How to Pick a truck for a Food Truck

How to pick a truck for a Food Truck

I wanted to get some info out there so you folks can make a good decision on how to pick a truck or trailer for a food truck. Lets start off with some basic definations: Trailer vs Truck.


Towed behind you by another vehicle.


Think large panel van. The same ones that UPS drives around.

There are pro's and con's to both.



Small travel trailers range between 13-18 feet long. They range in weight from 1,800 lbs to 3,000 pounds. These are your Airstreams, Teardrops, Scamps and Casitas.

  • Small, which means better gas milage.

  • Light, you can tow these bad boys with a car.

  • Easier to set up.

  • Easier to heat/cool. 

  • In my opinion, these are great for things like coffee, cupcakes and pastery trucks.

  • Cost. You can get these things for cheap if you look. Decent shape Shasta can be found for 2k. 

  • Small, which means it limits your equipment. You can't stock these things to much, especially if you only have on axle. Last thing you want is your axle to break en route to a job...

  • Small, which means crampy if you and another person have to work in there. I can tell you from experience, if one of you ate a bad burrito, it's hell to the other person. 

Mid sized travel trailers are between 18-25 feet. They usually are above 3,000 pounds and go up to 6-7,000 pounds. You're going to find double axles on these and they usually have to get pulled with V-8.

  • More room, more equipment, larger menu.

  • More weight can be added.

  • In my opinion, these are great for taco, burger and sandwich trucks

  • Larger means lower gas milage when towing. 

  • Harder to manuever. 

Larger sized travel trailers are above 25 feet and can get upto 40 feet long. These things are made to live in. They can get over 10,000 pounds.

  • Room. Room. Aaaand More Room.

  • These things can be humongous!!!

  • Towing is going to be difficult on these things. 


These things have few different names. I'm going to rattle a few off, so when you're doing your research, you'll know your keywords: Bread Trucks, Bakery Trucks, Panel Vans, Step Vans, Value Vans, Route Vans, J Type Van, Delivery Vans.

Step Vans are going to be pretty common. You'll find these on Ebay and your local Craigslist.

Here's some goods and bads:

  • Super easy to get going. Jump into the cab and drive. This allows you to get break down and set up pretty easy.

  • Roomy! These things can stretch out and allow for alot of equipment. They can range from 13 feet to 20 feet. The larger panel van will allow for a fryers and grills. 

  • These things are made for weight. Strong axles, they can handle some equipment. 

  • Your engine. If it fails, your truck fails. Most of these used engines have been beat up from years of stop and go. 

  • Gas milage. These things can get heavy. 

  • Maintence. Another engine means more maintence.

  • Cost. Because you're buying space plus and engine, it's going to cost you. 

Tags: Trailer