Here’s how much it costs to start a food truck in South Africa, according to these experts


Muammer Kasu’s Rack ‘n Grill food truck. (Image: Rack ‘n Grill)

  • Starting a food truck business may be less expensive than a brick and mortar establishment, but it still takes a lot of work.
  • From the localization license to the insurance of your business, you have to fill out a series of documents.
  • A key part of any food truck business, which is often overlooked, is marketing and advertising.
  • Here’s what you need to know about starting a food truck.
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Starting a food truck business in South Africa might not be an easy task, but it’s still cheaper and easier to start than a traditional brick and mortar restaurant.

While the food truck phenomenon is more deeply entrenched in the street culture of many other countries, the trend in South Africa is accelerating. Appearing in city centers, food trucks are also becoming an even more important part of major festivals, events and other private functions.

Here’s what it takes to get your mobile food truck business on the road.


Like most commercial ventures, you will need to do extensive research and assess whether what you want to offer matches your market and intended locations, the leader of the Cape Town Food Truck Association, Rob Munro, told Business Insider South Africa.

“Finding a location and finding a product is the biggest challenge,” he said.

“You have to study your market well; make sure the product you have developed is something people will buy. I’m not saying you can’t convert people by eating really good food, but sometimes most of those trucking folks don’t make those breakthroughs, ”Munro said.

One of the success stories is that of Muammer Kasu, owner of a food truck based in Cape Town. Grilling and broiling.

Keeping a menu down to the smallest detail first and foremost is crucial and that’s essentially what determines the next step – what kind of truck you need – Kasu said.

“First of all, you’re going to need to know what type of menu you want to make. This will determine the size of food truck you will need, the type of equipment you will need and the number of staff you will need. . going to need to train, ”Kasu said.


Get your truck

There are several options available when it comes to getting a truck, including renting, building from scratch, or buying the truck used or new.

Munro, however, advises going with a second-hand food truck, since it’s more likely to already have most or all of the kitchen equipment you might need. A standard second-hand food truck can cost anywhere from R25,000 to R100,000, he said. The older it is, the cheaper it will be.

If you’re planning to run your food trucking business first, hiring one, which can cost around R5,000 per month, is a more cautious approach, he said.

For a brand new one, you might need around R 120,000 for an average truck that isn’t equipped and closer to R 600,000 for a bigger one. You will probably still need to equip them with cold rooms, stoves and other equipment; and if you need more specialized accessories such as shawarma making equipment, you might need around 250,000 rand to outfit your mobile kitchen.

Legal documents and licenses

Once you’ve registered your business and it’s up and running, you’ll need a business license and certificate of acceptability which can both be obtained from your nearest municipal office.

Any company which manufactures, stores, distributes, prepares, transports or sells foodstuffs intended for public consumption must hold a certificate of acceptability.

Likewise, any transaction that includes the sale or provision of meals must have a business license.

The municipal office will send you an environmental health inspector to make sure you are following required food safety practices. If adopted, it will grant you an acceptability license.

Food truck owners also need permission in the form of location permits from municipal governments to allow them to trade in public spaces.

“I just can’t swing at the beach or the side of the road and start selling my product, you need a locate permit, and every town has it for different areas,” Kasu said.

If you are located on private property, you also need the owner’s permission to trade there.

Insure your business

You generally need two types of insurance coverage, normal full commercial insurance and liability insurance.

Business insurance covers business contents including the truck itself and equipment for damage caused by hail, national disasters and theft, among others.

Liability insurance is, for example, if your customers get food poisoning from one of your meals, so you can cover any medical costs if they arise.

Spread the word and stay connected

While one of the most important marketing benefits of food trucks is that they go to market virtually if properly branded, many food truck owners make the mistake of neglecting the marketing and interaction step in line of business, but visibility and communication are paramount, Munro said.

“Online presence these days is vital; it’s the most important part,” Munro said.

“Make sure you cover your basics on how to market yourself and how to respond to customers [on social media] and get customers, ”he said.

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