The food truck craze is here to stay—there’s no denying it. Foodies love the convenience and affordability of having restaurants pull up to the curb and serve them. In these lean economic times, the market for unadorned culinary concoctions is ever-expanding, making the idea of adding a food truck to a brick-and-mortar concept a very lucrative business move. However, owners should tread lightly into the food truck arena, especially if they’ve never worked on one before. There’s a narrow line between a roach coach and a gourmet charabanc. Make sure you heed these tips before adding a food truck to your operation.
Check Local Laws and Regulations
This sounds like a no brainer, but cities have been cracking down on food truck operations since the craze began, citing “unfair competitiveness” as their reason. Chicago doesn’t allow food trucks within 200 feet of brick-and-mortar establishments. Las Vegas won’t allow a truck within 1,320 feet of a restaurant. Knowing where your truck can and cannot be gives you a clear rubric to operate your business under.
Know the Food Truck Market
People who eat at food trucks aren’t looking to spend big bucks on their next bite. According to one study by Silicon Valley Business Journal, the average ticket price for one customer is $10 and $15 for lunch and dinner respectively. In fact, only eight percent of food truck customers spend less than $8. Even though the food truck offers your business a greater flexibility to cater to customer demand, selling products which are out of their price range will quickly diminish your return on investment.
Have a Catering Concept in Mind
Sure, some food truck owners get by just from parking at breweries and corporate business centers. But, the pull-up-to-the-curb market is quite saturated. If you’re trying to expand your business’ brand, then adding a catering element to your food truck is exactly what you need. Focus on special events. Allow your customers to “rent your kitchen” for their party. Customers love that food trucks offer mobile entertainment without sacrificing on the quality of your food.
Be a Social Media Hawk
Food trucks build followings. It’s as simple as that. Ask yourself: What do I need to accomplish through social media? The platforms can drive sales, boost customer service, or create brand recognition. Twitter and Facebook allow you to connect with your customers and tell them exactly where your roving restaurant will be next. Be sure you have someone in mind who can dedicate time to executing your social media strategy as well. The worst thing you can do as a food truck operator is have a great strategy and fail to execute it.
Branding your truck with your company logo will help drive traffic to your restaurant. Also, use your brick-and-mortar to promote your food truck. You can mention it on your phone’s holding message, in a little insert on your menu, on signage in the entrance, or in space on your website. This way your customers will know there is more than one way to purchase your food.