Important Note: Linga does not provide or sell Food Truck services or financial products.
The popularity of food trucks started growing rapidly about 8 years ago in the New York and Los Angeles markets. In their 2016 forecast, the National Restaurant Association said that roughly two in five restaurant operators believe food trucks will become more popular within their segment. It could be many people are seeking inexpensive alternatives to their meals or they enjoy the convenience and ambiance of going to a food truck.
Many restaurateurs say that owning a food truck business can be harder than owning a restaurant. Food truck businesses can be easily affected by things such as weather, parking competition, and high start-up costs. However, if you have the drive and creativeness, owning a food truck may just be for you. Check out these seven areas of owning a food truck that can help start and run your food truck business.
Food Truck Theme
Your food truck should be consistent with anything and everything you do. Start with your food truck brand, and composing a theme around that brand. Then your menu should match your restaurant’s theme. So for example, you do a food truck that is German; it would be a good idea to serve German food. Your theme and feel of your food truck should be a way of setting you apart from your competition, and distinguishing your name to your customers.
There are many factors that go into planning a successful menu for a food truck. It’s important to look at costs, food preparation time, food presentation, and customer feedback. Some restaurant operating systems can help you keep track and improve in these areas. Food trucks can also vary when it comes to food genre. However, many food truck owners find it more beneficial to only specialize in one type of food. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are unsure of how you want to sell your food:
1. Should I go with already prepared food?
2. If so, what types of foods are easy to transport?
3. What types of food are proportional to my overall budget?
4. What times of day do I want to serve food?
5. What types of food are convenient to customers?
6. What types of foods can I cook the best?
7. What are popular foods in the area?
It’s important to find a good location for your food truck. Some examples to consider would be shopping malls, tourist hot spots, offices, empty parking lots, or city parks. All of these places house great demographics and are large open spaces that will surely bring success to your food truck. The benefit is that your business can change location at any time to increase traffic to your food truck. It’s also important to be able to accept multiple types of payments. Some crowds may not have cash, others may want to pay with mobile payment apps such as Venmo, CashApp, or Zelle.
Depending on your market, you may also want to consider doing private events and festivals. Food trucks are better for beautiful weather seasons. So consider private events and festivals as a way to offset any income in the off-season.
Just having your food truck name on the outside of the truck does not qualify as having enough advertising. Start by reaching out to people in the area who work in the food industry, and get your name out there online. Promote events, discounts, and any special programs to get a following. You don’t have to spend a lot of money advertising. Just by adding more of a presence on social media will surely gross your business. If you stick to certain areas and promote them then you will see your business grow with repeat customers.
Customer experience is vital when having a successful food truck business. It’s true what they say, “great customer service fuels your food trucks.” Before you open your food truck, make sure your staff is well trained for not just proficiency, but also a demeanor that leaves the customer feeling appreciated and satisfied. Additionally, a big part of the customer experience is cleanliness. Everyone wants to eat at a clean place, and staying on top of cleanliness keeps you prepared for any surprise health inspection visits. Having a friendly atmosphere entices customers to keep coming back to your food truck, and spreading good word-of-mouth.
Since many food trucks go out of business, it’s very easy to buy used or affordable equipment online. Food truck owners usually end up selling their equipment for a lot less than what they ended up initially paying for it. Look for easy-to-use automated systems that can help with ordering, costs, and sales. Today’s average consumer prefers to use cards over cash so be sure to look at various POS options to give your customers the convenience they deserve. POS systems can be a big asset when your food truck is just starting.
There are many options or venues when it comes to purchasing your food truck. You can look in online classifieds; lease a truck or even partner with another company as a franchise. Then once you have the truck, customize the exterior and interior to your food truck’s theme. Additionally, it’s important to find sturdy equipment that fits nicely in your truck to give your staff enough working room.
Depending on your location, it can be a long time before you can get a food truck permit. It’s important to apply for your permit early so nothing holds up your opening day.