Take Your Business on the Go with a Portable Bar

Take Your Business on the Go with a Portable Bar

Perfect for Food and/or Drinks.

Knowing how to run a mobile bar or food cart business takes patience and the right resources. But with a little determination, it can be a rewarding, fun, and most of all, profitable business! This article will give tips for making the most of this business model.

First, we'll cover the differences between a traditional food truck and a food cart so you can decide which is better for your business. Then, we'll go into detail on what to consider when purchasing a cart to set your mobile business up for success.

Portable Ice Cream BarSocial Grace Vodka Portable Bar 

Food Trucks vs Food Carts

Before we outline the benefits of portable bars and food carts, we need to understand the difference between a food truck and a food cart. Did you know that a food truck can feed up to 300 people per day? While food trucks offer just about every amenity a chef could want in a mobile kitchen, food carts have several unique advantages depending on how they're used. A cart is ideal when it comes to affordability and accessibility, especially when starting a new business or testing a mobile concept for an existing one. Carts require much less up front capital compared to a traditional food truck, are smaller and more maneuverable (they can even be taken indoors), and don’t come with mountains of upkeep and maintenance costs. This means starting a food cart business is easy and approachable for anyone who dreams of starting their own business. Here are a few reasons why you might consider using a portable cart instead of a food truck.

Size and Maneuverability

Compared to the famous and impressive food trucks found all over many cities, food carts are certainly more subtle. But that doesn't mean they don't still hold a special power when providing food to customers. Because of their size, food trucks are bound to parking lots, open spaces, and city streets. Mobile business carts are purpose-built to be smaller and more maneuverable. That means accessing more locations, and better yet, more opportunity for sales. Better yet, our portable bars can be taken inside most venues, opening a world of indoor (and outdoor) vending potential.


Depending on your business' needs, a cart could be the perfect cost-effective alternative to a food truck. In fact, most food trucks cost between $50,000-$175,000 according to Roaming Hunger. Some portable carts, like those available at Bar a la Cart start under $4,000. Our Best of Times portable bars start at $399. The latter doesn't come with costly overhead in the form of fuel and maintenance either. As long as your business plan doesn't demand a bona fide kitchen on wheels, a portable bar is a much more approachable way to go mobile. 

Set Up Time

Mobile bars and food carts can be set up and taken down much faster than a food truck, so they're perfect for special events that don't offer a lot of set-up and breakdown time. Whatever your reason for considering a food truck or a cart, keep these factors in mind to help you make the best decision for your business. 

Food Cart or Mobile Bar?

We've covered the differences between a food truck and a food cart. If after weighing these differences a cart seems like the better fit for your business, it’s time to consider the types of carts you can purchase. 

Food Carts

Food carts come in all shapes and sizes. They can be as basic as a counter or decked out with equipment from stove tops to cold storage. Ultimately, what you're vending from your food cart will guide the equipment you need. If you'll be serving premade items like pastries, baked goods, or otherwise, chances are you won't need anything more than a food safe display case. If you're planning on preparing food items on the go, you'll probably need more equipment. We offer a generic line of concession portable bars - or you can customize your own digitally printed logo/design. We have clients that have sold everything from: churros, ice cream, hot sauce, kettle corn, bratwursts and more!

Mobile Bar Carts

Mobile bar carts are dedicated carts built for serving beverages (alcoholic or not). This can range from serving wine by the glass to a full-service cocktail bar, and like food carts, equipment needs will vary based on usage. If you're planning to serve wine or a select menu of signature cocktails, you'll probably only need an ice chest. Portable bars even offer a great platform for mobile coffee shops and other non-alcoholic drinks. Consider using a tap system for cold brew, or add an espresso machine and extra counter space to set up the perfect mobile coffee stand. Consider that a basic cart setup will be more generalized for a wide range of uses, but will lack specialized equipment for serving items that would need to be prepared on the cart.

What you choose for your business will come down to what you're serving. Once you’ve settled on the best cart set up for your business, it’s time for one of the most exciting steps, acquiring your portable bar!  Click here to submit a request for a custom rendering with your company logo, graphics, artwork and specific design instructions.

Brand Your Business

There are so many possibilities with mobile business carts, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding one with the proper equipment for your business. While you're customizing, why not take the extra step to have your cart branded? Branding is a vital part of any business. It doesn’t just help communicate who you are and what you stand for, it's paramount when it comes to acquiring new customers, building brand loyalty, and differentiating yourself from your competitors. We’ll ensure your branding is front and center, and that your cart is at home within the rest of your branding strategy. 

Start a Portable Bar or Mobile Food Cart Business the Right Way

Have you ever taken a walk in the park and seen a little food cart offering delicious sandwiches to people lining up to grab a bite? Maybe you've visited a vintage mobile bar at a wedding and loved the experience? If you're eager to start your own mobile bar service or food cart business, don't let anything stand in your way! You don’t need an expensive state-of-the-art food truck or a modified vintage horse trailer to start your mobile business. A portable bar could be the perfect way to build a new side hustle, career, or enterprise. We know what it takes to turn an idea into a thriving business. We can't wait to help you design the portable bar of your dreams. Contact us here to get started today!

If you're looking for a higher-end mobile cart on wheels - starting at $4,000 - you can check out the main source for this blog - Bar-a-la-Cart. Re-posted: April 5, 2023

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