Building your own food cart is a challenging activity, but will ultimately be rewarding and cost saving as well. There are advantages to building a food cart as opposed to buying a prefabricated cart. The ability to customise a cart specific to business needs, enhances utility and provides options not available for prefabricated carts.
Determine how and for what purpose the food cart will be used. If the food cart will be used as part of a private business, it will be subject to regulations. Commercial food carts need to pass safety and health regulations set by the municipality where the business is conducted. Food carts that are strictly for personal use are not subject to the same type of regulatory requirements. Determine the portability and collapsibility requirement of the food cart.
Decide what type of food will be served in the food cart. This will determine many of the specifications and requirements for your food cart. Hot food requires a warming tray or oven. Cold food or beverages require a refrigeration element.
Select a cooking system for the food cart. An electric versus a propane cooking system will have different material requirements. An electric cooking system will require regular maintenance and a propane cooking system will need to be refilled on a regular basis.
Visit a store that specialises in custom designed parts for a food cart. Choosing the materials from a specialised store still requires self assembly. Choose stainless steel body parts as they will last longer than ones made from other types of metals. Once you have chosen all of the materials for the body of the cart and the cooking equipment, your next step is to choose a set of durable wheels for your cart. To make a collapsible cart, you need to choose components that can be removed and put back fairly easily, or that give you the option of folding the cart down. The parts will need to include locking mechanisms, to ensure that your cart has enough support to cook food on. Choosing wheels made from a high grade rubber is suggested. Assemble the parts of your cart based on what you have chosen. You will need a variety of tools, including a hammer, pliers, screws, bolts, and wrenches.
Customise your cart based on how and where it will be used. If you are in a sunny location, attaching an awning or an umbrella is a good idea. If you are in a damp or humid environment, spraying your cart with non-flammable weather protectant will help it last longer.
Be sure to weatherproof your cart to the best of your abilities. It is inevitable that you will eventually encounter poor weather.