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Food trucks vs. Food Trailers: How to choose the right one?

Food trucks vs. Food Trailers, which is better? And which should you choose? Here we compare the differences between them and share with you. Read more to figure out the right one for you.

Mobile food has become an important part of the catering industry and will always exist. It is estimated that this is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it is rising every year. According to Entrepreneu, there are more than 3 million food trucks and 5 million food carts in the United States alone. This is a huge market, and it has great potential for development in the future.
In the past, people were more accustomed to eating in traditional restaurants. You would choose a position by the window, waiting for your food to be served by the waiter. But now, more and more people are starting to enjoy street food. You will walk to the mobile kitchen and watch how the chef makes burgers or other food, and you can eat it immediately after the cooking is completed.

Cake food trailer

So what is the difference between the mobile food business and the traditional restaurant business?

The investment cost is low, and the investment cost of a mobile food business is only one-third of that of a traditional restaurant.
More flexible, the business location is not fixed, it can move with the flow of people.
Usually the menu is relatively simple and easy to change, and there are not many types of food on sale.
The price of food is lower. There is no need to pay rent and many other expenses, and operating costs are lower.
It is easily affected by the weather. In rainy or cold winters, the mobile food business will not be so good.

Food trucks vs. Food Trailers

When you enter the food business for the first time or when you want to test a new menu, choosing a mobile food trailer or food truck is a better choice. So should you choose a food trailer or a food truck? The answer is not set in stone, and the answer may be different under different demand situations. Let's compare the differences between the two so that you can have your own ideas.


The biggest difference between Food truck and Food trailer is that their available space is different.
Common food truck size: 7 feet wide
Common food trailer size: 7 feet or 8.5 feet wide
Length of food truck: 10 feet to 26 feet
Length of the food trailer: 8 feet to 53 feet.

Food trailers can have larger sizes, of course, it’s up to you. A larger size can leave more space for kitchen appliances. Bigger size also means bigger business. When you are in a food truck or food trailer, you will realize the importance of space, and you will often regret buying a smaller truck or trailer.
Due to the larger size and space, the working environment of the food trailer is more comfortable, the kitchen equipment is more complete, and it can have more complex menu options and a complete staff team.

Storage space

A larger size will bring more storage space. Food trailers have more space to store various food raw materials, cooking utensils, tableware, etc. This means that you can receive more customers every day. If you want to participate in events and festivals for several days, then the food trailer is the right choice.

The storage space for food trucks is relatively small. Since the engine and cab of a food truck will take up a lot of space, with the same length, the available space of a food truck will be smaller than that of a food trailer. You may encounter situations where customers have to be turned away because of insufficient food reserves, which is very bad.

In addition, the generator of the food truck is built-in, which also takes up a part of the space. On the contrary, the generator and propane tank of the food trailer are set outside the carriage, which is the position of the towing frame.


Generally speaking, the cost of food trailers is lower than that of food trucks. Because when buying a food truck, you have to buy a complete truck, which will include the engine and cab.

The price of a new food truck is at least 50,000 U.S. dollars, and the highest can reach 200,000 U.S. dollars. In addition, you may also need to equip the food truck with the necessary kitchen equipment, such as fryer, griddle, fridge and ice cream machine. The price of these equipment is also a cost you need to consider.

The price of a brand new food trailer is only $10,000 or $50,000. Choose a food trailer, your initial investment cost will be lower, but you need a car capable of towing a food trailer to cross the street and reach places with high traffic. If you do not have your own vehicle, renting a vehicle for towing will also be a huge cost.

Ice cream food trailerOn the road

The compartment and the cab of the food truck are the same unit, and the overall size is small. Therefore, it can easily traverse narrow streets. Food trucks can easily reach anywhere.

The mobility of the food trailer is limited. It cannot cross the street by itself. It needs a towing vehicle. This makes the overall size of the food trailer and the towing vehicle very large during driving. It can only travel on relatively wide main streets.

If your food business often parks in a fixed location and rarely moves, then choosing a food trailer is a better choice. If your food business needs to move frequently in different places along the route, then a food truck will be more worthwhile.


Parking is a challenge for food trucks and food trailers. But the difference is that food trucks only need one parking space. And because food trucks are smaller, parking is easier.

Due to the larger size of food trailers, it is more difficult to find a suitable parking location, and parking costs will be higher. In addition to the trailer, you have to find a suitable parking location for your towing vehicle. Every time you stop, you need to disconnect the towing vehicle and the trailer. Every time you restart, you need to connect the trailer and the towing vehicle again.


For food truck, this is a unit and you only need to buy one insurance.
For food trailer, in addition to the towed vehicle, you also need to buy an additional insurance for your trailer.


The maintenance of food trucks is more complicated and, of course, more expensive. Because in addition to the kitchen equipment, you also have to regularly maintain the engine, gearbox and other important components, and their maintenance costs are very high. The maintenance of engines and gearboxes will also take up more time. Sometimes you even need to park the food truck at the maintenance station for a whole day.

The maintenance of the food trailer is very simple. It only requires regular maintenance of the kitchen equipment and wheels, and the cleaning of the kitchen every day.


Compared with food trailers, the repair cost of food trucks is more expensive. Once the engine or gearbox of a food truck fails, the repair cost will be very high, and the downtime will be particularly long, and your truck may stay in the repair station for 2 days or even a week. During this time, your food truck business will be interrupted.

On the contrary, the repair cost of food trailers is relatively low. If the towing vehicle of the food trailer fails, you can rent one temporarily while the broken towing vehicle stays in the repair shop, which will not affect your mobile food business.


Food truck or food trailer? The answer is different for everyone's needs. It depends on what food you want to sell and where you want to sell it.
Food trucks are more expensive than food trailers, but food trailers require a towing vehicle. Do you already have a vehicle capable of towing? The food trailer is your right choice.
Do you need to stop and go frequently in your itinerary? Then a food truck is a better choice.
Do you need to cross narrow streets often? Then a food truck is more suitable for you.
Food trailers are very suitable for long-term parking in a certain place. Are you planning to participate in festivals and various activities? Then buy a food trailer.

After reading the difference between a food truck and a food trailer, I believe you have a clear understanding of the difference between them. You should buy the one that suits you best, not the cheapest or the largest size.

If you want to know more guides and suggestions, please enter our resource center.

Do you already have an idea? Then contact us now to get a quote!

You can also browse our mobile food trailers, we have many different styles of airstream food trailers, catering trailers and coffee trailers, etc., which will help you get more inspiration.
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