Coffee trailers are the most versatile of food trucks and their like. You can find coffee trailers that look like wheelbarrows with a tarp while others resemble mobile homes. So how do people find something that is right? Is there a right size or design? The short answer is there is no universal ‘right’ coffee trailer. Could you imagine a world where everything had a ‘right’ shape and size with no room for variety? How boring would that be?
Levity aside, the longer version of the answer to choosing the right coffee trailer is worth considering seriously. ‘Right’ may refer to what works, and by extension, meets the needs and requirements of a street food business. Here is a quick rundown of various factors that can affect the choice.
Size is Relative: If you plan to sell cakes and scones along with your coffee, you may need more room. You may have access to a commissary or prepare your fare in your home. However, for fresh bakes, you will need to include room for the oven, fuel tanks, generator, venting, etc. How you implement the design depends on your creativity or the imagination of the custom food trailer manufacturer you hire. Repurposing old trailers and farm vehicles is a common practice in Australia. A flat-bed trailer can be covered or an old horse trailer can be refurbished. You can install your equipment inside or use it as a mobile garage to house your actual coffee cart. For large operations, you could consider an old school bus or even an army truck.
Open vs. Closed: This is a major decision for coffee trailers. A closed canopy was the standard until just a few years ago. The structure also provided protection from the elements. Advances in design and lower cost of materials have led to hybrid layouts which are worth a look. Some have walls and collapsible roofs that open up completely, sometimes turning into service tables. Others make extensive use of plexiglass and transparent materials to create an open-air ambience. Many coffee trailer owners find open designs useful as unimpeded vision helps advertise your trailer and your products easily.
Innovation Works: Not everything creative is about looks. Creative thinking and some common sense can have a brilliant effect on how you operate your business. A coffee trailer does not mean you have to stand inside while serving customers through a window or over a shelf. You can design your trailer to allow you to stand outside giving you more opportunity to interact with your customers. Another innovative twist is a coffee trailer that is essentially a mobile café. These trailers have the coffee maker in one small section and the rest of the space is used to store folding tables and chairs and perhaps even a few fancy shade umbrellas. Such coffee trailers can be parked in an open area, the tables laid out, and you instantly have a kitchen with plenty of room for the customers, the barista, and even service staff.
Your coffee trailer can be an extension of who you are and what you believe in. If something feels right for you, then there is probably some way to include it in your coffee trailer’s design while ensuring it makes practical sense. This is perhaps the best way to choose the ‘right’ coffee trailer.
About the Author:
Bo Pfromm is the owner of Van Demons Vans in Brisbane. He has a passion for helping people realise their dreams by helping them join the food van revolution. Call Bo or any of the Van Demons team on 1300 886 773 to get a quote on your custom built food truck.