When you’re running a mobile restaurant, one of the biggest questions is about food truck parking. Where can you park your food truck where it’ll be safe, secure, and ready for service the next morning?
Here are four food truck parking options, with pros and cons of each, to help you choose the best parking spot for your food truck.
Where to park your food truck overnight
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing your food truck parking spot, and a lot will depend on your region, the weather, and what local laws and ordinances allow. But in general, here are some food truck parking options that you can scope out to leave your truck overnight.
Storage facilities & indoor parking
When it comes to keeping your food truck clean and secure, indoor parking is probably your best bet. Most storage facilities are gated and require a code to get in, so you can rest easy knowing that your truck is about as safe as it can be.
Storage facilities also often have lights, security cameras, and sometimes even staff on duty — all of which contribute to the security of your truck, and give you some options if something were to happen to it.
One potential downside to an indoor parking facility is cost. Reserving a parking space in one of these facilities might not be cheap, and you may be locked into a longer-term contract — something you may not want if you’re on the move and want some flexibility.
Another possible drawback is simply the size of your food truck. It may be difficult to find indoor parking facilities that are large enough to accommodate your truck.
RV parks & campsites
To help get around the size issue, another food truck parking option you can explore are RV parks and campsites. Since RV parks naturally cater to larger vehicles, it’s pretty likely they’ll be able to fit your food truck with no problem.
Depending on the RV park, you may also still be able to benefit from some kind of gate or restricted access, which can help keep your truck more secure. An RV park may also have water and power hookups that you can use, so if you have any last minute cleaning or prep that you want to do before closing up for the night, you’ll be able to take care of it.
Since RV parks and campsites are usually in use by people traveling or staying there, you may run into some issues getting a reservation. You’ll have to make sure you book your space far enough in advance, and if you don’t know your full schedule or want some flexibility in where you park for the night, an RV park might not be the best choice.
Privately owned parking lots or a private driveway
If having a guaranteed spot every night is important to you, going the private route may give you some peace of mind. Check on sites like Craigslist, NextDoor, or other neighborhood apps to ask if anyone would be willing to lend you their driveway or space on their property to park your truck. You may find someone willing to let you park for free, or you may be able to work out some kind of payment for their space.
In most bigger cities, there are tons of open-air private parking lots. A lot of them are open during the day, but if you’re able to reach out to the owner, you might be able to work out a deal where you can park your truck overnight.
A downside to the private route is that these spots are harder to find, and require a lot more work and outreach on your part. If no one is willing to give up space, or if you don’t get responses from private people, you’ll be on the hunt again for your next food truck parking space.
If you have the space, parking your food truck at your own home may be the easiest and most hassle-free option. You’ll always know exactly where you’re going to park without worrying if there’s room or if someone else took the spot.
It’ll also make it easy for you to store valuables in your home overnight (more on that in a second) or reload anything you need in the morning. And with the truck right outside your home, you can keep an eye and ear out for anyone messing with it.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the space, or if you live with other people who also need to park, or have a Home Owners Association (HOA), parking your food truck at home might not be a great choice. You’ll have to scope out the room you have and decide if you can park your truck there without too much of a hassle for the people you live with and your neighbors. The idea here is to remove obstacles, not add new ones!
Tips for safely parking your food truck overnight
Even after you’ve chosen the best food truck parking spot, there are still a few things you can do to keep your truck safe and secure overnight.
Make sure you have the right paperwork
Do you have the right insurance? Does the food truck parking spot you’ve chosen have its own insurance that you need to use? Read the fine print on all your paperwork to make sure you understand it and are meeting any obligations you have.
Make sure all your licenses, permits, and registration on your rig are all up to date. This way if you do get stopped or asked any questions, you have all your ducks in a row and can hopefully avoid getting towed.
Clean your truck
As a restaurant owner you already know how important a clean kitchen is, and your food truck is no exception. By doing a thorough deep clean of the truck before you park it overnight, you’ll keep it safe from mice, mold, and any unpleasant smells that might attract other animals. Plus, coming back to a clean and prepped truck the next morning will make it a lot easier for you to hit the road and start service faster.
Protect the outside of your truck
Another way to keep your truck safe is to prep the outside just as much as the inside. Cover your windows to keep them clean, prevent any cracks or chips, and to prevent any nosy bystanders from seeing inside. Make sure your doors and windows are all locked, and secure anything not permanently attached to the outside.
If you have awnings, banners, or other signs that usually stay outside of your food truck, either pack them up so you can lock them inside the truck, or take them with you and bring them back in the morning. This will help protect your truck from getting damaged in any wind or weather, and also will prevent anyone from running off with them.
Remove your valuables
Before you lock up and leave for the night, make sure you remove anything valuable that might tempt people to break in. Things like generators, pricey restaurant equipment, and any electronics, like the device you run your POS on, shouldn’t stay on the truck unsupervised, so take them with you and return them in the morning.
Stay nimble with the Table Needs POS mobile app for food trucks
Staying light and nimble is key to food truck success. More equipment, more headaches, you know? The Table Needs POS mobile app is a great option to help limit the amount of valuables you have on the truck. Even better, the app enables you to run your entire food truck right from your phone, removing the need for bulky hardware to haul off your truck each night.
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