So you made it through part 1 of the guide, where we learned about buying a food truck, and choosing the best spots, and through part 2 where we dealt with limited storage and suppliers, and coming up with delicious menu offerings. All that’s left now is the final tweaks to ensuring a steady flow of customers.
In this third and final part of the guide we’ll walk you through the final steps of creating a memorable concept, getting people talking about your brand and other ways to make your mobile kitchen stand out from the crowd.
Create a Solid, Memorable Concept
Getting customers to talk about your brand is a powerful strategy for organic growth. To generate word of mouth coverage, you need to create a brand identity that is recognizable and a story that people can easily understand and spread.
All elements of your brand need to be cohesive and you need to be consistent in implementing them. Define the leading values of your business, your target customers and your mission statement. The name of your business should then capture the essence of what you do, who you are and what you are selling. It should be easy to pronounce and remember. From there, create a website, logo, vehicle wrap design, social media assets and clothing design for you and your employees. Consider working with a professional designer who can visually communicate your brand to your audience.
Don’t skimp on designing your truck, both interior and exterior. A well-designed moving vehicle that reflects your brand is a 24/7 buzz tool that passively interacts with anyone who sees it, whether they buy from you or not. It is a great way to make a strong first impression on customers and it is a one-time investment in impactful long-term advertising.
As the world is shifting to mobile ordering and payment options, there are a few facets you’ll want to cover.
Help customers find your business by listing it on food truck locator apps like Roaming Hunger or other platforms popular in your area. At the minimum, your website needs to be mobile friendly. An even better option would be to create an app specifically for your food truck. Doing this is not very costly or complex and the value it can bring you is enormous. Such an app will allow you to offer mobile payments and ordering. This is especially important for a fast-food type business, such as mobile kitchens, where online ordering is a fast growing trend. A customized app will also allow you to communicate with customers, collect reviews and feedback and send out updates or special offers.
Hand in hand with going mobile, you also need to invest in growing your social media presence. In recent years, social media marketing has become a must in practically any industry. An effective tactic is to be creative with it. Create polls asking followers to vote on their favorite foods or things they’d like to see on the menu, use hashtags, tag members of your online community, reply to people’s comments and in general be active and visible.
Attend Local Festivals
Going on the road and attending local fairs and festivals is not just great fun, it’s also great business. These events are usually crowded with hungry diners, which means a lot of exposure and demand for your food truck.
Before signing up, consider whether your brand and cuisine fit in with the event’s theme and audience. Look into costs, regulations and other factors that might affect your ROI. Some festival organizers charge a flat fee or they require a percentage of revenue earned. Be as precise as possible in calculating your profit. Contact other food truck owners who attended the same event last year to ask about their experience and advice. Look at how many other food trucks will be serving at the event and what their prices are. You might have to raise your prices, just make sure this does not affect your brand negatively.
Expanding beyond the confines of your truck might seem like an overreach, but it is a terrific way to grow your business and cater to different kinds of clients. This is especially true if you are located in the environment of offices, where there is a lot of traffic during lunch time. Many customers who are in a hurry would prefer to order delivery as opposed to having to fight over a place on a bench or a folding table. To resolve issues of having to leave the cart or hiring someone to be in charge of deliveries, partner with third party delivery companies or sites, such as Yelp or GrubHub.
Whether you offer delivery or not, make sure to stock your cart with take-out containers, carriers and bags. This will enable customers to move away from the truck area more quickly once they receive their food, making room for others. Be sure to use eco-friendly packaging to make both you and your customers feel more at ease with the type of waste you are producing.
Congratulations! You’re All Set to Opening a Food Truck Business
After reading The Guide to Opening a Food Truck Business part 1, part 2 and part 3, you’re good to launch a successful kitchen on wheels. It’s going to be hard work, but if you are a born food trucker then it is also a dream come true.