Equipment

Tools of the trade.

The equipment in your food truck is an essential part of cooking your meal. If you’re looking for new equipment to outfit in your kitchen or wanting to upgrade your equipment, this guide is for you. We’ll cover all the main topics and questions including how to choose your equipment, what to look for in a specific product, and tips to keep in mind when designing a floor layout.

Power Type

The main thing to consider is what kind of power consumption will it require? What kind of power sources are you planning to use? You won’t be able to run your stove, fridge and everything else off of your vendor’s battery, so you’ll have to choose whether to use electricity, gas, or propane.

Electric

Electricity in the form of generators is used by the vast majority of mobile vendors. Stoves and ovens require a lot of electricity, so looking at an efficient generator (or even two) is a smart idea. The great thing about working with electricity is that it excels at holding specific temperatures, fantastic if you need to be precise with the oven.

Propane

Propane Propane is relatively cheap and extremely efficient at heating. It’s easy to come by, you’ll be able to find refills at most grocery stores, hardware stores, and even some convenience stores. It’s also a greenhouse gas, meaning it’s a great alternative for eco-friendly food trucks.

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Necessary equipment from the health department

Some appliances are required by law as a safety code. For example, many states require a three-compartment sink to be installed, or a sprinkler system if using a fryer. In addition to legal requirements, you should consider the following: hot/cold water, cold storage, hot storage, ventilation, and sanitation.

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Common Equipment

Ranges

Depending on what your cooking, ranges may be your goto appliance. The main thing to consider when looking at ranges is how many burners it has. If most of the menu relies on it, a 4 burner range will give you lots to work with. However, if space is tight, a two-burner range could be more appropriate.

Griddle

There are two options to look at when purchasing a griddle: manual or thermostat control based. Manual griddles give you multiple heating options and are great on a tighter budget. Thermostat control griddles give you finer control over the temperature settings, but comes at a higher price point.

Before purchasing a griddle, you will need to install a ventilation system to catch grease and ventilate smoke. There may also be other safety requirements depending on your local city or state.

Fryer

Safety is the main concern when it comes to installing a fryer. Check your local health codes for any rules or regulations attaining to fryers in mobile vending. A few things to keep in mind when designing your setup is you’ll need a certain amount of space between your fryer and any open flames.

If your menu revolves around using a fryer, it is worth investing in a heavy-duty one that has at least two baskets. Some fryers even have separate oil tanks so you can fry different kinds of food without cross-contaminating the taste.

Refrigeration

There are many different kinds of refrigerators, so it’s worth taking some time to research which refrigerator will work best for your needs. If space is tight, consider looking at flat tops which can be used to stack other appliances. Check with your local health department if there’re any requirements for refrigeration.

Sinks

Sinks are another necessary appliance of the mobile food kitchen. 3 compartment sinks are a requirement for meeting the food/health code. They take up a lot of space, so consider finding one that will be just large enough to wash your largest piece of kitchen equipment. Models that have high walls will prevent water from splashing and contaminating nearby food or equipment.

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Space

In the mobile vendor world, every inch counts. Start filling a food truck with equipment, appliances, and employees you’ll quickly find out how little space you have to work with. When choosing equipment (and their applicable sizes) it’s important to ask yourself what you want to cook?

For example, if you want to include french fries on the list you’ll have to decide between an array of fryers. Are the french fries an appetizer, a small dish, or an entree all by itself? Each dish has a different kind of fryer that would work best in that scenario.

Secondly, you’ll have to consider the floor plans of the mobile vendor. Some vendors, like food trailers, are more spacious than food trucks and will accommodate more appliances. When buying used food trucks, you’ll have to take into account what equipment is already there, how to work around it, and how to fit any new items alongside it.

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