10 Tips for Starting a Food Cart Business in the Philippines

Updated: March 13, 2024

Among all franchises in the Philippines, the food cart is probably the most popular. Aside from being affordable, finding your target market is relatively easier with a food business.

If you’re looking for a franchise, there are many food cart businesses to choose from. However, setting up your own food stall isn’t that complicated, either.

Below are ten tips to remember when starting a food cart business. I hope this quick guide will help you achieve success as a food entrepreneur.

1. To franchise or start your own?

Before anything else, you should decide whether to get a franchise or start your own food cart business. There’s no better choice, and it all depends on your skills and resources.

Franchising will save you time in planning and execution, but it will cost much more. Also, you’ll have less control over the business and will need to follow the terms of the franchisor.

It’s more affordable to start your own business, but you’ll need to do everything — think of a business name, design your logo, find suppliers, and many other tasks.

2. Write a business plan.

A business plan is your blueprint for success. Writing one allows you to run your business on paper and helps you visualize all the tasks you’ll need to execute.

Moreover, a comprehensive business plan will be useful if you need to find partners or investors for your venture. Having one gives an impression that you’re committed to succeed.

3. Build on one product.

A food cart business isn’t a restaurant that can offer a variety of meals, so don’t be one. All successful food carts focus on only one product. Just think about it — french fries, siomai, fruit shakes, nachos, waffles, etc.

You can innovate and offer something new or compete in what’s currently popular or an emerging trend. Either way, also make sure that you’ll have the resources to manufacture your product by volume.

4. Choose a good location.

Go where your target customers are. Food cart businesses are best inside malls, near office establishments, adjacent to transportation terminals, and beside colleges or universities.

Moreover, assess the area’s security and accessibility. It is recommended that you observe your planned location for several hours on different days before pursuing it.

5. Ensure proper food sanitation.

Be meticulous about your food preparation and handling. Ensure proper sanitation in all steps. Invest in quality containers and packaging. Be strict with the expiration dates of your ingredients.

In today’s age of social media, you don’t want people talking about how unclean your food is or how unsanitary your food cart is. Additionally, you can be held liable if someone gets sick from eating your products.

6. Develop eye-catching food cart design.

Colorful and well-designed food carts can easily attract customers. Use vivid hues of yellow, red, or orange. Make your logo recognizable. Make your text and menu display simple and easy to read.

Draw a mock-up of your food cart and show it to friends. Observe their first impressions, then ask for feedback and suggestions on how you can improve them.

7. Excel at customer service.

You are not only selling food but also providing a service to your customers. Teach your staff to be warm and friendly and to always serve with a smile.

People often become impatient and ill-tempered when they’re hungry. That’s why it’s important to train your crew on how to handle difficult clients.

8. Be strategic with pricing.

Sell at a price to make reasonable profits. Make sure that your prices are at par with competitors’. Lastly, assess whether your prices are affordable to your target customers.

There is no straightforward formula for pricing. It’s really a matter of finding the balance between affordability, competitiveness, and profit and then adjusting accordingly.

9. Register your business.

A food cart business is exposed to the public. Business inspectors will most likely visit your store regularly, so it’s important to register your business and operate legally.

Moreover, apply for all necessary permits. In addition to the usual licenses from the DTI, barangay, city hall, and BIR, you should also have BFAD approval on your products, health and sanitary permits, and many others.

10. Be your number one customer.

Don’t sell food that you’re not even a fan of. When milk tea became a craze, I knew someone who ventured into it even though he didn’t drink milk tea. That business didn’t last long.

By being your number one customer, you’ll know exactly what makes your product good. You’ll also have insights on how to sell and market it properly. And more importantly, it’ll be easier for you to innovate on the food.

Final Tips

Running a food cart business can be challenging. Success requires careful planning, so never rush into starting one to avoid costly mistakes.

Getting a food cart franchise is a good option for first-time entrepreneurs. It’s a great training ground that will familiarize you with the food industry.

But strive to hopefully someday start your own. By doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to offer your food cart business as a franchise and compound your income passively in the future.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy


  1. i want to start a food truck restaurant in Cebu Philippines… anyone have any suggestions?

  2. We have rent to own Food Cart Schemes… All interested with in Dasmarinas Cavite Area may call 09501111453.
    We also introducing supply of the series of Food Cart at your choosen Location.
    We are proud to be your partner in the bussiness.
    Jerimie B. Mosteiro

  3. Hello im planning to start a food truck in manila end of 2021, any ideas and can anyone give me advise on doing this please.

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