By the Numbers
The history of food trucks in the United States is nebulous. Many credit the chuck wagon of the Wild West as setting a trend that has lasted through the centuries. Chuck wagons were followed up with horse-drawn mobile diners, US Army mobile canteens, and ice cream trucks.
Regardless of how they started, food trucks are à la mode.
The number of government-mandated regulatory procedures that a food truck entrepreneur must complete to start and maintain a food truck for a year.
Setting up a food truck is no picnic. Completing the procedures takes an average of 37 business days and costs an average of $28,276 for permits, licenses, and ongoing legal compliance.
The number of food truck businesses operating in 2021.
An estimated 31,000 people work in the US food truck industry, and food trucks operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to one report, California has the most food truck businesses, with 753. Texas ranks second, with 549, and Floridians have 502 food truck businesses to choose from.
The year the Chow Truck, Utah’s original food truck, shut off its grill—permanently.
The truck opened in 2010, offering tacos and sliders with an Asian twist. A mechanical failure proved too costly to fix, but the truck left a rich legacy: dozens of food trucks now line the streets of Salt Lake City and pepper other Utah cities.
The average annual food truck salary in Utah.
That works out to be $13.11 an hour for frying up a food truck waffle or taco. One survey reported that food truck owners in major, high-traffic metro cities rake in $20,000 to $50,000 in sales each month; trucks parked in less-populated areas tend to pull in between $5,000 and $16,000 a month.
The percentage of food truck diners who choose to eat on the street because of the exciting, new, and unique experience.
In addition, more than 90 percent of those who chow down at a food truck rate their experience as positive. Convenience, low prices, and short waiting times are some of the reasons food truck fans keep coming back.
The estimated earnings projected for the food truck industry in 2021.
Prior to COVID-19, the food truck space was seeing an average annual growth of 7.5%. In 2020, however, the industry ground to a halt, with growth barely reaching 0.4%. Industry experts say things will heat back up this year, with a projected 2.4% growth.