Keeping Food Truck Concepts Simple
Although failure rates for food trucks aren’t nearly as high as their brick and mortar counter parts they’re still high. Why are they so high? For a list of the 10 biggest reasons, see Why Do Food Truck Businesses Fail.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to discuss a key fundamental in food truck concept design, keeping it simple.
Big menus with too many items and multi-ingredient dishes are both symptoms of the same problem, over complicating your concept.
As a food truck owner, you may find yourself getting bored with traditional menu items. For you, eating at a food tuck should be an adventure. You may have to see or try something you’ve never seen before to be impressed.
This may be the underlying factor in why some food truck owners routinely go overboard when designing their concepts. They push their own sensibilities on the general public, not realizing that their tastes are the exception to the rule, and not indicative of the tastes of the public at large. Some food trucks think they need to present every dish possible to make out of the ingredients they already carry. If you have a larger selection, you’ll appeal to more people, right? Wrong.
Trying to please everyone leaves you unable to be defined. When you have menu items that represent too many styles of cuisine, your customers find it harder to describe you and recommend you. You find it harder to manage your mobile food business effectively and market your brand. You’re trying to stand for too many things at once. Cut out all the extras and keep it simple.
Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep your food truck concept simple.
Keep your menu small
This serves many purposes, a small menu is easier to control costs on, easier to prepare and order for, and easier to provide consistency with. By having a small menu, your service will be faster, your food quality will be better, and you’ll make more money. Keep your menu simple.
Keep your market simple
Don’t convince yourself that you want all people of all demographics to like your food truck business. It’s not going to happen. By going after “everyone”, you’ll end up with no one. Even if your style of cooking has mass appeal, your parking locations will determine who is most likely to come to your food truck. Identify those person’s age, income level, sex, marital status and religion. They are your target market whether you like it or not. If your concept doesn’t appeal to the people in your area, then you don’t have a feasible concept and you aren’t likely to succeed. Keep your demographic simple and focused.
Keep your menu items simple
When you have too many ingredients, and/or too many touches that need to be made to the dish after it’s ordered, before it goes out, you slow down the production of your food. A ticket will only go out as fast as it’s slowest dish. Keep your food simple and easy to produce. Let the ingredients be the stars and don’t lose them in a mish mash of flavors.
While this is the end of this short list, it’s not the end of the application of this fundamental philosophy of food truck concept design. Any time you have the opportunity to simplify your concept, take it. You’ll end up with something that is simpler to manage, simpler to market, and simpler to turn a profit with.