Making your decision to start your own business is important enough, but when you’re facing down trying to decide what equipment you need for your coffee truck business, it may be more daunting than you expected. There are many options for you out there as you set up your new mobile café, so make sure you have the following items!
Mobile Coffee Truck Equipment List
- Food Truck
- Commercial Espresso Machine
- Commercial Coffee Bean Grinder
- Commercial Coffee Brewer
- Water Filtration System and Sink
- Refrigeration System
- Coffee, Milk, and other Drink Supplies
- Point of Sale System
Whether you’re serving your drinks hot or cold, you need the following items. Read more to find out what you need to start your mobile coffee truck and why they’re important to have!
Without your food truck, you can’t serve anything, so this is your place to start. Consider where you’re going to be headed, what volume of customers you might be serving, and what you want out of your business before you consider making a purchase of a food truck.
When choosing your truck, make sure it has the proper electrical and water hookups, plugs, and anything you might need to set up your mobile coffee truck. Some trucks come with this option, while others require you to have some sort of portable power generator.
If you’re buying something secondhand, make sure you make those updates before you continue. You’re going to need enough space for all your supplies—make this purchase first before you look at the following equipment!
Commercial Espresso Machine
Your food truck is your way to get where you’re going, but the commercial espresso machine is what you’re going to need when you get there. Most of your menu items include some sort of espresso, so this machine will be running all day, every day, making it imperative that you purchase the best equipment you can. For your mobile coffee truck, you should consider both cost and function, along with the skills of your baristas and what kind of machine you’d like to use. You can use a super-automatic, which does all the work for your barista, or a semi-automatic, where your baristas will have to handle the coffee every step of the process.
An important factor in deciding on your espresso machine is your size and your volume. Find a machine that fits into your food truck, but also has enough volume production to produce multiple drinks at once.
Commercial Coffee Bean Grinder
You’re going to want your coffee to be the freshest it can be, so you will want to purchase whole beans and grind them before you use them in your food truck. While it doesn’t really matter whether you use a burr grinder or blade grinder, blade grinders are cheaper. Burr grinders have more of an even grind, but they are much more expensive.
The larger you go with your espresso machine and coffee brewer, the more volume you’ll need in your coffee bean grinder. Find that happy medium when searching for the best grinder. Consider finding a grinder that allows you to grind two types of beans so you can constantly be using regular and decaf beans.
Also, remember that you may need two bean grinders if you’re serving both drip coffee and espresso—you don’t want the flavors to mix.
Commercial Coffee Brewer
Besides your food truck, this is going to be your biggest selling point as a mobile coffee truck. This, combined with your espresso machine, is going to be the piece of equipment that is running the most, so it is essential that you get the most reliable piece of equipment and should be focused on the best taste and quality.
Water Filtration System and Sink
Good coffee starts with good water, so you’re going to need to provide the best before you even make your caffeinated beverages. Because you’re going to want to keep your area clean, you’re also going to want a sink for handwashing and washing utensils. You may need another location if you intend on handling and washing food, depending on the size of your truck.
A refrigeration system is key for both small independent coffee shops and mobile coffee trucks. Many of your drinks—especially those espresso-based drinks—will require milk, ice, dairy, or dairy substitutes, and you’ll need a place to put them.
If you’re carrying other drinks, like juices, you’ll also need a great refrigeration system. Providing the best for your customers means that this is a priority, plus it opens up your drink options.
While one refrigerating system is essential, consider having two—one near your espresso machine and the other to store your other, less essential items.
With your refrigeration system and your espresso drinks comes the need for a blender. Those blended drinks are all the rage, and they’re not going away any time soon, so you’ll need a blender on your rig to get the most bang for your buck.
Coffee, Milk, and other Drink Supplies
You can’t make your coffee without your supplies. You’ll need your coffee beans, milk, dairy substitutes, ice, cups, napkins, and any other items you’ll need to serve your coffee. Make sure you have the right cups for cold brew and hot coffee, along with straws, stir sticks, and sugar and cream!
Point of Sale System
Depending on where you’re stationed and how you’re selling your product, you need to pick the best point of sale system for you. Whether it’s a cash register or some sort of tablet, you’ll need to consider what kind of program you might need to run the system.
As you plan your mobile coffee truck, take these nine pieces of equipment as your main source of income in your business. While you can add different items as you go, these will be your key pieces—and will bring in the most money. When you start, if necessary, you can look at used equipment. While they may not be as reliable, they can get you started in your business. As you grow, you can also upgrade your equipment to the best ones you can find.
How profitable is a mobile coffee truck?
According to a study done by Food Truck Empire, over fifty percent of full-time food truck owners generate at least $150,000 in revenue per year. These food truck owners operated in California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Oregon, were in business for over two years, and only served out of a single location.
How much does it cost to start a mobile coffee truck?
With the cost of equipment, licenses, and your truck itself, a mobile coffee truck can cost between $30,000 and $90,000 to start.
What licenses and permits do I need to start a mobile coffee truck?
Licenses and permits vary from location to location, but at the very least you will need to register and license your food truck, obtain a business license, and obtain a food truck license. Many localities will require you to also have a food handler’s permit, a seller’s permit, and any code permits like fire and health.
Whether you’ve got your heart set on starting a coffee truck or a brick-and-mortar shop, check out our easy-to-use startup documents right here.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.