Free “How to Start a Food Truck” online course now available in Spanish

The MSU Product Center is pleased to support entrepreneurs interested in launching a mobile food business with a self-paced course in Spanish.

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Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and the MSU Product Center are pleased to announce the launch of a free, online course in Spanish to guide entrepreneurs through the process of launching a food truck business. The Como Iniciar un Negocio Movil de Comida course is open to all and available in a self-paced format.

This course was designed for entrepreneurs considering starting a food truck or mobile food business in Michigan. The self-paced course was developed in partnership with the Grand Rapids Food Truck Association, GROW, and the Kent County Health Department. The online course was pilot-tested by 20 participants in June 2022 and received positive reviews. Carlos Sanchez serves as the lead instructor for the course.

Each module walks through the process of developing a business plan based on the Business Model Canvas template. Information related to menu development, selecting a food truck/trailer/cart, writing a marketing plan, and identifying target customers and competitors as well as Michigan’s Mobile Unit and Special Transitory Food Unit licensing processes are covered. Participants wishing to earn a certificate of completion must earn a 100% score on all quizzes (multiple attempts to earn a 100% score are allowed).

This course will take approximately four to ten hours to complete. The end result will be a completed Business Model Canvas and the knowledge necessary to begin the licensing process for a mobile food business in Michigan.

What makes food trucks attractive business models?

Food trucks are a growing segment of the food industry. David Rivera, in the article “Top 20 Food Truck Industry Statistics” for Fit Small Business, reports that the food truck industry grew by almost 10% annually between 2018 and 2023. Typically, they cost less than restaurants to launch and require fewer employees to operate. In the 2022 book by Walter Grant and Andrew Hudson titled, “How to Start A Successful Food Truck Business,” the authors report that the average start-up cost for a restaurant is $275,000, while the average cost to start a food truck business is between $28,000 and $144,000. Food trucks tend to market to working professionals and people under the age of 50. Many food trucks offer unique food options that can’t be found in many restaurants. Social media is the primary way food trucks connect to their customers.

MSU Product Center

Entrepreneurs wishing to work one-on-one with a food business counselor on their food truck or mobile food business plan are encouraged to join the Michigan State University Product Center. A $100 application fee is required to be assigned to a counselor. Please note that MSU Product Center counselors will need to access translation services through the telephone to communicate in Spanish.

The MSU Product Center is an organization that brings together on-campus expertise in the sectors of food, agriculture, and natural resources to help entrepreneurs define and launch businesses and products. Field-based innovation counselors advise entrepreneurs on business planning, regulatory requirements, and product development needs. To access business development assistance, select the “Become a Client” button on the MSU Product Center website.

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