Starting a Concession Trailer Business

Job Duties

When starting a concession trailer business your job duties will include preparing and serving foods from your mobile concession trailer. You will also be responsible for complying with health codes to ensure your foods are safe for the public to eat. A great advantage of starting a concession trailer business over a conventional restaurant is that you can move around to different locations. Finding a great location is one of the most important factors for a food business so being able to move to different locations can prove to have it’s advantages.
starting a concession trailer business

Where will you work?

Like any food business a good location can make or break your business. In the beginning you will be driving to different locations to see which places are the best fit. Ideal stopping points can include construction sites, factories, parks, beaches, sporting events, fairs and parades. Many contractors go to home improvement stores or lumber yards during their lunch break so you can test these locations as well. You want to stop in places where a large number of people gather. It is a good idea to develop a set schedule this way repeat customers will know you will be at a certain location at a certain time. For example you know that at a nearby construction site the workers take their lunch break at 12:30 so you make sure to be there by then. Local laws my restrict where you are able to go so be sure to check this before starting a concession trailer business.

Basic Costs

When starting a concession trailer business your concession trailer will be your most expensive cost, however you do not have to buy this vehicle brand new. Other options such as renting, leasing or buying used can be more cost effective when you are just starting out. A used catering truck can be purchased for as little at 10,000. Other expenses include food supplies, utensils, business license, insurance and gas. You will also need to have a place where you can park your concession trailer at night.


  • Deciding on what foods to serve– You should pick out a menu that you feel comfortable making in large quantities. Food items that are quick and not difficult to prepare such as hot dogs, sandwiches and other finger foods are ideal. Find out what other mobile catering trucks are serving. Keep track of what customers like and what they are buying. You can decide to offer a few unique food items. Perhaps you can try a non-meat option for vegetarians or some healthy selections. You can even decide to devote your whole menu to only healthy selections. Just be sure to keep your potential clients in mind when developing your menu. What food items would they be interested in?
  • Find a business to contract you– You can decide to find a business that will contract you to stay in their parking lot. This can be a mutually beneficial relationship because the businesses’ workers or customers will have a place to eat and you get constant customers.
  • Find out what licenses or permits you need– When starting a concession trailer business you must get the necessary license and permits. You can find out what small business license and permits you need to run your business by calling your local and state government offices in the area of your business.
  • Keep your concession trailer clean– Be sure that your catering truck looks clean and hygienic. Customers will be hesitant to buy your food if they feel your work place is not clean or if you are not complying with health codes. Clean your concession vehicle at the end of each day.

Not sure about starting a concession trailer business? See a list of small business ideas

Do you have a business story or experience you would like to share?

Share with us your story on starting a concession trailer business

One thought on “Starting a Concession Trailer Business”

  1. You know one thing you did not talk about is where to get items needed for the trailer. With us at first we were able to get most things at the clubs (Sams & Costco). When we started setting up at Carnivals and Fairs one hurdle we face was meeting the needs required for those locations. Cotton Candy was just one example. We first bought a cheap machine to make the cotton candy and found out it took up too much room and was too messy. A place online we were buying the Floss from also told me about a pre-made one in these foil bags that had a shelf life for 6 months. Here is where we got them : It saved us the mess and best of all we could meet the needed demand better.
    Just some of my thoughts. Getting started is not as easy as everyone thinks so good luck setting up.

Comments are closed.