The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Food Truck in Minnesota

‍ Buying a Food Truck in Minnesota Photo by volzi on Pixabay

Are you considering starting your own food truck business in Minnesota? If so, you’re in the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about buying a food truck in Minnesota. From where to find food trucks for sale to what to consider before making a purchase, we’ve got you covered. So let’s get rolling!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Where to Find Food Trucks for Sale in Minnesota
    • Online Marketplaces
    • Local Classifieds
    • Food Truck Builders and Dealers
  3. Factors to Consider Before Buying a Food Truck
    • Budget
    • Size and Layout
    • Equipment and Appliances
    • Maintenance and Upkeep
  4. Legal Requirements for Operating a Food Truck in Minnesota
    • Licenses and Permits
    • Health and Safety Regulations
    • Parking and Zoning Restrictions
  5. Financing Options for Buying a Food Truck
    • Small Business Loans
    • Crowdfunding
    • Personal Savings and Investments
  6. Tips for Inspecting a Used Food Truck
    • Interior and Exterior Condition
    • Mechanical and Electrical Systems
    • Kitchen Equipment Functionality
  7. Customizing Your Food Truck
    • Branding and Design
    • Menu Planning and Kitchen Layout
    • Safety and Accessibility Features
  8. Hiring Staff for Your Food Truck
    • Cooks and Chefs
    • Servers and Cashiers
    • Marketing and Social Media Managers
  9. Marketing and Promoting Your Food Truck Business
    • Social Media Marketing
    • Local Events and Festivals
    • Collaborations and Partnerships
  10. Maintaining and Growing Your Food Truck Business
    • Customer Feedback and Reviews
    • Menu Innovation and Seasonal Specials
    • Expanding to Multiple Locations
  11. Case Studies: Successful Food Trucks in Minnesota
    • The Comfort Food Truck
    • The Taco Stop
    • The Sweet Treats Mobile
  12. Conclusion

1. Introduction

Food trucks have become a popular dining option in Minnesota, offering delicious and convenient meals on wheels. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a passionate foodie, owning a food truck can be a rewarding entrepreneurial venture. However, before you hit the road, there are several important considerations to keep in mind.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of buying a food truck in Minnesota, from finding the right one to customizing it to suit your needs. We’ll also explore the legal requirements, financing options, and marketing strategies to help you launch and grow your food truck business successfully.

2. Where to Find Food Trucks for Sale in Minnesota

When it comes to finding food trucks for sale in Minnesota, there are several avenues you can explore. Here are some popular options:

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces like Roaming Hunger, Food Truck Empire, and are excellent resources for finding food trucks for sale in Minnesota. These platforms allow sellers to list their food trucks, providing detailed descriptions, photos, and contact information. You can easily search for food trucks based on location, price range, and specific features.

Local Classifieds

Local classified websites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace also offer a wide selection of food trucks for sale in Minnesota. These platforms connect buyers directly with sellers, allowing for negotiations and potentially lower prices. However, it’s important to exercise caution and thoroughly inspect any used food trucks before making a purchase.

Food Truck Builders and Dealers

If you prefer a brand-new food truck or want to customize one to your specifications, working with a food truck builder or dealer is a great option. These professionals can design and build a custom food truck tailored to your needs, ensuring that it meets all the necessary health and safety regulations.

3. Factors to Consider Before Buying a Food Truck

Before you start searching for a food truck to purchase, it’s important to consider several key factors that will impact your decision. These factors include your budget, the size and layout of the food truck, the equipment and appliances it comes with, and the ongoing maintenance and upkeep requirements.


Setting a budget is the first step in the food truck buying process. Determine how much you are willing to invest in your food truck, taking into account not only the initial purchase cost but also any customization, licensing, and operational expenses. It’s important to strike a balance between affordability and quality to ensure a successful investment.

Size and Layout

The size and layout of the food truck are crucial considerations, as they dictate the amount of space available for cooking, storage, and customer service. Think about the type of cuisine you plan to serve and the equipment you’ll need, such as grills, fryers, refrigerators, and prep stations. Additionally, consider the number of staff members who will be working inside the truck to ensure there is enough space for everyone to move comfortably.

Equipment and Appliances

Inspect the equipment and appliances that come with the food truck. Are they in good working condition? Do they meet the necessary health and safety standards? It’s essential to ensure that all the essential kitchen equipment is included and functional, as replacing or repairing equipment can be costly.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Food trucks require regular maintenance and upkeep to keep them in optimal condition. Consider the ongoing costs of servicing, repairs, and cleaning, and factor these into your budget. It’s also important to establish a maintenance schedule and find reliable vendors who can provide the necessary support when needed.

4. Legal Requirements for Operating a Food Truck in Minnesota

Operating a food truck in Minnesota comes with certain legal requirements that must be met to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. These requirements include obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, adhering to specific health and safety guidelines, and understanding parking and zoning restrictions.

Licenses and Permits

To legally operate a food truck in Minnesota, you will need to obtain various licenses and permits. These may include a business license, a mobile food license, a food handler’s permit, and a sales tax permit. Each city or county may have its own specific requirements, so it’s essential to research and comply with the regulations in your area.

Health and Safety Regulations

Food trucks must adhere to strict health and safety regulations to protect the well-being of customers. This includes proper food storage, handling, and preparation practices, as well as regular health inspections. Familiarize yourself with the state and local health department guidelines and ensure that your food truck meets all the necessary standards.

Parking and Zoning Restrictions

Parking and zoning regulations can greatly impact the success of your food truck business. Research the local ordinances and restrictions regarding where you can park and operate your food truck. Look for areas with high foot traffic, popular events, and supportive local communities to maximize your chances of attracting customers.

5. Financing Options for Buying a Food Truck

Once you’ve determined your budget and identified the food truck you want to purchase, you may need to explore financing options to make your dream a reality. Here are some common financing options for buying a food truck in Minnesota:

Small Business Loans

Small business loans are a popular financing option for entrepreneurs looking to start a food truck business. Banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer various loan programs tailored to small businesses. To increase your chances of approval, prepare a solid business plan, have a good credit score, and be ready to provide collateral if necessary.


Crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise funds for businesses, including food trucks. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to create a campaign and offer rewards to backers in exchange for their financial support. This can be a great way to generate buzz and attract potential customers even before your food truck hits the streets.

Personal Savings and Investments

Using personal savings or investments is another option for financing your food truck. This eliminates the need for loans and allows you to retain full ownership of your business. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate your financial situation and consider the potential risks involved.

6. Tips for Inspecting a Used Food Truck

If you’re considering buying a used food truck, thorough inspection is crucial to ensure you are getting a reliable and well-maintained vehicle. Here are some tips to help you inspect a used food truck:

Interior and Exterior Condition

Inspect the interior and exterior of the food truck for any signs of damage, rust, or wear and tear. Look for structural integrity, including the roof, walls, and flooring. Check for leaks, dents, and scratches that may affect the overall condition and performance of the truck.

Mechanical and Electrical Systems

Ensure that the mechanical and electrical systems of the food truck are in good working order. This includes the engine, brakes, suspension, and transmission. Test all the lights, switches, and electrical outlets to ensure they are functioning properly.

Kitchen Equipment Functionality

Check the functionality of all the kitchen equipment and appliances. Turn on the burners, ovens, fryers, and refrigeration units to ensure they are working as expected. Pay attention to any unusual noises, smells, or signs of malfunction.

7. Customizing Your Food Truck

Customizing your food truck is an exciting process that allows you to create a unique and eye-catching mobile kitchen. Here are some aspects to consider when customizing your food truck:

Branding and Design

Develop a visually appealing and memorable brand for your food truck. This includes designing a logo, choosing a color scheme, and creating signage that reflects your brand identity. A well-designed food truck can attract attention and help you stand out from the competition.

Menu Planning and Kitchen Layout

Plan your menu carefully to ensure that it can be executed efficiently within the limited space of a food truck. Consider the cooking equipment you have and the ingredients that are readily available. Optimize your kitchen layout to maximize productivity and ensure a smooth workflow.

Safety and Accessibility Features

Install safety and accessibility features in your food truck to comply with regulations and create a welcoming environment for all customers. This may include fire suppression systems, ventilation systems, accessible ramps, and proper storage for allergen-free ingredients.

8. Hiring Staff for Your Food Truck

As your food truck business grows, you may need to hire additional staff to help with operations. Here are some roles to consider when hiring staff for your food truck:

Cooks and Chefs

Experienced cooks and chefs are essential for preparing high-quality and delicious food. Look for individuals with experience in the type of cuisine you plan to serve and who can handle the fast-paced environment of a food truck.

Servers and Cashiers

Having friendly and efficient servers and cashiers can greatly enhance the customer experience. These individuals will be responsible for taking orders, handling transactions, and ensuring that customers receive their food promptly.

Marketing and Social Media Managers

A dedicated marketing and social media manager can help promote your food truck and attract new customers. They will be responsible for managing your online presence, creating engaging content, and running targeted marketing campaigns.

9. Marketing and Promoting Your Food Truck Business

Marketing and promotion are crucial for the success of your food truck business. Here are some effective strategies to consider:

Social Media Marketing

Utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to build a following and engage with your target audience. Post mouthwatering food photos, share updates about your location and menu, and interact with customers through comments and direct messages.

Local Events and Festivals

Participate in local events and festivals to showcase your food truck and reach a wider audience. These events provide an excellent opportunity to introduce your cuisine to new customers and build connections with other vendors and organizers.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Collaborate with other local businesses, such as breweries, wineries, or coffee shops, to host joint events or cross-promote each other’s offerings. This can help expand your reach and attract customers who may not have discovered your food truck otherwise.

10. Maintaining and Growing Your Food Truck Business

Once your food truck business is up and running, it’s important to focus on maintaining and growing your customer base. Here are some strategies to consider:

Customer Feedback and Reviews

Encourage customers to provide feedback and leave reviews of their experience with your food truck. Positive reviews can attract new customers, while constructive feedback can help you improve your offerings and customer service.

Menu Innovation and Seasonal Specials

Keep your menu fresh and exciting by regularly introducing new dishes and seasonal specials. This will keep customers curious and eager to try your latest creations.

Expanding to Multiple Locations

As your food truck business grows, you may consider expanding to multiple locations. This could involve operating in different cities or rotating between various popular spots in your area. Experiment with different locations to find the ones that yield the highest profits and customer satisfaction.

11. Case Studies: Successful Food Trucks in Minnesota

To provide you with real-world examples, let’s take a look at three successful food trucks in Minnesota:

The Comfort Food Truck

The Comfort Food Truck is known for serving delicious and satisfying comfort food classics. They have built a loyal customer base through their social media presence and regular participation in local events and festivals. Their secret to success lies in their consistent quality, creative menu specials, and friendly customer service.

The Taco Stop

The Taco Stop has become a local favorite for its authentic Mexican street tacos. They have mastered the art of simplicity, focusing on a limited menu of flavorful and freshly made tacos. The Taco Stop has gained a reputation for their speedy service, vibrant flavors, and affordable prices.

The Sweet Treats Mobile

The Sweet Treats Mobile is a dessert-focused food truck that specializes in gourmet ice cream sandwiches. They have captured the hearts of customers with their unique flavor combinations and high-quality ingredients. The Sweet Treats Mobile has successfully leveraged social media to build a strong following and regularly collaborates with local businesses for special events.

12. Conclusion

Buying a food truck in Minnesota is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. By considering the factors mentioned in this guide, understanding the legal requirements, and implementing effective marketing strategies, you can launch and grow a successful food truck business. Remember, it’s important to stay innovative, listen to customer feedback, and continuously adapt to the ever-changing food industry landscape. So, what are you waiting for? Start your food truck journey today and bring your culinary creations to the streets of Minnesota!