Hiring employees for your food truck is like hiring for a brick and mortar restaurant but there are more considerations to think about. For example, in a restaurant you have a front of the house (host/hostess, servers, bus persons, etc.) and a back of the house (cooks, dishwashers, etc.). In a food truck or concession trailer, you have those same tasks to complete with considerably less space and people to achieve the same goals of quality food, best customer service and timely delivery. With less space and more work per individual, you really don’t want to speedily hire the neighbor next door because he or she just happens to be available.
The actual search for staff these days is the easy part. You can place an ad online at CraigsList.com, Indeed.com or various other job listing sites. Did you know that even Facebook has a place to list your help wanted ads? You can post on your social media accounts, ask family and friends if they know someone or the old fashion way of placing an ad in a local paper. The resources for reaching out to potential staff is endless. Now, how do you choose?
First, Decide Positions.
Even though your space may be limited, and you think only one more person will fit, stop and think about all your options. Food trucks and concession trailers are mobile and can create a flow of business at all hours of the day and locations all around. If you are currently the only person in your truck, you can hire one person for the current flow of business. Easy decision. Or you can consider hiring two to three people for extending your business hours allowing you to sleep while your business makes money. Just something to think about. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you hire people that you can fully trust with your food truck or concession food trailer.
Typically, a food truck or concession trailer needs a person to cook and prep food. A second position would be an order taker. Another position you may need to consider is someone to handle all your off-site marketing.
Second, Skills & Testing.
Most food truck and concession trailer business staff can be trained for their jobs. Cooking, being able to handle basic credit card machines and creating change for purchases are standard skills. But when you’re looking for the best staff to hire, consider these other skills and traits for prospective staff:
Order taker: have an inviting personality, great customer service skills and ability to multitask. They need to be able to work under pressure of long lines and demanding customers.
Marketing Person: they must not only know about Instagram, Facebook, etc. but they, also, need to be able to create posts on a regular basis, be fully available to respond to Facebook messages, emails and texting. They should consistently be working to build your followers and email/text subscribers. Wherever you are going to be, they should be posting and announcing your location on the days and hours you are there. Their job is to create buzz for your food and the food truck experience that you provide.
Be sure to know what the laws for interviewing staff are and keep your questions compliant. That said, you cannot always identify the right person during that initial interview. Consider creating a short test of the potential staff member working the food truck or concession trailer for a few hours to see how that person works in a real-world environment.
You will have two or more people working in a very tight, enclosed space preparing food and handling multiple orders at one time. The key to success is that everyone CAN work together. Just hiring people who are passionate about your business or the food truck business, isn’t going to guarantee success. You really need people who can work well together under the pressure of everything going wrong or just the simple day to day business. If you’re not the only person working the food truck, have your other staff interview the candidates, too. Have them run through a normal day with the candidates. You stand back and watch, not just to see if the candidate can DO the job, but how the current staff and the candidates interact together.
Your food truck staff can make or break your business. They can be your pride and joy or your nightmare. Taking the time to choose the right team members from all the candidates will give you the better experience of running your food truck or concession trailer business.