A customized food truck from Al Quds Company, blue in color, with a design of houses overlooking the sea and pink flowers
17 Oct

Food Trucks VS. Food Trailers: What’s The Difference?

In the ever-evolving world of mobile food service, both food trucks and food trailers have carved out their places as popular choices for entrepreneurs looking to take their culinary ventures on the road. However, it’s essential to understand the differences between food trucks and food trailers to make an informed decision about which option best suits your business.

With so many questions, deciding between a food truck vs. a food trailer can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the Pros and Cons of a Food Truck vs. Food Trailer to help you decide which is right for you.

But before you can decide between a truck or a trailer, you first have to understand the difference between the two.

The customized food truck from Jerusalem Company has two catering windows and three openings in the roof

What Is A Food Truck?

A food truck is a huge, motorized vehicle that looks and feels like a Post Office or FedEx van. Similar to food trailer, they are equipped with fully operational kitchens, generators, sinks, counters, and other kitchen equipment, in addition to having an engine, which provides more mobility. Food trucks are relatively more compact, making them easier to navigate on city streets.


What Is A Food Trailer?

Food trailers, also known as Concession trailers, are units that are not mobile in the same way that food trucks are. Concession trailers are moved by being towed behind a vehicle with a towing capacity strong enough to support the weight of the food trailer. Concession trailers are perfect for events or locations where they will be parked for extended periods of time. They are relatively more spacious and more cost efficient than food trucks.

Food Truck vs. Food Trailer


1. Budget

Before you spend some cash on a purchase of a truck or a trailer, spend some time thinking about your budget and what your goals are for your business.
New food truck purchases typically cost between $50,000 up to $200,000 and come with a lead time to build. For used trucks you can expect to pay between $30,000 and $100,000, and will be able to use immediately after any maintenance.

By contrast, food trailers cost less upfront than a truck. The cost of a new concession trailer will be around $40,000 to $60,000 and if you're looking for an affordable option, you can find used concession trailers still in good condition anywhere from $25,000 to less than that.

A customized food truck from Al Quds Company, blue in color, with a design of houses overlooking the sea and pink flowers

2. Size

The main difference between food trucks and food trailers is their size.

Average food truck sizes vary greatly and range from 14 to 20 feet. Most trucks have an average width of 7 feet to accommodate staff and kitchen equipment, but the length of the truck can vary greatly. The truck you choose should be large enough to accommodate your kitchen, storage needs, and staff operational area.

Food trailers or concession trailers are the largest and most spacious. There is a variety of food trailer sizes, and the exact dimensions are dependent on the specific food trailer model and customization. The average food trailer sizes start at 7ft and stretch up to 26ft in length, width ranges from 5.2ft to 8ft, while the height is above 6.6ft.

plan 4

3. Storage Space

The size of your interior kitchen space can have an impact on what you can bring with you and your staff size.

Due to their size and mobility, food trucks may call for more dependence on countertop cooking equipment, space-saving storage solutions, and a staff of 1-3 cooks.

While food trailers are large enough for full-sized restaurant equipment, cleaning supplies, and full cooking staff.

Customers waiting for food in front of a street food truck

4. Vehicle Mobility

The way a mobile kitchen navigates can help determine which events and locations they best cater to.

Food trucks provide excellent mobility, allowing you to navigate different locations, attend festivals, and explore various customer bases.

While concession trailers are slightly less mobile compared to food trucks, they are still highly adaptable and can be moved to different locations as needed.

A food truck stops in the street with a sign in front of it containing the menu

5. Set-up and Operating

The vehicle's layout requires efficient equipment organization and well-planned workflows to optimize the service process.

Food trucks are designed for quick and easy set-up. Once parked, they can be operational within minutes, providing a seamless experience for both the owner and customers.
Food trailers require additional set-up time as they need to be detached from the towing vehicle and stabilized. However, their larger size allows for more storage space and the potential to accommodate a wider variety of cuisine.

A hand holding a fountain pen and writing on a white sheet of paper

6. Paperwork requirements

Another aspect to consider when deciding between a food truck vs. food trailer is the paperwork involved.
Food trucks require more paperwork to get started, with requirements like permits, insurance, tax documents, and a lot more.

If you’re looking for the quickest and easiest route to opening your mobile food business, a trailer might be a quicker option as it requires less paperwork.

A food truck is parked in the street, lit up in blue, with a sign in front of it with a menu

7. Visibility and Branding

Compelling marketing and branding helps attract your target customers.
With their eye-catching exteriors, food trucks are excellent for grabbing attention and showcasing your brand. The exterior of a food truck can be wrapped with vibrant graphics and branding elements, making them memorable and stand out in the crowd. Moreover, food trucks often come with fold-out service windows for customer convenience.
While food trailers don't offer the same mobility as food trucks, they can still be customized to enhance visibility and branding. By utilizing signs, lighting, and creative design, food trailers can attract customers and build a strong brand presence. Additionally, the larger surface area of a food trailer may present more opportunities for creative branding.

In Conclusion, deciding between a food truck and a food trailer ultimately depends on your specific business needs, goals, and budget. Food trucks offer mobility, quicker set-up, and excellent visibility, while food trailers provide more space and customization options. Analyse your target market, cuisine, and operational requirements to determine which option will best support your culinary business.

Ready to take your culinary business on the road? Contact us today and let us help you find the perfect food truck or food trailer to bring your delicious creations to your customers! Request a quote from us today to get going!

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