Food truck supplies 101: a handy checklist

| by Richard Traylor
Food truck supplies 101: a handy checklist

Photo courtesy of iStock.

Launching a food truck is a hectic experience, and in all the chaos and preparation, it's easy to overlook some essential items. So, we've compiled a list of all the important cooking, consumables, plating, cleaning and safety supplies you should have on your food truck before you get started. 

Before you start serving customers, you'll need cooking tools. The tools and utensils will depend mostly on your truck and what kind of food you offer, but there are some that are absolutely essential on any food truck:

Aluminum foil is an essential on any food truck.
  • Aluminum foil. Foil is perfect for wrapping food for later, and you can also use it to cover food in the oven.
  • Cling wrap. Keep your food fresh and protected from contaminants by wrapping it in cling wrap.
  • Plastic bags. Use plastic bags to keep your food fresh or save leftovers.
  • Disposable gloves. Disposable gloves are essential to have in the kitchen for food safety. You can also get latex-free varieties for employees with latex allergies.
  • Containers. Containers are better than plastic bags for storing hot and saucy foods. Plus, you can microwave some food in containers to reheat it. Most plastic containers are also reusable. 

Along with cooking supplies and dishes, there are some consumables and food products that most food trucks will need that you can stock up on. 

For most food trucks, condiments are necessary, although you can choose either portion packs or bottles for self-service. Self-service bottles are a great way to save money, but portion packs are convenient, as you can just throw a few packs in your customer's take out bag.   

Make sure your food truck is outfitted with all the herbs and spices you need, regardless of how often you use them. 

Cooking oil spray is essential for cooking on griddles, ranges and woks as it prevents your food from sticking and burning. 

To-go containers are another essential.

Dishes and utensils 

There are several options for serving your food to your customers. Some food trucks use paper plates and bowls, others use trays, and some prefer take-out containers. In addition to dishes, you'll need to be stocked with utensils and other disposables.

Here's a list of serving supplies you need: Something to serve on, whether that be plates, bowls, trays, take-out containers, etc.; disposable flatware; napkins; to-go containers; bags; cups and lids; straws; portion cups and lids; caddies to organize your straws and napkins .

Cleaning supplies 

Cleaning supplies are some of the most important things to have in your food truck, as they ensure no one gets sick at your truck. Additionally, you'll need to maintain cleanliness in your food truck to pass regular health inspections.

Here's a list of cleaning supplies you'll need in your food truck: trash cans and bags; dish towels or rags; sponges and scrubbers; foodservice chemicals (including chemicals for specific equipment, like grill cleaner, ice machine cleaner, degreasers, descalers, etc.); paper towels; hand soap; sanitizing chemicals; dish cleaning chemicals; wet area floor mats; broom and dustpan; mop and mop bucket; heavy duty gloves for washing dishes; tape or labels to keep organized (necessary for health inspections). 

Cleaning supplies are a part of safety.

Safety supplies 

Other than foodborne illnesses, the biggest dangers in food trucks are fire and accidents. Here are a few things you should have in your food truck to prevent any major accidents or injuries:

  • Fire extinguishers. Make sure that you get your fire extinguisher serviced regularly. In addition to its importance for safety, it's also necessary for passing health inspections.
  • Sprinkler or fire suppression system. In case of wide spread fires, a single fire extinguisher may not be enough. Fire suppression systems can prevent catastrophic accidents.
  • First aid kits. Accidents around bound to happen when working in a kitchen, so make sure you're prepared with the proper equipment when they do. 

When launching a food truck, there are so many things to consider, so it's easy to forget some things. With this list, you can spend less time worrying that you forgot something important, and spend more time on menu planning and designing your kitchen space. 

Topics: Equipment & Supplies, Food & Beverage, Independent Operators

Richard Traylor
Richard Traylor graduated from Temple University in the winter of 2014 with a degree in Strategic Communications. After graduating, he taught English in South Korea for two years, during which he was fortunate enough to travel and see the world. In October 2016, he returned home and started to work in SEO Content at Webstaurant Store. wwwView Richard Traylor's profile on LinkedIn

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