Authors Posts by Richard Myrick

Richard Myrick

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Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.

social media networking

I speak with a lot of food truck vendors who still don’t get social media and the importance of social media networking. Four years ago when I started Mobile Cuisine vendors would use Twitter and Facebook for posting their next locations, but weren’t really sure what other purposes being on social media provided.

I’m glad to say that in these last four years things have changed and a large majority of food truck owners do get it and use social media networking as the tool it was designed to be.

With that said, there are still a few out there that still struggle to understand the importance that social media plays in the success of their mobile food business. Some will have a Facebook account, rarely post to it or only have that account. They’ll tell me they are happy with Facebook and find the Twitterverse too fast paced and thus don’t even have a Twitter account.

Unfortunately, simply posting occasional announcements about upcoming food truck stops is not social media networking and it’s not helping your food truck business. In fact, if that’s all you’re doing, it could be hurting you.

What’s worse, you’re not taking advantage of what could become the most powerful tool in your food truck’s marketing arsenal.

Why social media networking so important

You need to look at social media as the world’s biggest networking event and everyone’s there, including your competitors and potential food truck customers.

Imagine walking into a networking event, people are wandering around, engaging with people they know and being introduced to those they don’t. They’re talking about the local economy, how the weather is affecting their business or even the price of beef.

You get into a conversation and they ask what you do for a living. You might say, “I’ve got a food truck catering business that specializes in Italian sandwiches.” The person might say, “Wow, I’ve got a friend who has been looking for an Italian caterer. Let me introduce you!”

Now if that same conversation happened on a social network like Facebook or Twitter, the friend and others would be easy to make a virtual introduction to. They could even be “listening” to that conversation. That’s what makes social media so much more valuable as a marketing tool. You can be exposed to thousands more potential customers than you would through traditional styles of networking.

So you may wonder how this happens. It’s easy, social media users stay connected by “following” one another.

If I’m following you, I can see your social conversations. Post something that interests me and I might share it with my followers, who may also share it with their followers.

Before you know it, you and your food truck may be exposed to hundreds of thousands of strangers. Some of them will become your followers and, presto! Your food truck will have a growing audience.

What works in social media networking – and what doesn’t – are the same things that work when you’re networking in a hotel conference room:

Plan ahead

If you’re going to an event to network, you usually set goals. Maybe you want to find prospective customers or get people interested in a future food truck event.

You identify your target demographics and learn which people are influencers will be at the event, such as the local media, business owners and politicians. In social media networking, making the right moves gets a bit more complicated and involves a little more planning.

Don’t say the same thing

Repeatedly posting the same thing is like going to a network event and saying the same thing over and over. People will turn and quickly walk away from you. Instead, engage in conversations on a variety of topics.

Show off your personality

At a networking event, you smile, ask questions, maybe even tell some jokes, if that’s your personality and the personality you want your personal brand to reflect. Time and time again, it has been shown that people are drawn to people, not things, so let your personality shine.

Just remember to never try to be someone you’re not. People are smart and quickly lose trust of someone they feel is being dishonest about who they are.

Social media is a great way to build awareness of your food truck brand and cultivate prospective.

Do you have any advice to those still struggling to understand the importance of social media networking within the food truck industry? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

food truck kitchen equipment

Upgrading food truck kitchen equipment can be a tough task for food truck vendors who haven’t planned ahead. Even if your truck’s equipment is still working, you might want to upgrade to something that is more efficient or helps you expand your menu.

As long as you plan ahead, it doesn’t always have to cost a lot when upgrading food truck kitchen equipment.

5 steps to plan ahead for an unexpected kitchen equipment failure:

Set A Budget

Create a budget and a separate bank account that you only use for upgrading food truck kitchen equipment. The budget will tell you how much to set aside every week. While you may not have 100 percent of the money you need when it is time to upgrade, you’ll have a big chunk of it.

Set A Schedule

Take inventory of all of your equipment and the condition of each item. There usually isn’t a need for upgrading each piece of your food truck kitchen equipment all at once. Instead, pick one or two pieces per year and upgrade those pieces. If you bought a food truck that has a mix of old and new equipment, upgrade the oldest first, after upgrading anything that doesn’t work or cannot be brought to a “like new” condition.

Finding Replacement Equipment

Don’t think you have to go directly to a manufacturer if there is a specific brand of kitchen equipment you are looking for. The Internet has opened a lot options to food truck owners looking to save a buck. Just be careful, while a price may be hundreds cheaper at one store, that store may charge enough in fees for shipping that makes the equipment equal in price to another store.

Keep your eyes and ears open for restaurant and other food trucks that are closing. Often, you can find used kitchen equipment when another food business closes their doors. Also check restaurant supply stores that do not necessarily advertise heavy-duty kitchen equipment.

Financing vs. Cash

If you are able to find used or have set aside an account for kitchen equipment and can pay cash, you will save a ton on finance charges. If you do have to finance, be sure to compare interest rates. Sometimes the bank may have lower rates, and sometimes in-house financing with the company you are purchasing your equipment from might have lower rates.

Financing Option: Attend our co-hosted webinar of March 2nd or 3rd to find out about Bolstr, an online marketplace where food truck businesses can access up to $500,000 from accredited investors.  Click here to attend.

Warranties

If you are buying new equipment, you typically want to spend a little more for something with a better warranty. While it may cost you a couple hundred extra now, this could save your food truck business money in the long run.

If you are buying used equipment, check to see if the seller has a warranty and if they do, find out if it transfers (some warrantees do not transfer once sold).

By using a combination of saving and planning ahead, a food truck owner can save thousands of dollars when upgrading food truck kitchen equipment. Creating a long-term plan also keeps you from encountering any surprises. Checking for sales, watching for food service closing, keeping a separate savings account and budget for equipment, and upgrading a few pieces each year or two will not only save you money, but it will save you headaches and ensures that you have up-to-date, working food truck kitchen equipment at all times.

Have you recently gone through the process of upgrading food truck kitchen equipment for your mobile food business? Have any tips? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below, Tweet us or share your thoughts in our Facebook page.

bad food service

With winter weather providing many food truck owners with valuable free time they can use to train their service staff, we felt now would be a good time to write another article on this topic. Your service staff is the first contact with your truck a new customer makes. They need to shine and win these new customers.

The best way to do this is to consistently get small things right. Avoid these common bad food service habits to ensure great service and a memorable guest experience. This will help to set your food truck apart from the rest.

Common Habits Of Bad Food Service

Not Greeting Everyone

An empty, unattended service window is unprofessional and a negative first impression for customers walking up to your truck. Make it a must to greet all customers verbally and with a smile.

No Introduction

In the midst of a busy rush, many food truck service staff fail to make a quick initial introduction to the next customer in line. This is a mistake.

Once a customer walks up, servers should make it a priority to immediately acknowledge them even it’s just to say hello and introduce themselves by name.

Weak Menu Knowledge

Knowing the menu is the service staff’s number one job. It’s more important than charisma and even trumps their ability to sell. The response “I don’t know” should never happen.

If your staff doesn’t know what’s on the menu how can they can’t effectively sell it? In addition to discussing additions to the menu in pre-shift meetings, use that time to challenge service staff to demonstrate how they plan to sell the day’s specials.

Not Providing Favorites

Many customers who walk up to your food truck will be often be first timers who don’t know what sets your truck above the rest. If your service staff doesn’t inform customers and suggest customer and personal favorites, the truck is losing sales and your customers are likely receiving an ordinary experience at your food truck.

Food truck staff members should always suggest their own favorites. The purpose of service staff learning your menu is to give them the confidence to make authentic, educated recommendations about what a customer may enjoy.

Letting Hot Food Sit

Food truck customers typically expect their order under 5 to 10 minutes. Longer than this and many will become annoyed. Food will also cool the longer it sits or can easily overcook if left under heat lamps for too long. Make it a priority and team effort to move hot orders out the window once they are ready.

Not Acknowledging Mistakes and Solving Immediately

Mistakes are inevitable and at times common for food trucks with a long line. It is how mistakes are approached and solved that determines if a customer will give you repeat business. Common sense goes a long way in effectively resolving issues that arise with your customers. Remember to treat your customers the way you prefer to be treated when your role switches to that of a customer.

Do you have any additional bad food service staff habits you’ve learned to avoid? If so, feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

cash control

Despite the continued increase of food trucks accepting credit cards (72% as per our poll last year), many food trucks still take in hundreds of dollars of cash each day.

Cash Control In Your Food Truck

To accept cash on your truck you also need to keep additional cash on board, specifically for for making change. Without a good cash control system in place, food truck vendors often find themselves wondering if all of this cash is finding its way to their bank account and eventually to their mobile food business’ bottom-line.

While, there are many best practices for cash control, one often overlooked practice is to keep a separate cash on hand account with a set amount and never mix it with cash receipts.

The cash on hand account typically consists of bills and change needed for the cash drawer, a backup change fund and optionally a separate petty cash fund. These funds must be kept separate from daily sales receipts and must be large enough for conducting business in between shifts or having to send an employee to make a bank run for additional change.

Whoever maintains the cash control in your food truck operation should be issued a fixed amount for their cash drawers prior to their shift. As additional change is needed the owner or manager simply exchanges larger bills from the cash drawer for change from the change fund, leaving the total amount of cash in the drawer and the change funds unchanged.

At the end of their shift the cashier separates the beginning cash drawer from the rest of the cash and the manager returns it to the safe for use on another shift. The cash receipts are then matched against the register report and added to the daily bank deposit.

Do you have any additional cash control tips you’d like to share with our readers? If so, please feel free to add them to the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

annoying-social-media-habits

It doesn’t take polling to tell food truck vendors that more Americans are spending more time on social media. Social media isn’t going anywhere and if you’ve missed the meme, your food truck’s online presence needs to be an big part of your marketing strategy.

In recent weeks we’ve been asking vendors about social media and over 90 percent use social media to drive growth for their food truck business. Not only that; over 75 percent of those polled told us that they’ve gained new customers through their social media marketing.

There is no denying social media is a great tool for interacting with current and prospective food truck customers. Unfortunately, just posting something on a social media platform for the sake of being active online isn’t enough. If you aren’t careful with the content and way you post you can quickly earn an unfollow or unlike. Worse yet, as you lose followers and likes, you will start seeing a loss in revenue.

5 Annoying Social Media Habits To Avoid:

Always Selling

The first of our annoying social media habits is one of the worst social media mistakes a food truck can make. Social media is a way to start a conversation, and who wants to talk with a salesman? Posting only when you have something to promote is a quick way for your truck to lose a like or follower.

In between your sales pitches include photos of your food or truck, inspirational quotes, blog posts, links to articles about the mobile food industry in your market.

Overposting

Posting the same type of messages multiple times a day is a sure-fire way to alienate your audience. Nobody is saying to stop posting your next truck stop, but nobody wants to see a dozen photos a day of menu items from the food truck they just followed on Twitter.

Lack of Original Content

Your customers need to know you’re interesting enough to follow. Only retweeting other people’s messages or posting articles from other sites doesn’t tell your customer what your food truck business is about. Instead, focus on creating original content, such as a blog post on your food truck website.

No Clear Strategy

Posting random links and content just to put something up is never a good idea. Create a calendar of posts you want to filter in between your truck location posts.

Conduct a survey of your current customers (likes and followers) to create a strategy centered on what they want to know about your mobile food business.

Unnecessary Tagging

The last of our annoying social media habits comes from recent changes that have made it easier for Facebook users to tag others in their photos. Our advice, don’t do it!

Not only is this is bad social form but it’s a fast way to annoy customers and quickly earn an unfollow. The simple rule, never tag people in photos that are not directly associated with them.

Do you have other annoying social media habits you’d like to see ended? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

food truck newsletter

Loyal customers love to keep up-to-date with their favorite food trucks. Mobile food vendors have the unique opportunity to communicate with their customers via newsletters. They show your customer base that care about your employees and customers to go above and beyond when it comes to communications.

First and foremost – decide whether you should implement a hard copy, email version, or both. You can use the same content across both of these platforms. Have in-house copies for customers to snag when leaving your service window. Ask loyal customers if they would prefer to receive an exclusive e-newsletter with special coupons or perks.

10 tips to creating an effective food truck newsletter for your customers:

Regular Communication

In order to be perceived as credible, you must communicate regularly and consistently. A monthly or bi-monthly newsletter is appropriate for most mobile food operations. You can adjust the quantity based on the amount of content you can generate without adding an extra element of work or stress to yourself. However, once you decide, do your best to keep true to your pattern of posting. Consumers prefer to know what to expect, so try your best to cater to their expectations.

Visually Pleasing

Add photographs of events, customers, chefs, or specials of the month. Also consider implementing snapshots of your Facebook or Twitter feeds highlighting customers’ positive feedback or a positive rave about a particular dish on the menu.

Be sure the layout is aesthetically pleasing as well. For branding purposes, utilize the food truck’s colors and logo. Find the perfect balance between content and photos. Content heavy pieces are less likely to be read than those that have a combination of both photos and writing.

Make it Easy to Digest

In addition to the layout being visually pleasing, break up text-heavy sections by utilizing bullet points of subheadings. The content should be readable, using average language and avoiding jargon.

If your readers are overwhelmed, they will bypass these sections, regardless of how rich or engaging the content may be.

Clickable Links

Make your newsletter as user friendly as possible by making your links clickable. For example, always have your Facebook or Twitter accounts linked on your e-newsletter.

Make sure you always add a link to your menu. If there is not enough space to upload photographs from an event, you can add a hyper linked keyword that directly links to an ancillary photo site, such as a Flickr account. If you have been featured on Mobile-Cuisine.com or a local blog, link to it.

Social Media Icons

Always include any social media platforms you are a member of, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and or Foursquare. Even if it is not an e-newsletter, add small icons that represent these sites along with the URL. They will remind your customers that you have a presence on these various social media platforms.

Probe them to interact with you by providing an incentive such as a check-in on Foursquare. For example, checking-in 5 times unlocks 10% off of your meal.

Add Boilerplate Info

Your food truck has a history, even if it be short and sweet. Give your mobile food business a little personality by adding a brief, but interesting background of your truck.

List Upcoming Events and Specials

Dedicate a section of your food truck newsletter – preferably the same location for consistency purposes – that lists upcoming events and the specials of the week or month if you have planned them out in advance.

If possible, include photos to entice customers to join you for the next special menu item or event. Spice up your descriptions and vary your content to keep readers engaged.

Include a “Spotlight” Section

Food truck customers love a human element to writing pieces. Make your star employees and customers feel special by adding a “Spotlight” section.

You can create a Q & A interview, feature article, biography or simply a “Getting to know____” to create a more humanized feel to your food truck newsletter.

Call-to-Action

As mentioned previously, give your readers a reason to not only read your article, but also go a step beyond. For example, if customers sign up for an e-newsletter, they will receive 5% off their next visit or a free meal on their birthday.

Add a hidden code to bring to your food truck for an exclusive deal only offered to those who read the newsletter.

Be Creative

Your customers are your brand ambassadors, so maximize your resources. If you have given them a reason to love your food truck, they will continue to be an advocate for you.
Ask them to forward the newsletter to a new friend and they will receive a free appetizer or dessert.

Customers love to be informed and feel as if they are a part of your family; therefore, the main purpose of your newsletter is to engage with your customers in a different way, while still leveraging it as a marketing ploy. Food truck newsletters are a fairly cost-effective and unique way to communicate with employees and customers alike.

Do you have anything else to add to this list that you include in your food truck newsletter? If so, share your thoughts in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

food truck food cost

Outside the initial investment for your vehicle, food truck food cost is typically the highest reoccurring expense involved in the running of your mobile business.

In order to keep food cost percentage at a manageable rate, we have come up with a list of tips you can follow.

food truck food cost

8 Tips For Controlling Food Truck Food Cost

Keep an eye on your profits and losses: When you know what profits you are bringing in as well as the fixed expenses affecting your food truck, you can better evaluate your options and see where you can cut costs.

Conduct inventory consistently: Regular and thorough inventory counts will help you stay in control of your usage and the costs associated. This is especially important for high-cost items.

Price menu items properly: When you price your menu items reasonably, your customers will continue to pay you and you will make a profit on your products. (Keep an eye out on a future article on this topic)

Portion food correctly: Be sure to serve food in portions that doesn’t become wasted.  If you keep an eye on your trash receptacle, see if your customers are throwing away food they are too full to eat. If there tends to be a lot of food being discarded, you may be over-portioning your meals.

Rethink the garnish: Garnishes often consist of fancy fruits or layers of fresh lettuce which add visual appeal but are rarely eaten. Use less expensive food items or remove garnishes entirely to save on food costs.

Keep a record of all food waste: Use a waste chart to write down any foods that are made incorrectly, thrown away or spilled. Failing to record this “usage” will skew inventory reports and throw off your food cost percentage.

Be consistent with food purchases: Consistency with food purchases comes with time but can help you to anticipate expenses from week to week and keep your food costs steady.

Build a rapport with your suppliers: Once you are in business a while, your suppliers will get to know your regular food orders and you will become familiar with the cost of your purchased goods. Be sure you stay in communication with your suppliers in case of any problems with food quality or any issues with food prices.

We hope you found this article helpful, and if you have any additional suggestions for food truck food cost savings, please feel free to add them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

food truck payroll

Running a food truck is a business model that usually requires more than one person. As a food truck owner, it will become quickly evident that you cannot run your mobile business on your own. Because of this, you will need to hire employees to assist you in your day to day food truck operation.

Unless you have come up with a way of hiring staff members without having to pay them, there are a few things that you are going to have to be aware of to legally hire these individuals. Many of these steps are required even if you are going to be a one person show, while others will become a requirement as soon as you plan to expand your staff from 1.

9 Steps To Setting Up Your Food Truck Payroll System

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Before hiring employees, you need to get an employment identification number (EIN) from the IRS. The EIN is often referred to as an Employer Tax ID or as Form SS-4. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that IRS assigns in the following format: XX-XXXXXXX. The EIN is necessary for reporting taxes and other documents to the IRS. In addition, the EIN is necessary when reporting information about your employees to state agencies. You can apply for an EIN online or contact the IRS directly.

Check Whether You Need State/Local IDs. Some state/local governments require businesses to obtain ID numbers in order to process taxes.

Independent Contractor or Employee – Know the Difference

Be clear on the distinction between an independent contractor and an employee. In legal terms, the line between the two is not always clear and it affects how you withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment taxes. As required by law, You will need to withhold payroll taxes from your employees checks, FICA (Social Security), SWH (State Withholding), FWH (Federal Withholding), SDI (State Disability Tax), Medicare, and FUTA (Unemployment Insurance Tax).

Take Care of Employee Paperwork

New employees must fill out Federal Income Tax Withholding Form W-4. Your employee must complete the form and return it to you so that you can withhold the correct federal income tax from their pay.

Set a Pay Period

You may already have a manual process for this, but setting up a pay-period (whether monthly or bi-monthly) is sometimes determined by state law with most favoring bi-monthly payments. The IRS also requires that you withhold income tax for that time period even if your employee does not work the full period.

Carefully Document Your Employee Compensation Terms

As you set up payroll for your food truck employees, you’ll also want to consider how you handle paid time off (not a legal requirement), how you track employee hours, if and how you pay overtime, and other business variables.

Don’t forget that other employee compensation and business deductibles such as health plan premiums and retirement contributions will also need to be deducted from employee paychecks and paid to the appropriate organizations.

Choosing a Payroll System

Payroll administration requires an acute attention to detail and accuracy, so it’s worth doing some research to understand your options. Start by asking fellow business owners which method they use and if they have any tips for setting up and administering payroll.

Typically, your options for managing payroll include in-house or outsourced options. However, regardless of the option you choose, you — as the employer — are responsible for reporting and paying of all payroll taxes.

Running Payroll

Once you have all your forms and information collated, you can start running payroll. Depending on which payroll system you choose, you’ll either enter it yourself or give the information to your accountant.

Record Keeping

Federal and some state laws require that employers keep certain records for specified periods of time. For example, W-4 forms (on which employees indicate their tax withholding status) must be kept on file for all active employees and for three years after an employee is terminated.  You also need to keep W-2s, copies of filed tax forms, and dates and amounts of all tax deposits.

Report Payroll Taxes

There are several payroll tax reports that you are required to submit to the appropriate authorities on either a quarterly or annual basis. If you are in any way confused about your obligations, take a look at the IRS’s Employer’s Tax Guide, which provides some very clear guidance on all federal tax filing requirements. Visit your state tax agency for specific tax filing requirements for employers.

There are many payroll companies you can hire to do your taxes and file your reports. You can have your accountant do this for you or you can buy payroll software and do it yourself.

Please note that its always best to consult with your lawyer and/or account to help you get set up and to make sure you are in compliance with all laws and regulations.

If you have any additional tips to setting up a food truck payroll system, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Social Media Engagement

Social media is an awesome marketing tool that allows mobile food vendors to reach customers and show off what their trucks have to offer. However, many food truck owners aren’t seeing the success on social media they’d like.

Many of your prospective customers are on social media, and they expect food trucks to be there as well. So what’s the problem with your social media engagement?

Here are 5 Reasons People Aren’t Following Your Social-Media Accounts And What To Do About It
Food trucks aren’t where customers want them to be

Different consumer groups are looking for food trucks on different platforms, with the majority expecting food trucks to be present on Facebook and Twitter.

When creating accounts on those platforms, consider which customer demographic is and what social media platform they use.

Audiences don’t know you exist

It’s not enough to simply have social media accounts. Vendors need to update them regularly, post new content and interact with their followers.

You don’t need to be on every social media platform out there. In fact, it’s better to be present on just a few (we recommend Facebook and Twitter) and use them properly than being everywhere and providing poor updates and content.

There’s no reason for customers to follow

What reason do customers have to follow a food truck on social media? Do they post upcoming parking locations? Can they find out about upcoming food truck events? Can they get questions answered? Use social media to make followers feel personally involved with your food truck brand.

Consider what audiences are looking for in social media and give them a reason to connect with your food truck.

Content is the same across platforms

It’s pretty obvious when you copy and paste the same content to multiple social-media platforms. However, what works well for Facebook may not translate over to Twitter, and customers can usually tell when everything is the same.

It’s fine when the content overlaps, as long as it stays consistent with your brand. Just make sure that certain type of content are shared on the social media platform they are designed for.

Your social media engagement is robotic

If the only thing you post are automated parking locations, it can be off-putting to your fans and followers. Your food truck needs to have a voice that comes across as real and relatable. The best part of social media is the ability to have fun with it and connect with your customers.

How do you increase the social media engagement with your food truck customers? We’d love to hear about in the comments section below or Tweet us or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

food truck concept

Do you have an awesome food truck concept? If you are like most of the prospective food truck vendors I’ve spoken with over the years, you have a problem moments after you come up with the initial idea.

Your conceptual food truck concept stalls. It becomes a passing thought or a series of notes in your journal until that initial enthusiasm wanes. Then, a few months later, you see your wonderful concept parked on the street with a line a block long.

Don’t feel too bad, you aren’t the only one. Ideas stall because the process of getting them to reality can seem overwhelming.

Here are 5 steps to validating your food truck concept:

Research

When I hear that someone has a great food truck concept, I jump on my computer and within minutes can often find an existing truck with a similar concept with a simple search on Google. Before you rest your vending future on an idea, save yourself some time and do a thorough search to find out if it already exists.

Now, if you find it does, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on it. Consider the ways you can put your unique spin on it, what type of food products can you serve that might be different. Could the market prefer your truck? If you answered “yes,” move to the next step.

Look for feedback

Talk to people about your food truck concept, especially people you trust. You need brutally honest feedback. Don’t get stuck on your idea, listen to the feedback and if you are the only person who truly thinks the concept is good, then it is time to reassess.

Build an MVM

Once you get positive feedback from an honest and trusted person, then consider developing an MVM, or minimum viable menu, to determine if it is a menu that others would want to order from. Build a small 3 or 4 item menu and perfect the recipes and presentation.

Once you have the MVM, reach out to friends, family and people who can provide valuable feedback on the taste and appearance of your menu items. If the food turns out to be something you and your friends would never really order, scrap the idea.

Start building your identity

If your taste testing goes well and you feel that you might have a winning food truck concept, start building a brand around it. In today’s mobile food industry, a menu concept that you validate today can become an old, tired menu selection tomorrow, so don’t start slowing down.

At this point, some people will start panicking that should they reveal their concept it could lead to someone stealing it. While this is a valid concern, you should move ahead with the thought that someone will eventually steal it or develop it with their own personal spin, so the key to success will be to be first into your market.

Now is the time to focus on building your food truck brand.

Start by choosing a great name and securing the website domain to create, at a minimum, a sharp business landing page. Next, secure your business name with every social-media platform you can. Even if you don’t use them, it protects you from others squatting on them. Now it’s time to start leveraging these resources to build a fan base for your food truck.

Consider your customer acquisition plan

Before you start writing your food truck business plan, focus on two questions:

  • How do I get my first food truck customer?
  • How do I continue to get food truck customers?

You may be able to stitch together the best food truck business plan ever written, but without customers, your food truck is will fail. Create a thoughtful customer acquisition plan and marketing strategy and be prepared to explain them to anyone that will ever read your business plan. Why? It’s likely be one of the first questions they ask.

Once you have validated your food truck concept, it will be much easier to proceed to the next steps of taking your concept from idea to reality.

Do you have any additional tips for prospective food truck vendors who need to validate their food truck concepts? If so, Please share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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