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Old 01-26-2012, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2
Default Profitability of Mobile WFO

I know that profitability varies by location, operation size, business model, marketing strategy, ingredients used, and a host of smaller factors.

I'm still interested in hearing the views of people who run their own Mobile WFO operations:

-How many people do you employ?
-What are your fixed costs?
-What are your variable costs?
-How many pizzas do sell per year? Do you favor top quality ingredients over mid-range ones?
-How much time per week do you devote to the business?
-Given your answers to the above, do you turn a solid profit?

I will appreciate all open responses, and any advice on mobile wood-fired profitability.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by smokin' elk; 01-27-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 2
Default Re: Profitability of Mobile WFO

I'll chime in...

We are 2.5 yrs old, started our company right when the "Great American Food Truck Race" was the coolest TV show, and now have 2 mobile wood fired trailers, and one food truck.

Basically, this ain't no get rich quick scheme.

Unless you are living in some megalopolis, I think finding a market for $1000+ per event in sales is difficult. If you could do that, it would be easy.

Food industry standards are something like:

Cogs: 25%
Labor: 25%
Expenses: 40%
Profit: 10%

We employ 3 people w/ no other jobs, and 4-7 part-time/seasonally, will probably be about 13-15 total at peak season 2013. That said, we are all young, flexible and happy with being our own boss. My two brothers started this company with me, and we our built three mobile rigs. We have probably saved at least $50K in labor costs for these build outs. The sweat equity of our team of the bro's has been invaluable. In my opinion, there is too much work in this business model to go it solo. Licensing, bookkeeping, booking and catering, marketing, and maintenance are all things that take lots of time outside of prep and selling pizza. I believe the axiom thus far, that only 1 in 3 businesses make it. Most of the trucks have lasted about 18mos here in Denver.

For the first 18 mo's, I spent 50-70 hrs per week at it. We are attempting to build a scalable brand, with that a long-term plan, and for me a sustainable lifestyle, so I have scaled back to 40-50 during peak season, and a little less now that it is winter. Still can't keep girlfriends, and don't have a dog.

We decided as owners that our work is more valuable, generally speaking, to grow the business than it is to personally sell the pizza, so we have built a great crew and spent our time developing new units and plans. We plan to deploy a new cart on our downtown pedestrian mall in the spring, and have our sights set on some brick and mortar (hollar if you'd like to be a licensee!).

We sell mid-range pizza at a good price. All organic flour, tomato and herbs, local processed sausage and chicken. Restaurant depot cheese and pepperoni. No one wants organic pepperoni anyways... Catering is a big part of our business. We did about 300 selling events, and 50-60 catering events, revenue of $215K.

Do we turn a "solid profit?" On our P&L? No. We have basically broken even. But, this has been my job for 2.5 years, we have fully employed to awesome people for over a year, my brother went part-time at his nursing job and lost ten pounds the next week. And it's Wednesday morning, 12/12/12 and we are both doing exactly what we want to be doing.

So I would say we are turning a solid 'profit'.


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Old 12-13-2012, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2
Default Re: Profitability of Mobile WFO

Thanks for the reply. I encourage others to provide insight as well. This could be an informative and mutually beneficial discussion.
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