Food Trucks – Spain

food truck.jpegA few years ago I looked into hitting the streets of Benidorm sketching some caricatures for holiday punters and air-brushing T-shirts. I searched around and couldn’t find anyone doing it to ask advice. Consequently, I looked into the legal side by trawling the internet in Spanish – Dios Mio!

You have to prove that you are self-employed and register at the tax office, apply for a street trader licence, pay the fees and then pay a weekly fee for the amount of square footage you would be using and there was a minimum so me thinking a couple of chairs would be cheap was out the question. The other option was to go rogue, get a scruffy dog and pretend I was homeless, but that was dishonest and there are way too many cops patrolling the streets for such goings on – maybe that is why pickpockets and muggers are so successful – sorry, off topic, but had to get that in.

Here in Spain, there is surprisingly a massive food truck following. Being a foodie at the moment is trendy and desirable, people are always looking for something deliciously, different and fun and as we know fun is the favourite flavour of the Spanish. Food Trucks in major cities are hugely popular and are governed by sensible regulations. The owner-operator must be au fait with food hygiene, sanitation requirements and the processing systems that could lead to cross contamination and be able to inform consumers about allergens, etc…

Food trucks or ‘comida callejera’ street food in Madrid offer up a massive gastronomic variety in cuisines some with Michelin stars and wines for connoisseurs. There is simply nowhere offering the quality and variety without having to dress up, book and make an entrance then blow a sizeable hole in your weekly budget.

Benidorm, a place teaming with diverse cultures and hundreds of thousands of visitors screaming out for something different, is food truck challenged. Okay, there are those that like to sit and relax but it’s surprising how many people feel awkward in social settings or who don’t want to find a table in a carbon copy of the last place they had dined in. They simply want to order and go and sit where they want or walk and eat at their next destination.

So why aren’t there any food trucks in Benidorm on a permanent basis? Is the fact there just simply isn’t anywhere for one to park and if there was it would be outside a café/bar. Are the pavements too narrow? There are areas that could be utilised. I mean this is about offering more services to the many visitors. Or is it the expensive licences the town hall is asking and daily fees charge by the square meter.

Could it be the lack of a clear and comprehensive legal framework for town halls to work by that would be fair to all affected and if that is the case there could be a long wait. Are they a viable option commercially? These trucks can cost upwards of 20,000 to 50,000 if you include the finance to get started and that is for a modest set up with all important branding and website.

Bars in the busy streets of Benidorm, the size of a truck with seating outside, charge an average of two thousand a month in rent, after the leasehold fee. The beauty of a truck is you can drive away, look elsewhere and you could always exist on fiestas, rastros, music festivals and the many annual food truck fares in major cities. Trucks are finding ways to trade by parking on petrol stations and industrial parks using social media to inform their clients where they are and what they are offering, which could be anything from a kangaroo burger to a snappy crocodile sandwich. Weddings are being catered for by food trucks and beaches visited as some trucks speculatively double up as chiringuitos.

Therefore, if you want to get into the food truck business and deliver your passion to serve up food, pinpoint and feed your niche. The following advice is at hand Looking into this business model it may not be as expensive as you think. The site has loads of trucks for sale already set up here in Spain with advice, suppliers and how to deal with the bureaucracy.

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