vehicle. If you have a large catering business with more than ten employees, a food trailer might be the best choice, as it offers ample space for staff and storage. On the other hand, if you're just starting or running a small-scale operation, a compact food truck or cart might be more suitable.

The variety of your menu also influences your vehicle choice. If your menu consists of a few items, a small truck or cart might suffice. However, if you offer a wide variety of foods, you may need a larger truck or trailer.


Consider your business's mobility needs. If you intend to frequently move from location to location, a small, easily manoeuvrable truck might be a better option than a large vehicle.

Additional factors to consider

Two mobile catering van

Beyond size and business scale, there are additional factors to consider when choosing your catering van.

Vehicle price

The price of the vehicle is a essential factor. Smaller vehicles like food carts are generally cheaper, while large food trailers can be more expensive. However, remember that the initial purchase cost is just one aspect of the total cost of ownership, which also includes maintenance, insurance, and fuel costs.

Storage capacity

The storage capacity of your vehicle is important for ensuring efficient operations. It determines how much food you can carry and how many catering supplies you can store. Make sure you choose a vehicle that can accommodate all your storage needs.

Catering van insurance

In the food truck industry, make sure to get the right catering van insurance to keep your business safe and secure. Our catering van insurance team can help find the appropriate cover to suit you and your mobile catering business.

Vehicle mobility

The mobility of your vehicle determines how easily you can move from one location to another and park in different spaces. Smaller vehicles are generally easier to manoeuvre and park, especially in congested areas.

Event type and location

Consider the type of events you cater to and their locations. If you frequently cater to large events or venues, a food trailer might be more suitable. Conversely, if you cater to small events or operate in urban areas, a smaller food truck or cart might be a better choice.

Personalising your catering vehicle

Once you've considered all the factors and chosen your catering vehicle, it's time to personalise it to suit your brand and operational needs.

Here are some aspects to consider:

Interior design

The interior design of your vehicle should facilitate efficient operations. This means arranging your kitchen appliances and storage areas in a way that optimises workflow and ensures safety.


Your vehicle is a moving advertisement for your brand, so make sure it reflects your brand identity. This could involve painting your vehicle in your brand colours, displaying your logo prominently and incorporating other branding elements. You may also want to display your food hygiene rating and food hygiene certificate.

Catering equipment and appliances

Equip your vehicle with the right kitchen appliances to prepare your menu items efficiently. Consider the power requirements of these appliances and ensure your vehicle can accommodate them.

Health and Safety Compliance

Ensure your vehicle complies with all relevant health and safety regulations and passes a food hygiene inspection. This includes proper ventilation, fire safety equipment, and food storage facilities.


Choosing the right catering vehicle is a significant decision that can make or break your catering business. Take the time to consider all the factors we've discussed in this guide, and remember that the best vehicle for your business is one that fits your specific needs and budget.

Remember, the road to success in the catering industry is paved with informed decisions, and choosing the right vehicle is a vital step on that journey. Choose wisely, and you'll be well on your way to establishing a successful catering business.

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