There are two basic ways for food trucks to increase sales: get new business or increase repeat business. We probably don’t need to get into the fact that it’s far easier and more cost effective to show existing customers how to consume and enjoy more of what you sell than it is to find new customers for your food truck business. You’d rather sell 100 things to 10 people than 100 things to 100 people, right?
So, as you plan your future mobile food sales strategy, start thinking about how you can get your current customers coming back for more because if you aren’t working to capture customers for life, you are letting money walk away from your truck. Don’t sell just once. Bring customers back again and again.
Most food truck owners agree with this concept; however fewer understand how to follow through with it. Some truck owners will offer a buy 10, get one free punch-card incentive, for example. This is fine and good, but this strategy usually puts all the pressure on customers. They have to work to be rewarded. They can’t sit back, eat and enjoy free stuff. They have to keep their card on hand and track their purchases.
Here are several other suggestions for helping customer retention:
- Make customers smile. Look at the neighborhood bar as an example. They have something going for them. There, you don’t have a drink ticket or a punch card. You saunter up to the bar and order your favorite adult beverage. After the bartender starts to know you or after you’ve ordered a few drinks, the bartender buys you one. You hear him say, “This one is on me.”
- Give customers’ brains a break. What about the airlines? Why don’t they put the miles on for you? Customers have miles scattered everywhere and can never seem to remember their frequent flyer member numbers. The airlines may have to change their system, but how difficult would it be to use a simple system we can remember, like our last name and phone number? The point is, serve customers. Don’t ask them to serve you. How do you create a system to help customers earn rewards instead of their having to keep track to get their rewards?
- Treat your best customers like stars. Start thinking about your customers as if they were celebrities. The interesting thing about being rich is you stop paying for things. In the fashion world, celebrities are given the most expensive gowns in which to walk the red carpet. Maybe you aren’t selling to celebrities, but you can treat your best customers like stars because they are the trendsetters walking up to your food truck service window and then telling others about you.
- Make your customers VIPs. How are you incentivizing your best customers? Start treating them like royalty. You want them eating everything you make, because when they do, they are going to go out and talk about it and probably even come back to buy more. Not only will you increase customer satisfaction, you also will get your best customers to try something new. They figure, if it’s good enough for their friend, it’s good enough for them.
So give the customers who already love you more reasons to love you. Give them a new reason to tell others about your food truck and keep those referrals coming. A little extra customer attention combined with a lot of service intention ultimately means many more sales for your mobile food business.