Weighing the options for a food truck vs. food trailer can be daunting. There are so many factors to consider that have a direct correlation to your business success. Everything from vehicle maneuverability and travel distance to event types and platform functionality can impact the decision to build a trailer versus a truck. Check out this article for tips on knowing When a Food Trailer is the Best Option.
Related: Are you still considering the differences in food trucks compared to food trailers? Check out this article on Factors to Consider When Decided on a Food Truck and Food Trailer.
Food trailers can be built to accommodate a wider range of heights and sizes, compared to the standard step van food truck platform. As an example, experienced builders like APEX Specialty Vehicles, have the engineering and design team in-house to work with a customer’s vision and bring it to life in a vehicle that can function properly within required safety and health code guidelines.
A consideration with a trailer is the need for a towing vehicle. Unlike a truck that is all-in-one, a trailer will need a suitable truck to tow it from location to location. The truck needs to have the towing capacity for the trailer, so that will be an element you need to discuss with your builder based on the completed trailers weight. Another consideration is if you plan to leave your food trailer at a certain location for an extended period of time, a trailer is the best option for you.
Let’s look at an example of a project that APEX completed for a BBQ company, Big D’s BBQ. The custom-built trailer parks at a popular new attraction in Branson, Missouri for several months during the peak season. The trailer option was the best solution for this particular customer because it serves as a familiar storefront presence within the area, but reduces the large start-up costs and daily operational expenses that a brick and mortar carry. Big D’s has the open air layout in the rear of the trailer to allow the dual smokers to ventilate as needed. The portability of the trailer is a benefit for the off-season months so the owners are able to bring the trailer to special events around Branson to expand brand awareness and generate additional revenue.
Understanding the logistics of a truck and trailer is key. Here are some considerations when evaluating both:
- Height: In a truck the serving window is naturally higher in comparison to a trailer. If you are worried the window may be too high for your customers, or it will cause issues with what you are trying to do, a trailer would be a more customizable option.
- Length: The standard food truck step van is restricted to the length of the manufactured vehicle. For example, most food trucks are 18 to 22ft long. With a trailer, the length can expand beyond the truck restrictions.
As an example, APEX Specialty Vehicles custom-built a 42-ft BBQ trailer that is used to travel around the competition circuit. The need for the largest, and frankly most bad-ass BBQ trailer was a necessity for Dale Lucas’ Destination BBQ. APEX was one of the only qualified custom builders across the country that was able to bring this vision to life in such a monstrous way! View the case study: https://apexspecialtyvehicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/APEX_CaseStudy_Destination-BBQ.pdf
- CDL Requirements: Be cautious when you are deciding on a trailer because the weight of the truck combined with the trailer may exceed the maximum weight requirements before you need a CDL to operate the truck and trailer. Trucks are easier to keep under the maximum weight, which will ensure you will not need to get your CDL certification for your mobile business.
- Warranty: Not all builder warranty policies are created equal. APEX backs our fabrication with an unmatched 5-year warranty. Our standard is to support and facility the repair process for any warranty/craftsmanship issue, no matter where in the country the trailer is located.
- Qualified Builder: APEX Specialty Vehicles builds trailers from the ground up, but that’s not the case for most trailer builders. APEX builds this way because often trailers have a higher failure rate due to the large amount of wear-and-tear that was happening over the years. The trailers we build here at APEX are made to be able to withstand the weight of a kitchen, or whatever you need for your business. It is crucial if you are going to have a trailer you ensure there is proper weight distribution or you could run into big problems in the future.
Many factors can contribute to your decision between a food truck and food trailer. If you have any specific questions on When a Food Trailer is the Best Option, or would like to walk through the process of a high-end builder, feel free to reach out to APEX. You can either complete a quoter form and we’ll give you a call, or call us direct at 800-259-4804.