True Blood, HBO’s successful vampire horror, drama, romance, adventure, thriller television series is ramping up for its fifth season.
Although nearly everyone loves a good vampire story, many of the show’s die-hard fans feel it is dangerously close to “jumping the shark”. Others believe the show has peaked and is now nothing but an incoherent, supernatural soap opera of creature-upon-creature antics.
If you ran your food truck business the way the show’s producers run the town of Bon Temps, your company would probably be undead before sundown. Here are five basic business tips to follow so that your food truck doesn’t end up drowning in your own “True Blood.”
Don’t let chaos reign
The center of action for the show is Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, home to disgruntled waitresses, put-upon cooks, and bitter bartenders.
Waitresses quit or don’t show up for their shift on a regular basis. The staff bickers loudly in front of customers. In general, poor management on the part of the owner has made the bar a mess of a work environment. There is no accountability from either staff or management.
As a food truck owner, you don’t have to rule with an iron fist, but any business should have basic rules in place about expected employee duties, above-board accounting methods, and workplace safety.
The beer may be cheap, but Merlotte’s falls flat on every point.
Don’t overdo it
The universe of “True Blood” started out simple with a few vampires here and there, but soon the show grew at a lightning pace. Vampires begat shifters, which begat werewolves, which begat fairies, which begat witches, which begat … well, you get our drift. Viewers barely had an episode to digest whatever weird new creature was jumping up and down on the screen before an onslaught of new “tribes” began invading this tiny town.
Change can be good, in life and in your food truck business. But rapid change – without giving yourself the time to adjust to each new challenge can lead to trouble. Take it slow and grow when you feel you are ready. If you try to do too much, too fast, you’ll spread yourself too thin.
When you’re spread too thin as a small business owner, you can’t devote the time you need to each of your responsibilities, and the whole enchilada is in danger of collapsing under the weight of your desire for more, now. Start with vampires and focus on vampires for now.
Don’t get derailed
Viewers of this last season were rolling their eyes at Arlene’s potentially possessed baby, the werewolf relationship troubles of Alcide and what’s-her-name, and countless other meandering plots and sub-plots. The show got bogged down with too many uninteresting storylines and lost its focus on the characters fans have cared most about since the beginning: Sookie,Bill, Eric, Tara, Lafayette, and Jason.
Stick to the cornerstone of what makes your small business successful. It’s always a good business decision to explore new markets and new opportunities, but don’t flood your audience (your customers) with countless streams of sub-par offerings just to say you can.
Don’t be afraid to stick with what you do best as a business. Remember, that’s what got peoples’ attention in the first place.
Don’t offer customers the cheap stuff
The title of the series comes from the synthetic blood product vampires drink in order to slake their thirst for real human blood (which is now sold as an actual beverage).
But we all know there isn’t anything like the real thing.
When a customer wants a food product as cheap as they can get it, they’ll go to McDonalds. If they’re coming to you, chances are they’re in the market for quality — whether it’s quality food, quality service, or just a quality experience.
Your customers expect the best from you. Make sure you give it to them.
Don’t be afraid to edit your story
In the original book series, The Southern Vampire Mysteries, author Charlaine Harris made plenty of decisions that did not make it into the TV series. For example, Lafayette is killed off early on, and Tara and Sam never have a romantic encounter.
These changes weren’t random decisions, but instead storyline tweaks meant to keep the action going in a way that made the story better. And it’s not just vampires that need to adjust to changing realities.
If the “storyline” you’ve written for your mobile food business (your business plan) is no longer working, don’t be afraid to innovate. Have changes in the marketplace made your business model less viable than it was a few years ago? Or maybe you’re simply hearing a different story from customers about what they want. You’re the author of your own business, so don’t be afraid to rewrite the story as needed.