The Booming of the Food Cart Business

Small capital, easy set-up and a good chance of success are just some of the reason why Food Cart Business is thriving in the Philippines. If you will look at the market trend today, Food cart business is the choice of most aspiring entrepreneurs.

A mobile food cart is a business where you can start on low capital ranging from P30,000 to a maximum of P300,000. But it could be a little lower though, depending on how you will put it up — by franchise or on your own. Some companies offer food cart franchise for as low as P10,000 per package that includes, the cart, product, uniform for the crew and training.

Over the last few years, food service carts have sprouted all over the metro — from MRT and LRT station, malls, sidewalks,church, schools, markets etc.- name it and for sure, you’ll find a food cart there. Today, there are about 800 different food cart formats available in the market–pizza, waffle, fishball, siomai, rice toppings, baked goodies, rice in a box, hotdog and a lot more.

Industry estimates that more than P1 billion in sales is turned over every year from the food cart businesses. With this amount, no doubt that Food Cart is the hot business in the market!

Some cart owners features were asked why they chose a cart setup over a full store. Their answer varied, but they have a consensus that:

  • Carts are easier to manage and operate;
  • They require less capital and rental cost:
  • Carts are easy to transfer if the location is not good
  • They need less maintenance and few workers; and
  • Carts are ideal for businesses offering limited products or services.

Other reasons are:

  • Carts are easy to launch;
  • It is easier to get a space or location for a cart because it requires just small area; and
  • It is easy to expand a cart business because it entails less capital

Cart businesses have another advantage: because they are normally located along the walkways of malls and commercial centers, they can capture a wider market.

Indeed, a cart business is something aspiring entrepreneurs would want to start with. Jorge Wieneke, who founded Potato Corner in 1992, however, gives entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs five points to ponder before riding on the bandwagon, so to speak:

  • Make sure the cart or kiosk has a focused concept. “If it’s flavored fries food cart, then sell fries,” he says.
  • Don’t just use any kind of material, but make sure the cart is good aesthetically.
  • Plan a layout for the cart’s equipment; it will help make the work flow within the cart more efficient.
  • Enter the cart industry with a unique business concept.
  • Have a strategy: “Enter the major malls first, then the other smaller malls before you go to the commercial centers, schools and terminals.”

But, wait before you jump on the bandwagon, you need to consider a lot things. First is your cart–which is the basic component of the business.The cart must have a colorful and bold big signage to catch the attention of the customers. Your cart is a self-contained kitchen, so you need to keep it clean all the times. The sturdier the cart the better, since it is mobile, it will be easier to go from one location to another.

If you have a nice cart, then the next thing to consider is Location. Location,plays a big part in the success of your food cart or in any business for that matter. You have to think of a good location where people frequents and can see what you are selling. But not all places cramming with people is a good venue just like MRT and LRT station.

Lastly, you have to match your good location with the right product at a good price. People will keep coming back on you food cart biz, if you sell good quality products at a very reasonable price. When you are just starting your business don’t be too greedy with the profit and be prepare for setbacks. Be creative and update your products every two months so that your customers will not get tired of what you sell. Always think that there are a lot of competition in the market.

sources: Mishell M. Malabaguio,, Mark So,