Let’s take three things as givens about food trucks. They’re still wildly popular with consumers; many prospective truck operators don’t have the money or credit rating they need to get into the game; and some food truck owners are looking for ways to derive more income from their truck than they currently do. No wonder website www.foodtruckrental.com, seems like it could catch on.
The site, self-described as a platform to connect truck owners with truck renters, is nothing fancy. It works this way. First, truck owners post a profile of the fully equipped and permitted truck they have for rent; then interested truck renters search profiles by zip code or description. From there, it’s up to the owner and potential renter to hammer out the details.
The service is free to potential renters. Foodtruckrental.com makes money by charging truck owners to post their vehicle’s information on the site. It’s not much: $9.95 per month or $99 per year, cancelable at any time.
This could be an idea whose time has come. Food trucks are already acknowledged as the most affordable way to break into the restaurant business. We’re sure plenty of people who have been dreaming the food truck dream will be frequent visitors to the foodtruckrentl.com site.
On Fox's "MasterChef," host Gordon Ramsay drove one of three rented food trucks on-air. (Photo: Fox).
There might also be an untapped market to be found among short-term renters who need access to a food truck for a just a few special events each year. Anyone who’s been the volunteer food coordinator for a youth soccer tournament, charity 5k run, local art festival or similar one-shot outdoor event will be eager to explore the food truck rental opportunities listed on this site.
Owners of brick and mortar restaurants are potential renters, too. Some current operators might rent a truck from time to time to cherry-pick lucrative events. Others could experiment with whether having a food truck is a good way to boost revenue and extend their restaurant’s brand before going all in by purchasing one. A few might consider renting a truck to test-market a new restaurant idea, using it as an inexpensive method to establish proof of concept.
Why would current food truck owners rent out their valuable truck to strangers? The site answers that question this way: “To make money. This is business. Truck rentals range from $100/day to $1000/day. So, if you rent your truck out for just one day all year, you can cover your minimal listing cost here and make money. If you rent for longer, it’s a no-brainer.”
The actual mechanics of the rental are handled between the parties involved. For $199, Foodtruckrental.com can provide a sample rental agreement and checklist that will guide renters and owners through the process.
Plenty of food trucks have been rented to date, both short- and long-term. High-profile renters have included ESPN (to promote World Cup soccer viewing); the Food Network (all eight trucks used on the “Great Food Truck Race” show were rentals); Microsoft (it rented four trucks to publicize its Windows-based mobile phones); Frito Lay (to promote Doritos); and Fox television (three trucks rented for an episode of “MasterChef,” one of them “driven on-air by Gordon Ramsay” for what that’s worth).
We don’t know if foodtruckrental.com will work as advertised. But we’re hoping it does, because we can see how it could open doors to new business opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded restaurant operators and for those who aspire to become one.