Food Truck Employee Guide Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of the food truck employee. In this post well cover payroll, healthcare, managing and the unfortunate reality of terminating an employee.

This info could not have been put together without the help Terrence of TBD Foods. TBD foods offers fine dining chef service - specializing in farm to table fare.

Let’s dive right back in.


Pay and Benefits

After finding the right candidates, you need to hire these folks and make sure they are happy with the offer you’re presenting to them.

First you need to figure out what to pay these new employees, should it hourly or salary? Full or part time?

Before you overload yourself with all these questions take a breath. Look to other food truck owners or even other online job postings to get a feel for what competitive wages are in your area.

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Payroll Accounting

Having an employee requires you to file state and federal taxes (Unemployment tax, Social Security, and Medicare tax), as well as document pay.

This can be a daunting task and take your focus away from growing your business. You might be tempted to outsource all your accounting, work, but I caution against that, because where your income and expenses are coming from is the pulse of your business. Monitoring that pulse and understanding the financial details will allow you to make sound business decisions.

To keep in touch with your financials while outsourcing the detail work, I recommend a free program called Wave accounting or QuickBooks Online.

Wave is a free cloud based accounting for small business that allows automatic downloads from credit cards and banks, but I find their payroll services and auto filing lacking compared to QuickBooks (about $40 a month). In addition QuickBooks is the gold standard for accountants and this will save time and cost when working with an accountant.

By taking small steps and keeping up with your expense and income weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, come tax time it can easily be exported to your accountant.

TIP: Meet with your accountant at the start of year to make sure you categorize expenses and income correctly.


Health Care and Workers Comp

Healthcare is a trending topic of national debate right now and it does play a role in the food truck business.

Fortunately food trucks do employ a lot of younger folks and these folk under 26 are still covered by their parents insurance, meaning they most likely won’t need your assistants.

For yourself and employees who do need coverage or your states healthcare exchange site can provide options, with possible subsidies based on income.

Some states will require you to carry workers comp, others it's optional, either way it's best to know your options.

For an overview of each state's requirements check out - Works' Compensation Laws - State by State Comparison

What is workers comp?

Workers comp covers employee’s medical, disability, rehabilitation, or death benefit as a result from an accident in the course of employment.

Why carry it?

Workers comp insurance protects employers from most employee injury lawsuits and promotes workplace safety.

Follow the links for more info on the advantages of carrying workers comp, or the disadvantages

Managing Employees

After the process of searching for, interviewing and hiring employees your food truck staff should be a little larger and this growth requires management, this is where you come in.

To ensure your employees check are accurate each week, make sure you have a time clock or clock in clock out system, compare that to the week schedule and compile the info weekly, bi weekly, how ever often your food truck does pay roll.

Now depending on where your food truck is your business will fluctuate with the weather. In colder areas business is slower in the winter months and further slow the heat becomes a reason for hungry patrons to venture to areas of air conditioning compared to your truck’s al fresco dining.


With these fluctuations the size of your staff will also vary, which can be tough on employees having their hours and paychecks dwindle. Let your staff know of these changes well in advance to be prepared for the slow down.

This communication will allow for your employees to look for other work if they want and as their employer respect their decision to find another part time job or other job entirely.

Your employees do have bills to pay and would be unfair to expect them to wait around until the busy season not working to help your business.

It is a tough situation when the weather does change but this advanced notice of hours being cut will prevent your food truck employees having the rug taken out from under them with the hours possibly being cut in half from the week before.

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Time to terminate an employee?

Firing an employee can be mine field full or possible missteps that can result in a lawsuit.

Use the below pdf as a guide when seeking a preliminary legal opinion from your own counsel before terminating an employee. This should aid your counsel in evaluating whether the proposed termination creates potential legal exposure and the need for additional legal advice.

Be sure to check out the first part of this blog series - Food Truck Employee Guide Part 1

This article was a collaboration of Joel Paprocki of who offers affordable insurance made easy for food trucks, food trailers, caterers and chefs, and Terrence Rogers of TBD Foods

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