Do you read your food truck reviews that pop up on sites such as Yelp? If you don’t; you need to!
Since the mobile food industry is still very new, the Internet has always been integral to the management of a food truck business. Unfortunately, too many vendors ignore online reviews that are written about them. This is a major mistake and can undermine all the hard work and energy that it takes to develop a strong relationship with your customers. Even the best food trucks are subjected to critical, baseless reviews, and from time to time, every food truck can have a bad day.
For these reasons, it is critical that food truck owners know what is being said about them. Positive and negative reviews can help you fine-tune your menu and increase the level of service you and your staff members provide. In the end, a few minutes on the Internet every few days for mentions of your mobile food business is a low-cost, high-reward activity that in my opinion is a necessity.
Food Truck’s Reputation Management
We can all shake our heads about it, but reputation management is essential to the mobile food industry. In the era of food trucks, most potential customers scan online reviews and comments to determine if it’s worth their time to track you down. People want to know what they’re spending their time and money on before walking up to your service window.
A shaky online reputation has undermined more than a few food trucks. A few unkind reviews on a review sites can discourage hundreds of people over the course of a month, especially if those reviews go without a response from you.
Get Out in Front
A good response to online reviews demonstrates to customers that you’re serious about correcting problems and taking care of customers who have bad experiences. A response can also point out issues that reframe the complaint into something that’s not your truck’s fault. Getting out in front of problems should always be part of your food truck, and nowhere is it more important than with online reviews.
Reach Out to Customers
Responding to reviews adds to the type of dialogue that the food truck industry was built on and demonstrates a level of commitment to customers who read it.
Face to face feedback from customers is not always an easy thing to do if you have just enough staff to keep taking orders and getting them out the service window. But if you can conduct them, do it. Online reviewers typically don’t pull punches and may even exaggerate or focus on what you consider minor points.
Reviews can be positive and fun to read. Reading a glowing online review can make your day, and it’s helpful to post these in the truck for employees to see, especially when they tout the work of someone who is deserving of praise.
Minimize The Pain
There are a few ways to help minimize the threat of logging on one day and seeing a spate of newly posted reviews throwing your business under the bus. A few of them include:
- Visit with customers as much as possible during service (this is going to be determined on staff levels)
- Tuck comment cards into to-go bags
- Ask customers about their experience as they leave (again, a tough thing to do if you are a solo operation)
- Follow up with negative feedback or comment cards
Most negative reviews are a result of a bad experience you don’t know about. If you can provide potential complaints an outlet before it makes it to the Internet helps minimize this threat. Be sure to take online reviews seriously to prevent a series of bad ones, the best way to do this is to read your food truck reviews and understand what is being said about your food truck business.