The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Food Trailers

‍Different Types of Food Trailers Image Source: Pexels

Food trailers have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a convenient and mobile solution for food entrepreneurs. Whether you’re looking to start a new food business or expand your existing one, investing in a food trailer can be a smart move. But with so many different types of food trailers available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various types of food trailers, where to find them, and what factors to consider before making your purchase.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Types of Food Trailers
    • Concession Trailers
    • Food Carts
    • Ice Cream Trucks
    • BBQ Smokers & Trailers
    • Step Vans
    • Skoolies
    • Hotdog Carts and Stands
    • Shaved Ice and Snowball Trucks
    • Mobile Salons
    • Coffee Trucks
    • Pizza Trucks
    • Taco Trucks
  3. Where to Find Food Trailers
    • Online Marketplaces
    • B2B Wholesale Marketplaces
    • Local Classifieds
    • Social Media Groups
    • Food Truck Manufacturers
  4. Factors to Consider
    • Size and Layout
    • Equipment and Appliances
    • Licensing and Regulations
    • Budget
    • Condition and Maintenance
    • Customization Options
  5. Tips for Buying a Used Food Trailer
    • Inspect the Trailer in Person
    • Get a Professional Evaluation
    • Verify the Legitimacy of the Seller
    • Negotiate the Price
    • Consider Financing Options
  6. Conclusion

1. Introduction

Food trailers are mobile units that are specifically designed for transporting and selling food items. They provide a flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional restaurants, allowing entrepreneurs to reach different locations and target various customer segments. From concession trailers at fairs and festivals to ice cream trucks roaming the streets, food trailers have become a common sight in the food industry.

2. Types of Food Trailers

Concession Trailers

Concession trailers are one of the most popular types of food trailers. These trailers are typically larger in size and are equipped with all the necessary equipment and appliances to prepare and serve food. They often have built-in kitchens, storage areas, and serving windows. Concession trailers are commonly used at events, carnivals, and sports games.

Food Carts

Food carts are smaller and more compact than concession trailers. They are designed to be easily maneuverable and can be towed by a car or even pushed by hand. Food carts are ideal for street food vendors who want to set up shop in high-traffic areas. They usually have limited cooking and storage capabilities but can still offer a wide variety of food options.

Ice Cream Trucks

Ice cream trucks are a classic example of food trailers. These trucks are specifically designed for selling ice cream and other frozen treats. They are equipped with freezers, display cases, and serving windows. Ice cream trucks are a popular choice for entrepreneurs looking to start a dessert-focused business.

BBQ Smokers & Trailers

BBQ smokers and trailers are specialized food trailers designed for smoking and grilling meats. They are equipped with large smokers or grills and often have extra storage space for wood, charcoal, and other BBQ essentials. These trailers are perfect for pitmasters and BBQ enthusiasts who want to take their delicious smoked meats on the road.

Step Vans

Step vans, also known as delivery vans or box trucks, can be converted into food trailers. These vans have a large cargo area that can be transformed into a fully functional kitchen or food service area. Step vans offer plenty of space for cooking, storage, and even dining areas. They are a popular choice for food trucks that require a lot of interior space.


Skoolies, short for school buses converted into food trailers, have gained popularity in recent years. These converted buses offer ample space for kitchen equipment, seating areas, and even restrooms. Skoolies provide a unique and eye-catching option for food entrepreneurs who want to stand out from the crowd.

Hotdog Carts and Stands

Hotdog carts and stands are compact food trailers specializing in selling hotdogs and other similar street food items. These trailers are small, lightweight, and easy to tow. They typically have a griddle or steam table for cooking hotdogs and are equipped with condiment stations and a cash register.

Shaved Ice and Snowball Trucks

Shaved ice and snowball trucks are designed for selling refreshing frozen treats. These trucks are equipped with ice shavers, syrup dispensers, and serving windows. They are a popular choice for entrepreneurs looking to start a seasonal business or cater to events during the summer months.

Mobile Salons

Mobile salons are a unique type of food trailer that caters to the beauty and wellness industry. These trailers are equipped with hair styling stations, nail stations, and even massage chairs. Mobile salons provide a convenient solution for beauty professionals who want to offer their services on the go.

Coffee Trucks

Coffee trucks are specialized food trailers that focus on serving coffee and other hot beverages. These trailers are equipped with espresso machines, coffee grinders, and storage for coffee beans and other supplies. Coffee trucks are a favorite among coffee enthusiasts and those looking to start a mobile coffee business.

Pizza Trucks

Pizza trucks are food trailers that specialize in serving freshly made pizzas. These trailers are equipped with pizza ovens, prep stations, and refrigeration for storing pizza ingredients. Pizza trucks are a popular choice for entrepreneurs looking to offer a unique and delicious food option at events and festivals.

Taco Trucks

Taco trucks are food trailers that specialize in serving tacos and other Mexican street food. These trailers are equipped with griddles, fryers, and steam tables for preparing and serving a variety of taco fillings. Taco trucks have gained popularity in recent years due to the growing demand for authentic and flavorful Mexican cuisine.

3. Where to Find Food Trailers

When it comes to finding food trailers for sale, there are several options available. Here are some popular places to search for food trailers:

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces such as, eBay, and Craigslist are great places to start your search for food trailers. These platforms allow you to browse through a wide range of listings from sellers across the country. However, it’s important to exercise caution and thoroughly vet the sellers before making a purchase.

B2B Wholesale Marketplaces

B2B wholesale marketplaces like can also be a valuable resource for finding food trailers. These platforms connect buyers with wholesalers and manufacturers from around the world. You can browse through different types of food trailers and compare prices and features to find the best deal.

Local Classifieds

Checking local classifieds, both online and in print, can be a good way to find food trailers for sale in your area. Local newspapers, community bulletin boards, and online classified websites often have listings from individuals and businesses selling their used food trailers.

Social Media Groups

Joining social media groups and forums dedicated to food trucks and trailers can provide valuable insights and connections. Many sellers and buyers post listings and engage in discussions about food trailers in these groups. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and potentially find a good deal.

Food Truck Manufacturers

If you’re looking for a custom-built food trailer, reaching out to food truck manufacturers is a good option. These manufacturers specialize in designing and building food trailers to your specifications. They can help you create a trailer that suits your specific needs and budget.

4. Factors to Consider

Before purchasing a food trailer, there are several important factors to consider. These factors will help you make an informed decision and ensure that the trailer meets your requirements. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Size and Layout

The size and layout of the food trailer are crucial considerations. Think about the amount of space you need for cooking, storage, and serving. Consider the number of people working in the trailer and the equipment you plan to install. A well-designed layout will maximize efficiency and productivity.

Equipment and Appliances

Think about the specific equipment and appliances you need for your food business. This could include grills, fryers, refrigerators, sinks, and more. Make sure the trailer you choose has enough space and electrical capacity to accommodate your desired equipment.

Licensing and Regulations

Check with your local health department and government agencies to understand the requirements for operating a food trailer in your area. Ensure that the trailer meets all health and safety regulations and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.


Set a budget for your food trailer purchase and stick to it. Consider not only the upfront cost of the trailer but also any additional expenses such as customization, maintenance, and insurance. Remember that a more expensive trailer doesn’t always mean better quality, so weigh the features and benefits against the price.

Condition and Maintenance

Inspect the condition of the trailer thoroughly, especially if you’re buying a used trailer. Look for signs of wear and tear, structural integrity, and functionality of equipment. Consider the maintenance requirements and costs associated with the trailer to ensure it will be a sound investment in the long run.

Customization Options

Consider whether you want a ready-made trailer or if you prefer to customize it to fit your brand and menu. Some sellers offer customization options, allowing you to add your branding, equipment, and layout modifications. This can give your food trailer a unique and personalized touch.

5. Tips for Buying a Used Food Trailer

If you decide to buy a used food trailer, here are some tips to help you navigate the process:

Inspect the Trailer in Person

Whenever possible, inspect the trailer in person before making a purchase. This will give you a chance to examine the condition, functionality, and overall quality of the trailer. Look for any signs of damage, rust, or leaks.

Get a Professional Evaluation

Consider hiring a professional inspector or mechanic to evaluate the trailer before buying. They can provide an unbiased assessment of the trailer’s condition and identify any potential issues or hidden problems.

Verify the Legitimacy of the Seller

Do your due diligence and research the seller’s reputation and history. Look for reviews, testimonials, and any red flags that may indicate a scam or dishonest seller. Ask for references or contact previous customers to get their feedback.

Negotiate the Price

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price with the seller. Use your research and knowledge of the market to make a reasonable offer. Be prepared to walk away if the seller is not willing to negotiate or if the price doesn’t align with the trailer’s value.

Consider Financing Options

If you’re unable to pay for the trailer upfront, explore financing options. Some sellers offer financing or leasing arrangements that can help you spread out the cost over time. Look for competitive interest rates and favorable terms.

6. Conclusion

Investing in a food trailer can be a game-changer for your food business. It provides you with mobility, flexibility, and the opportunity to reach a wider customer base. By understanding the different types of food trailers available, where to find them, and the factors to consider before making a purchase, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals. Whether you choose a concession trailer, food cart, or specialized trailer, remember to thoroughly research and inspect the trailer before finalizing your purchase. With the right food trailer, you’ll be well on your way to serving delicious food and satisfying customers wherever you go.