The food truck industry is expanding at lightning-fast speed as more and more people want to try out this unique type of dining.
In the United States, food trucks hit the streets in 1936 and grew in popularity continuously, offering all sorts of tasty treats on the go.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of food and beverage jobs will grow 10% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average of all occupations.
The growing demand for the industry will need more people to meet the demand for food, which means that jobs in the food truck industry will continue to grow.
Latest food truck statistics reveal that 36.6% of Americans eat fast food daily, so starting your own food truck business can be incredibly rewarding.
However, you must analyze a range of factors before deciding whether opening a food truck is right for you.
In this article, we have rounded up everchanging 25+ food truck industry statistics that will help you start your business from scratch and dive deeper into the future of this industry. Let’s begin!
Key Food Truck Industry Statistics and Trends
- Starting a food truck business in the U.S costs around $55,000 on average.
- It takes more than 30 days to collect the required licenses and permits to run a food truck.
- The average permit to open a food truck costs around $25,276.
- There are more than 35,512 food truck businesses in the U.S.
- California has the most number of food trucks, with 752 operating currently.
- Over 40,000 people are working in the food truck industry in the United States.
- According to the food truck index, Portland is the friendliest city for food trucks.
- A Food truck earns between $250,000 to $500,000 in revenue annually.
- The current market size of the food truck industry is around $1.2 billion, anticipated to increase by 3.4% in 2022.
Essential Food Truck Industry Statistics
Here are 25+ Food Truck Industry Statistics 2022:
1. There are around 35,512 food trucks in the United States
As of September 2022, more than 35,000 food trucks are active in the United States, which is 10% growth compared to 2021, with 23,287 trucks.
The top 10 states include California, New York, Washington, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, accounting for 57% of the total Food truck industry in the United States. (IBISWorld).
2. Approximately 40,547 workers are employed by food truck markets throughout the U.S
Food trucks are one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry, growing at an annual rate of 7.9%. As of September 2022, more than 4,000 trucks are employing 40,547 workers throughout the U.S.
3. The food truck industry has a market value of $1.2 Billion
The food truck industry is booming, and its reach only appears to expand more in the coming years.
In 2022, the food truck industry has made around $1.2 billion in annual revenue from all around the U.S, which is 3-times higher than it used to be in 2014.
4. The average cost of a food truck business ranges between $50,000 to $60,000
On the low-end, it costs around $50,000 to $60,000 to start a food truck business in the United States.
The biggest expense is the food truck, followed by gathering the required permits to meet the legal requirements, which can be expensive and time-consuming at the same time.
The things you’ll need to start include a truck, kitchenware, kitchen appliances, labor costs, food costs, and a generator. (Food Truck Nation).
5. It takes more than 37 days to complete the procedure and collect the required permits
Depending on the state and the type of license, it takes more than 37 days to complete the requirements and gain all necessary permits to start your food truck business.
To operate, owners must complete 45 government-mandated permits and licenses, which costs around $28,000 or more.
6. The food truck business has a success rate of 40%
Latest restaurant industry statistics show that only 40% of the food truck businesses are still operating after launch.
Food truck businesses usually fail due to excessive costs of operation, poor planning, poor location, insufficient marketing, and poor customer service.
Besides, some unforeseen events can lead to failure, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
7. 20% of food truck businesses fail within the first 2-years
Opening a food truck business involves talent, dedication, hard work, and a streak of luck. Investopedia reported that 20% of the food truck businesses fail after two years of opening.
This percentage jumps to 45% within the first five years and 65% after ten years.
8. 43% of the food truck spending each month is made by 25 to 44-year-olds
According to the latest food truck industry statistics, adults aged between 25 to 44 account for 43% of the food truck spending each month, with an additional 20% coming from those below 25.
Thus, it is crucial to understand your target audience before crafting a successful food truck marketing plan.
9. The food truck industry makes over $2 billion per year
Food truck owners in the United States make around $24,000 and $153,000 per year. High-end food trucks can earn between $250,000 to $500,000 per year.
In 2022, the food truck industry is estimated to earn more than $ 2 billion in annual revenue.
10. Music festivals, business districts, and food street markets are the most profitable places to park a food truck
Whether you are just starting your business or in the industry for a while, you must know which spots are the most profitable.
Music festivals are highly lucrative for food truck owners because the audience usually has one dining option.
Similarly, business districts also don’t offer a variety of dining options but have lots of hungry employees with big pockets.
11. 90% of the food truck diners find the food truck food excellent
A study conducted by Mobile Cuisine on the food truck customer experience has revealed that more than 90% of the diners liked and enjoyed the food from food trucks and rated it as either excellent (45%) or good (48%).
More than 80% of the people interviewed use the words like different, unusual, and exciting. (Mobile Cuisine)
12. More than 80% of people prefer food trucks due to the unique and exciting experience
According to stats from Mobile Cuisine, 80% of the people say they choose to eat at a food truck because the dining experience is fun and unique, completely different from other restaurants and eateries.
The food and the special conversation safe zone around the truck with happy and cheerful diners is also one of the reasons behind loving food trucks. (Mobile Cuisine)
13. Burgers are the most profitable food truck item
If there’s any food item that is easy to produce and has a wide range of options, it’s a burger.
Food truck industry statistics reveal that burgers are one of the most profitable food truck items you could offer, thanks to their consistent popularity and relatively low cost.
14. Immigrants own 30% of the mobile restaurants
Food industry statistics show that immigrants own 30% of the food trucks or mobile restaurants in the U.S. Due to the low startup cost, food trucks offer great opportunities for immigrants to introduce their diverse cuisines and earn good money than other professions in the United States. (Off the Grid).
15. 30% of mobile food businesses are women-owned
Despite our notable impression of the heavily male-driven ranks in the food truck industry, more women own food trucks than you can imagine.
The national statistics on women-owned food trucks in 2022 show that 30% of food trucks are run by experienced women standing over a steaming pot or grill of deliciousness. (Off the Grid).
16. California has the most food truck businesses in America
Not every state in the U.S has a good food truck scene. The recent statistics from Food truck Nation show that California has the highest number of food truck businesses in America.
There are more than 883 food truck businesses in California, followed by Texas (744) and Florida (752). (ibis World).
17. The most expensive location for a food truck in Boston
The most expensive and difficult city to start a food truck business in Boston, Massachusetts, recording a total of $38,000.
It ranks lowest in terms of cost, the time required to get permits, and the effort it takes to maintain and continue daily operations, not to mention the restrictions it places on food trucks, which are the seventh most difficult to fulfill. (Food Truck Nation)
18. Denver is the best city to set up a food truck business
One of the best cities to start a food truck business is Denver. You only require 10 procedures to obtain your licenses and permits without any heavy regulations. Denver is the perfect place for inventive food trucks to thrive.
19. Small businesses own 80% of the food trucks in Chicago
In Chicago, 80% of food trucks are owned by small businesses. These tasty mobile restaurants offer various delicious gourmet options to choose from that cater to different ages, income levels, races, and preferences.
20. The food truck industry produces 1,000 full-time jobs in Washington, D.C.
The meals on wheels phenomenon have also made its way to the country’s capital, Washington, D.C. According to the latest food industry job statistics, Washington, D.C has more than 150 food trucks, with more popping up daily, and 369 food truck jobs are available.
21. The average hourly wage of a food truck worker is $12
Food trucks offer competitive wages to their staff to retain the best talent. The average hourly rate of food truck workers is $12 to $15.
The wages may go up incrementally depending on the qualification and experience of the worker.
22. A head chef at a food truck earns around $23.30 per hour
As of September 2022, the average salary of a head chef at a food truck is $23.30 per hour.
The annual salaries of food truck chefs can be as high as $39,000 and as low as $21,000, depending on their expertise, length of employment, and current situation.
23. 31% of entrepreneurs get into the food truck business for a concept test
A food truck might be a great business idea for many, but 31% of entrepreneurs only get into this business for a concept test.
Many entrepreneurs and commercial restaurants set up a food truck business to test new menus and products before adding them to their restaurant’s menu. (Off the Grid).
24. 30% of the food truck income comes from the event hire
Food trucks appearing at private events such as birthday parties, weddings, anniversary celebrations, and other similar events, where it could potentially be 100 to 200 guests, are becoming a trend in America.
These events are economical for the host and a great way of earning for the food truck owners, as 30% of their income comes from these events.
25. 47% of the millennials are returning customers
Middle-class millennials are the target audience of food trucks. Due to the increase in snacking and on-the-go consumption of food culture, food trucks are the popular choice among millennials.
43% of the monthly food truck earnings are attributed to millennials, and almost 47% of the millennials will return for more after their first food truck experience.
26. The food truck industry has an annual growth rate of 12.1%
The average growth rate of the food truck industry before the pandemic was 7.5%. The industry experienced a major dip in the growth rate in response to the pandemic and physical distancing measures.
From 2016 to 2021, the food truck industry showed an average growth rate of 12.1%, with a market size surpassing $1 billion.
(Market Research Report)
27. The food truck industry expects to reach $5.7 billion by 2028
The food truck industry has grown at an insane speed over the last few years. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), it is estimated that it will gain considerable shares in coming years to be worth roughly around $5.7 billion by 2022.
Shefali Jain is a Content Editor & Writer at National Planning Cycles.
After completing her graduation in hospitality, Shefali decided to follow her passion and started writing. Shefali has been writing for two years now and contributes to our website as a skilled editor and content writer with strong research skills. Writing product and service reviews, biographies, and book reviews are some of her key areas, among many others in which she specializes.