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How To Start Food Truck Business in Malaysia


1. Fundamental needs to start the business

As in any other business, working capital is the most fundamental aspect as it determines the size and capacity of the business. However, food truck business is unlike your normal brick-and-mortar restaurants or café set-up. 

The cost is cheaper and it’s quicker to establish. You only need to own a vehicle and identify the perfect location to mobilise your business. It is estimated an average of RM15,000-RM20,000 is required to start a small-scale food truck business. No more hassle in property, renovation or rental costs as compared to setting a restaurant on the shop lots for example.
Since the cost is not too high, one can start the business from own savings and/or borrowings from family members or friends. Alternatively, entrepreneurs can also access funding through banking loans or financing schemes offered by the Government. 

The average cost breakdown to start a food truck business is as shown in Table 1.

2. The Food Truck

There are many types of vehicles that can be converted into a food truck such as lorry, bus, van and some even transformed their wagons, cars, pick-up truck, and motorbikes to become a food truck.

  1. The Truck
    Identify the size, type, and capacity of the vehicle to suit your budget and type of business. Different kinds of vehicles bring different qualities and prices.

  2. Designing the Food truck
    Plan your truck design to accommodate your business requirement i.e. if there is a need for a freezer to be installed or the size of your gas burner. Ample space must be allocated for food preparation, cooking, servings and order/ payment counter.
    You also can choose the type of the truck body, either steel or fiber. It is highly recommended to use fiber body of the truck because it is more durable and easy to clean. The owner of the food truck must keep a close monitor during the refurbishment process of their truck to ensure it follows exactly the design proposed.

  3. Interior and Exterior Design
    The interior design depends on your budget. Always remember that safety and practicality take precedence over design. The graphics painted on the body of your food truck must contain elements to promote your products. You can also use a wrap, sticker, and even marker pen as long as it suits your budget and business looks more creative, funny and beautiful.

  4. Power Supply (Generator)
    It is advisable to use cooking gas while cooking instead of using a generator if you plan to utilise the generator for a longer time. A generator will normally be used to supply electricity for lamps, machines, freezer, coffee maker, deep frier, and oven.

  5. Approval from relevant authorities
    Getting approval from Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) and Pusat Pemeriksaan Kenderaan Berkomputer (PUSPAKOM) is also the important element for the food truckers to run their business. It may need 3-4 months to get approval from the authorities.

You must also obtain a license/permits from local authorities in the area that you want to conduct your business.

3. Menu

The type of food you offer is not just an attraction to the customer but it will also influence the interior design of your food truck and the equipment that you need to have to run your business. It is also advisable to not sell the same and exact products
like the other food-truckers nearby.

Customers normally will determine either the menus you offer are good or not based on several factors which are:
  1. Taste of the food
  2. Price
  3. Quantity
  4. Time taken to serve the food
  5. Publicity
  6. Uniqueness

4. Raw Material

There are two categories of raw material which are dry and fresh products. When it comes to business purposes, you need to be mindful of the cost of raw material as well as the validity period of the products especially the fresh ones. You need to ensure that your products are not only fresh but also in good condition by monitoring the expiry dates of the products.

Besides the raw material, other important elements are the utensils for your business such as fork and spoon, food container, straw, tissue and plastic bags. Keep all the products in a place with good ventilation to avoid exposure to pests.

5. Labour Force

An ideal food truck normally has 3 operators – for receiving orders and payments; preparing food and for packaging. As you are involved in the food industry, please make sure that you and your staff are knowledgeable in food safety preparation by attending training and get a proper vaccination (hepatitis and typhoid).

6. Trademark

The importance of trademarks are for the exclusive rights and legal evidence. Entrepreneurs may have exclusive rights to use the marks for trading and take legal action for infringement under the Trademark Law against other entrepreneurs who use their marks without consent.
The above is correct on 13th February 2018.

Source: StartMeUp - Business Toolkit for Startups

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