A food truck can be a great way to start your business before opening a brick and mortar restaurant, or could be operated in addition to any physical locations you may have. It’s an easy way to bring your business to events such as weddings or festivals.
It’s recommended to start hiring food truck employees 3-4 weeks before you want your food truck to open (especially if it’s seasonal).
While it’s always important to hire staff that will stick around for a long time, this is especially true with food truck employees. Getting great staff from the start means you’ll only have to onboard and train staff once for the entire season.
Keep on reading to learn more about hiring food truck employees.
Start with hiring a food truck manager
Your food truck manager will be your first hire and the first employee you onboard and train.
Your manager needs to be a strong and independent operator for your business who enjoys working in a fast-paced environment. The manager sets the tone for the entire workplace, and needs to be able to remain positive during challenging situations happening in a small environment. Their energy greatly impacts staff happiness which in turn impacts sales and turnover.
You’ll want to find someone who can take on the following responsibilities:
- Day-to-day operations
- Training and managing staff members
- Ensuring employees follow sanitation procedures
- Following health and safety guidelines
- Cash management
- Driving the truck
It is key that you complete a driver record check as part of the hiring process. This is so you can ensure the manager has the proper level of license to drive the truck, and also a clean driving record.
Determine how many employees you need
How many employees does a food truck need? You’ll first need to consider how many people can work in the food truck at one time. It’s usually 2-6, depending on the truck.
Below are some common roles in a food truck:
- Service window attendants
- Kitchen prep
If staff members will be taking on multiple responsibilities that go across all the above roles, you can hire for a general “Food Truck Crew” role.
Write your job description
In addition to all the things you should already be including in your job description such as wages and a job summary, below are some key things to include when hiring food truck employees:
- Location of the food truck (Is it a stationary location, or do staff need to be willing to travel?)
- Heavy lifting
- Working in a small space (and in high seasonal temperatures, for trucks operating in the summer)
- Hours (often evenings and weekends)
- Drivers license requirements
It’s also important to outline any staff benefits you may offer, such as:
- Staff training
- Flexible scheduling
- Free meals
Advertise your job openings
If you already have a brick and mortar location, try using something like text-to-apply to catch the attention of passing job seekers.
If you don’t have a physical location in addition to your food truck, you’ll need to advertise your open jobs online. Post on job boards or online communities for your area. If your food truck is seasonal, advertize the role to students.
Make it easy for job seekers to apply online. Collecting applications online using something like an applicant tracking system also makes it easier for you to sort and screen applications and find top talent faster.
Set up interviews
If you don’t have a brick and mortar location, ask a local business if they would be willing to be the host for your interviews. Or, you could consider hosting video interviews.
One fun way to recruit a lot of employees at once while also doing some marketing is to host a hiring party. Have your truck open during interviews and offer applicants free food from the truck. See our full guide to hosting a hiring party here.
Remember to ask applicants during the interview if they are comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, in close contact with others, and how they handle multi-tasking.
Once you’ve found your perfect team of food truck employees, send them their onboarding paperwork, complete any background and drivers license checks, and start your staff training.
Finally, have a great food truck season! Once the season is over, you could consider converting the truck into a ghost kitchen or virtual kitchen so it can operate all year long.