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Most new food truck owners walk into this industry with an entrepreneurial spirit, awakened because of, and in spite of, the poor economy, and more particularly, the loss of a job. Given this recession, and despite of it, we have seen a national rise in the food truck industry. This industry has given birth to creative, diverse and flavorful foods that are sweeping the country, one mile at a time.

When we think of the word ‘entrepreneur,’ we often forget that this word does not simply signify individuals that have created business ideas from scratch. Instead, entrepreneurs are business owners that have taken on forms of risk that most people are unwilling or unable to successfully manage.

This definition opens up a whole other route for aspiring food truck business owners to take on. Rather than making it necessary to suddenly become a brand-marketing expert, master chef, or creative designer, you may decide to become a food truck franchisee – which comes with most of the benefits of working in the food truck industry with less of the responsibility. It’s perfect for individuals who have little or no business background.

But how can you decide whether to be an entrepreneurial franchisee or start your own business from scratch? To put it simply, it comes down to the level of involvement you want in making decisions for your operation.

Let’s look at a list of pros and cons of joining a franchise:

Pros:

    • There are fewer up-front decisions. Within a franchise, you are given instant brand recognition. The menu, design, and name are given to you.
    • You’ll have the professional support you need. The corporate office will supply you with support and staff that can address questions and concerns. This can be especially helpful for new entrepreneurs in the mobile food industry, as they may be unfamiliar with how to deal with issues that arise.
  • You have a name. And with that name comes business. Your name is already known throughout the city, state, and, sometimes even, country.

Cons:

    • Food truck franchisees require capital – and lots of it. These ventures can run up to half a million dollars just to join them. And many times, this price tag opposes the reason that entrepreneurs are seeking to enter into this industry in the first place. After all, opening up a food truck is supposed to be much cheaper than running a brick-and-mortar restaurant, right?
    • The concept of the truck – name, menu, and design – is given to you. Just as this serves as a pro for joining a franchise, it can also be seen as a con. It allows for little creativity, which is what most entrepreneurs thrive on.
  • You’re paying fees and royalties (nonstop). Not only do you have to pay for the rights to the franchise, but you are also expected to pay royalties in most cases.

So, what will you decide? Maintain an open mind and make strategic decisions that are in line with your personality and desires. Opening any food truck business – whether it’s a franchise or a truck from scratch – is a long-term decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.