You came up with a great concept or recipe to start your own custom food truck business? And, after searching online to prepare yourself for your great success, you run into a bunch of naysayer articles telling you how difficult it is and how previous owners want to call it quits? Before your your dreams of a successful food truck or concession trailer business deflate, read on. We’re here to tell you that you can succeed and you can absolutely plan for that success.
Your custom food truck and concession trailer will be super popular if you follow the following best practices and marketing strategies.
1. Learn About City Ordinances and Permitting for Custom Food Trucks and Concession Trailers.
The number one complaint we hear from past food truck owners is that they wished they had stopped to learn what permits they needed, when and how often. If you educate yourself on the rules and regulations ahead of time, you’ll save yourself a lot of fines and headaches.
DO create a plan of when to get a permit and how long they take before registering for the local fairs, parking at city parks, in a downtown area or saying ‘yes’ to a catered private event. Learn how long you can stay parked and how close to restrooms you need to be. Education now saves you tons of hassle later. Thus, allowing you to focus on your business and your customers.
Too many custom food trucks and concession trailer owners wait until their truck or trailer is fully built, and they have their first event (or second or third) to start their social media marketing, email and text subscriber lists, or list their business with Google or Yelp.
Customers are the heart and soul of your business’ success. And, you need a lot of them. Start getting them talking about you now. Create buzz about your food. Hold food tastings with friends and family members. Create your website while your truck is being built. Get photos of the build from your manufacturer and publish as you go to create that excitement and anticipation. Create the habit of marketing your business now so you don’t have to fit it into your schedule after you’re too busy to actually do it once you’re on the road with your beautiful new truck or trailer.
3. Hire the Right Staff.
Ensure you have enthusiastic team members that are energetic about serving your customers and about seeing the business succeed. This is very important because you want personalities that can work in tight places, multi-task and work under the pressure of long lines. Solution-oriented people who will and are able to jump in and lend a helping hand when needed will be the backbone of your business, and ultimately play a role in whether or not it flourishes. Don’t just hire family or neighbors, make sure the person is the right fit for your work culture. You want the right people for the right job. Word of mouth about the great customer service is great free marketing.
4. Use Technology!
You can use technology in a wide variety of ways to grow your custom food truck’s popularity. For example, your food truck or concession trailer can:
Offer Wi-fi to customers. Use a router and get a sign-in page. When a visitor signs into your Wi-fi, this allows you to promote a menu item or entice them to subscribe to your email/text notification list.
Accept Mobile Pay. Credit card readers are great, but also add mobile pay onto your accepted methods of payment. According to Business.com, receiving payments isn’t the only benefit to offering mobile pay. In their article titled, “The Rise of Mobile Payments and What it Means for Small Businesses”, they state that “you can send them special mobile coupons and mobile promotions, or enroll them in a mobile loyalty program.”
Social Media Marketing. You can create live videos or post photos for many social media marketing channels including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and SnapChat. Letting people know where the excitement is and marketing your menu for that location is great marketing.
GPS Tracker. Roaming Hunger and FoodTrucksIn.com are just a couple of mobile apps and websites dedicated to helping the food truck and concession trailer industry connect trucks and customers through technology.
5. Start Tracking Immediately!
Keep records of your costs and profits at every event, every location, times of days and the various marketing strategies used. Keeping the metrics of inventory costs, which events reaped higher profits, and marketing strategies that return the best results will help you to make educated business decisions to keep up your bottom line. You can better pin point profit increase opportunities and know when to change up the menu. Knowledge is power and wisdom is success – they both come from knowing your real numbers when it comes to your custom food truck or concession trailer business.