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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Coffee Food Truck?

11 Minutes Read

Curious About Starting a Mobile Coffee Venture? Uncover the True Costs to Start a Coffee Food Truck Business



Can a coffee truck truly match the quality and freshness of a traditional café? With US consumers prioritizing convenience, coffee trucks have surged in demand. According to NAMA, 82% of convenience services operators sell coffee, with 36% offering it in most or all micro markets.

Half of these machines are single-cup brewers. Can mobile coffee trucks provide even greater convenience? In this article, explore the costs of starting a coffee truck, offering insights for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on this trend.

What are the key factors for success when starting a coffee food truck business?

What Are the Initial Costs for Starting a Coffee Truck?

How Much Does it Cost for a Coffee Truck Itself?

  • Used Coffee Trucks: These cost between $20,000 and $50,000. They are a cost-effective option but may require more maintenance. A used truck is a good starting point for aspiring coffee business owners looking to keep initial expenses low while entering the mobile coffee business.
  • New Coffee Trucks: Prices can range from $50,000 to $100,000, offering more reliability and customization options. Investing in a new truck can be beneficial for those looking to start a coffee shop business with fewer maintenance concerns and the ability to tailor the truck to specific needs.

Further reading: How To Start A Coffee Truck Business

What Are the Costs of Outfitting a Mobile Coffee Truck?

  • Espresso Machine: $5,000 to $20,000. A high-quality espresso machine is essential for delivering the best coffee and satisfying customers.
  • Grinders: $500 to $2,000 each. Reliable grinders are integral for consistent coffee quality, which is key for a successful coffee shop business plan.
  • Brewing Equipment: $1,000 to $5,000. This includes everything from drip coffee makers to cold brew systems, essential for a diverse menu that attracts a wide customer base.
  • Refrigeration Units: $1,000 to $3,000. Necessary for storing milk, syrups, and other perishables, ensuring your mobile coffee business runs smoothly.
  • Generators: $2,000 to $10,000. A dependable power source is critical for operating your coffee truck at any location, from special events to regular spots.

What Permits and Licenses Are Needed for a Mobile Coffee Business?

What Are the Permit Costs to Start a Mobile Coffee Food Truck?

  • Health Department Permit: $200 to $1,000 annually. This is vital for ensuring your coffee truck meets all local health regulations.
  • Business License: $50 to $500 annually. A necessary requirement for all coffee truck or coffee trailer operations.
  • Parking Permits: $100 to $1,000 depending on location. These permits allow you to park your coffee truck in designated areas, which is vital for accessing high-traffic spots.
  • Food Handler’s Permit: $100 to $500 annually. Ensures that you and your staff are trained in safe food handling practices, which is essential for maintaining a high standard of service in your mobile coffee business.

Further reading: 5 Licenses and Permits Food Trucks Need

What Are the Ongoing Operational Costs in Starting a Coffee Food Truck Business?

What Are the Costs of Supplies and Inventory?

  • Coffee Beans: $10 to $20 per pound. Quality beans are indispensable for your coffee truck or trailer to serve the best coffee and attract repeat customers.
  • Milk and Cream: $3 to $5 per gallon. Essential for lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based drinks, ensuring you cater to various customer preferences.
  • Syrups and Flavorings: $5 to $10 per bottle. These add variety and can help you stand out in the mobile coffee business.
  • Cups, Lids, and Sleeves: $50 to $100 per case. Bulk purchasing helps in managing costs and ensures you’re always ready to serve your customers.

What Are the Marketing and Advertising Costs?

  • Social Media Advertising: $100 to $500 monthly. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great for reaching local customers and promoting your coffee truck business.
  • Flyers and Business Cards: $50 to $200. Distributing these at local events or businesses can boost your visibility and attract new customers to your coffee food truck.
  • Website and Online Presence: $500 to $5,000 initially, with ongoing maintenance costs. A professional coffee business website is fundamental. It should provide information about your location, menu, and hours. It’s a significant part of planning your coffee business and helps in getting your mobile coffee operation noticed online.

What Are the Average Costs of Barista Salary and Training for a Mobile Coffee Truck?

What Is the Average Barista Salary for a Mobile Coffee Truck?

  • Hourly Wage: $12 to $20, depending on experience and location.
  • Monthly Salary: $2,000 to $3,500, including tips.
  • Annual Cost: $24,000 to $42,000 for full-time employment.

What Are the Costs and Strategies for Barista Training?

  • Basic Training: $100 to $500 per course, covering brewing techniques and customer service.
  • Advanced Training: $500 to $2,000 per course, including latte art and management skills.
  • In-House Training: Conduct ongoing sessions led by experienced baristas or managers to save costs and tailor training to specific needs.

How Do Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Taxes Affect the Cost to Start a Coffee Truck Business?

What Are the Costs Associated with Accounting and Bookkeeping to Start Your Mobile Coffee Business?

  • Accounting Software: $20 to $50 per month. Tools like QuickBooks or Xero are beneficial for tracking expenses, sales, and managing your finances efficiently. These tools are invaluable for coffee truck owners and aspiring coffee shop owners who want to start a coffee business and keep accurate financial records.
  • Professional Accountant: $100 to $300 per month or $1,000 to $3,000 annually. An accountant can handle complex financial tasks, ensure compliance with tax regulations, and provide valuable financial advice. This is especially important for those looking to open a coffee truck or expand their existing coffee operations.

What Taxes Are Applicable to Open a Coffee Truck Business?

  • Sales Tax: Varies by state, 5% to 10% of sales. You must collect this from customers and remit it to the state. Knowing the sales tax rates is essential for anyone who wants to start a mobile coffee truck or open a coffee shop.
  • Income Tax: Based on your business structure and profits. Sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations each have different tax rates and filing requirements. It’s important for aspiring coffee business owners worldwide to understand these differences when setting up a coffee business.
  • Self-Employment Tax: 15.3% if you are self-employed. This covers Social Security and Medicare taxes and is essential for anyone running their own business. Coffee truck owners and those starting a coffee food truck need to account for this in their coffee shop business plan template.

What Do Successful Coffee Shop Owners Know?

Understanding the journey of many successful coffee shop owners can provide invaluable insights and motivate you to continue what you've started. Knowledge of many successful coffee ventures over the past 11 years has helped thousands of aspiring coffee entrepreneurs launch their businesses.

How Do You Start Your Coffee Shop on a Budget?

Starting your coffee shop on a budget is achievable with the right approach. The traditional coffee shop model offers a solid foundation, but understanding the costs involved is essential. So, what does it cost to open a coffee shop? Expenses vary, from retail coffee locations to mobile coffee business startups.

Why Choose a Coffee Truck?

Coffee trucks are on the rise, providing a unique way to serve coffee on the go. A mobile coffee business startup may also need a commercial kitchen. The complete coffee shop startups kit includes everything you need to know.

Are You Ready to Open Your Coffee House?

Running a coffee shop is more than just serving coffee; it’s about managing costs, like a coffee truck budget. Typical coffee shop operations also include offering food, so you need to pay attention to kitchen requirements.

Where to Find Information on How to Start?

Coffee shop startups are dedicated to providing information and tools. This dedication has helped thousands of aspiring coffee business owners to increase their chances of success. Start your journey with the real-world coffee knowledge necessary for thriving in the coffee industry.

When is the Best Time to Start and Keep Your Coffee Mobile Truck Running?

Timing is key, especially considering the preferences of many coffee lovers. Coffee shop owners can help you pinpoint the optimal time to get your coffee on the move. They provide invaluable insights, ensuring you launch your business started the right way. Trusted owners to help you increase your chances of success and know where to start in the competitive market.

Key Takeaways

  • Initial Investment: $50,000 to $100,000, similar to coffee shop owners to help gauge costs.
  • Truck Purchase: $20,000 to $50,000 for specific coffee and also food needs.
  • Equipment: $10,000 to $20,000, depends on how many items.
  • Permits: $2,000 to $5,000, varies by days of the week.
  • Operating Costs: $1,000 to $2,000 per month for a thriving coffee business.

How can Taxfyle help?

Finding an accountant to manage your bookkeeping and file taxes is a big decision. Luckily, you don't have to handle the search on your own.

At Taxfyle, we connect small businesses with licensed, experienced CPAs or EAs in the US. We handle the hard part of finding the right tax professional by matching you with a Pro who has the right experience to meet your unique needs and will manage your bookkeeping and file taxes for you.

Legal Disclaimer

Tickmark, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax or accounting advice or recommendations. All information prepared on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on for legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal, tax or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The content on this website is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Leave your books to professionals. Click to connect with a Pro.Leave your books to professionals. Click to connect with a Pro.Leave your books to professionals. Click to connect with a Pro.
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June 12, 2024


Antonio Del Cueto, CPA

Antonio Del Cueto, CPA


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