Food trailers are restaurant on wheels and they are a fresh and cool business option because they permit you to keep the costs low, adapt to many concepts and be flexible. A food trailer’s parking space is almost as important or even more important as a restaurant’s location.
The place that you decide to park your food trailer can immensely affect the success of your business. You could be moving your food trailer to various events or you could have a fixed spot where your trailer is always set, in both cases your parking space is important and there are many factors you want to consider before deciding on the place you are going to park.
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Why is parking location so important for food trailer businesses?
Parking location is fundamental in food trailer businesses since it is your most important tool to get clients to your restaurant. Different food trailer businesses are directed to different target groups.
Let’s see an example: if you run a coffee trailer business and your main menu items are coffee, croissants and cupcakes a parking spot downtown next to big company offices would be an excellent location for you. Employees could get their breakfast on the go before going to work, or have a little coffee break at the entrance of the building between meetings. You get loyal repeated clients every day of the year and you can take vacation during august since most employees choose to take their days off this month.
On the other hand, if you are running a pizza trailer you could park outside of an open air cinema. People can hang around your trailer to grab a beer before entering the cinema or get a delicious pizza to enjoy while watching the movie.
Factors that affect your food trailer parking place
Spend some extra time to collect information about your target audience, what’s their age, where they hang out and what time they want to eat. This data will be extremely helpful by the time you have to choose the parking location for your food trailer. Apart from that there are more factors worth considering:
How many people pass daily from your spot? You could probably find an amazing parking location in a spectacular lake 20 kilometers out of the city center, the views might be breathtaking but do people even go there?
Choose a location that has the right amount of traffic during your business working hours. A crowded street full of bars is not a good location for a coffee trailer. Even though it can get very busy during the night it might be empty at daytime.
Central parking locations give your brand better visibility and bring you many clients. If people pass right by your trailer every day they go to work or they leave their kids to school it is more likely to shop from you.
Choose the right neighborhood or district for your price point. If you are selling a more exclusive product and you have higher prices choose a spot where people who have the financial ability to buy from you hang out.
Imagine that you have a gourmet bao ban restaurant, you wouldn’t want to set your trailer outside of a football stadium since the spectators of the game are not likely to pay more than 10 dollars for their meal and they probably prefer a traditional hot dog.
Provide a useful service
Try to think at which moment somebody is craving your product. People buy food when they are hungry, your strongest advantage is the possibility to set your food trailer in places where typical restaurants cannot build their installations.
Think about all those places that have a good amount of visitors but don’t have the infrastructure around them for restaurants, bars, cafeterias or supermarkets. Choose places like beaches, big parks or stadiums that casually host big concerts and offer to your customers something that they really need and they wouldn’t find elsewhere!
All sustainable business models have the same principle: they value their clients and that’s why they come back. If you are offering a great service customers will choose you to get their meal every week or even every day.
Loyal customers bring real value to your business since it is proven that they are the source of the biggest part of a company’s revenue. Furthermore, especially for small brands they are your greatest brand ambassador, they will recommend you, talk about your services to their colleagues or invite their friends, bringing you more new clients.
In order to get repeated clients choose a parking location strategically! Think where your target audience works, where they exercise or where they do their groceries daily and be part of their routine.
Being able to choose any parking location you like is a huge advantage for your business. Choose a zone, a neighbourhood or district where you stand out for being the only one that provides this service. That gives you more chances to be noticed and being selected from your potential clients.
Avoiding competition can be a little bit more complicated in food truck festivals or street food events. In these cases you can still pick a privileged parking spot making sure that the restaurants around you don’t sell exactly the same things as you do. For example, if you are selling donuts make sure you are next to a savoury food trailer or even a cocktail or beer food trailer. Since you are offering completely different products, you are covering different needs and you are directed to different client target groups.
Convenient spot for your clients
When owning a food trailer business you should not only focus on the food you are selling, you also have to keep in mind the whole experience your clients have when purchasing something from your place. Where are they going to sit to eat, is there enough space, are there toilets nearby?
If you are parked in the city center or outside of a big mall things are less complicated because your clients can easily find a bathroom or a place to sit and eat, whereas if you are in a busy street they will mostly eat it on the go.
However, if you are parked in a big park or an event space make sure that the place you choose is convenient for your customers. It would be a great idea to choose a spot with tables, chairs or benches where they can sit, be close to big trees that can offer shade and have easy access to restrooms or a food trailer restroom. Your clients will really appreciate the fact that they can comfortably enjoy their meal, they will stick around for longer and that increases the chances of them ordering again from you.
When starting your food trailer business you have to choose if you are going to set your trailer in the same location every day or you will carry it with you to different locations like festivals, food truck events etc.
If you are not participating in big events and you mostly want to set it around the city it is best to choose a fixed parking spot and keep it long term. If you are switching locations every now and then people who live or work in that district never get to really know your business and once they get familiar with it you are gone. By casually switching locations you might try your chances with different audiences but you are missing out on the opportunity to have loyal clients, that as we mentioned before, bring the biggest part of your revenue.
Before taking the streets with your brand new food trailer business always make sure you have all the necessary permits or licenses that help you to legally park and function. Since different countries or even cities have different legislation regarding parking we recommend you to always consult a professional in legal issues.
Some streets may be off limits or they might have time or day restrictions. There are also parks and beaches where any commercial activity is forbidden. Make sure that you are playing by the book and also respect the environment around you by not occupying too much space and also by keeping it clean.
Best places to park your food trailer
Now that you are aware of all the factors you have to consider before choosing your food trailer parking location let’s take a look at some of the best parking spot ideas.
Events and Festivals
Nowadays we cannot think of a great event without food trucks and food trailers. Street food is a big part of festival culture and it is strongly related to the event experience. Music festivals, vintage bazaars, concerts, weddings, birthdays and big castings; food trailers can be everywhere and people love them.
Food trailers thrive in central parking locations next to big office buildings. Employees need full meals, snacks and coffees during their long working hours. Food trailers are the perfect solution for their lunch and coffee breaks especially if they are parked right next to the entrance of the offices.
By parking your food trailer in a shopping center you are not only attracting the shoppers that want to grab a coffee, a croissant or a smoothie, but you are also there to serve a tasty meal to the employees when they go out to have their lunch break.
Is there a better place to park your food trailer than a Farmers Market, where people go to shop fresh fruit and vegetables and local products and they can enjoy on the go your delicious meals. Furthermore, farmers markets usually have seats and public restrooms so that your clients can relax and enjoy their food.
Students often spend their whole day at the campus attending classes and studying in the library. That makes the college campus a great location for food trailers that offer quick and affordable meals. The campus is also a place where you will not have much competition since the only other food alternative will be the college restaurant.
Hot dogs and soccer games are a classic but nowadays you can try amazing cuisines from street food to gourmet in sports events. In most cases food trailers are the only restaurant option for big sports events especially if they take place out of town where there are no restaurants and cafeterias nearby.
Bars and Nightclubs
Big nightclubs and famous bars are a fantastic location for food trailers that offer quick and affordable hangover food like pizzas, fries, hot dogs and chicken wings. You will always have plenty of clients especially if you work during the whole night when every other fast food restaurant is closed.
Gas Stations, Street Parkings and Truck Parkings
There are a few places outside the city that have a constant workflow and a lot of customers and some of those are gas stations and parkings. Travelers or professional drivers usually make a stop to rest from driving, fill their gasoline deposit and have some food. Clients will always come to your trailer and there is no need to have a marketing strategy or promote it.
Touristic Centers and Amusement Parks
Tourists are always seeking a quick and delicious meal to grab and eat on the go while discovering the city and its sights. The same thing applies to amusement parks, people are there only for a limited time that’s why they don’t want to spend hours ordering and eating at a restaurant and they prefer a food trailer option.
Marinas and lakefronts
Marinas and lakefront are a complicated location for restaurants since it is not easy to build there and the rents are quite high. However, food trailers are in most cases allowed to park there and it is a place where they can get many clients who are in the mood to buy food, coffee, beer or cocktails and sit by the waterfront to enjoy the sunset.
Open Air Cinemas
Food trailers and trucks triumph in open air cinemas since all of us love to snack on some fries or a slice of pizza while watching our favourite movie. Keep in mind that in cinemas you have less working hours since you open before, after and during the film but you need a very quick and effective service to be able to serve a lot of people at the same time.
Where are you parking your food trailer?
Now that you have all the information and plenty of ideas it is time to decide where to park your food trailer. The number one thing you have to keep in mind is your target group and your ideal customer. Choose the right parking location in order to be close to the clients you want to attract to your business, set your bright food trailer to their zone or neighbourhood and be sure that they will notice you and come to you!