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competitive advantage

As the years go on, and the growth of the food truck industry expands and morphs, mobile food vendors more than ever need to scrutinize their operations and customer service to maintain a competitive advantage.

To survive the increasingly competitive industry in what seems to be a continual uncertain economy we offer these suggestions to help food truck and food cart vendors stay relevant in their market, maximize their profits and keep (or build one) their competitive advantage.

5 Tips To Keep Your Food Truck’s Competitive Advantage

Train Staff Members

Food truck owners and managers need to get their staff to stop waiting on customers and start selling.

We’ve seen too many servers only take orders instead of taking the opportunity to sell. Customers rely on servers to make the right suggestions and provide them a great experience. Also, when your staff is trained to upsell, you make more money. A satisfied customer will become repeat customer as well as a brand advocate.

RELATED: Food Truck Upselling Tips That Won’t Turn Off Customers

Create Strategic Alliances

In today’s mobile food industry, food trucks should make it a priority to reach as many local businesses as possible.

Partner with complementary businesses such as micro-breweries, bars, retail shops, local events and festivals. This is a highly effective way to get your food truck brand in front of more of your community.

Analyze Your Market

Consumer preferences and food truck technology are always changing. Vendors must constantly review their own operation, menu, and pricing along with their competitors.

Compare the pricing of your food suppliers, credit card processors, commercial kitchens and payroll providers annually (or more).

Put Good Systems In Place

Consistent kitchen procedures, portion control and food presentation each directly impact a food truck’s bottom line.

If you don’t have systems in place to maintain low cost consistency, it time to implement some. If you already have good systems in place keep an eye on them to avoid any setbacks.

Control Costs

We often discuss the ways of losing money as a food truck vendor, but there are several things you can do to cut potential losses by changing how you do business.

  • Know and understand your prime operating costs, including food and labor. Never give up on improving the numbers.
  • Conduct monthly cost comparisons. Compare your top inventory items and then price shop them with at least 2 different suppliers in your area.
  • Ensure maximum use of all ingredients by using them throughout your menu

We hope these suggestions keep your food truck’s competitive advantage rolling along. If you think we may of missed a suggest way to stay competitive in the mobile food industry, share your thoughts in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

thoroughfare food truck

GREENVILLE, SC - Greenville could get a regular food truck rodeo if ideas discussed at a recent meeting between city officials and food truck owners come to fruition.

The meeting was part of the city’s efforts to reassess the ordinance City Council passed in 2013 and to hear how food trucks in Greenville were doing.

“This was just to get some feedback from the food truck industry,” said Amy Ryberg Doyle, one of the members of city council who attended the meeting. “And they gave us some pretty honest feedback.”

About 12 food trucks were represented at the meeting, along with several city officials and city council members.

Doyle said she thought the meeting was a success, and was a good starting point from which to help food trucks grow in Greenville.

Food truck owners and operators seemed to feel the same about the meeting. Neil Barley, who owns ThouroughFare with wife, Jessica, said the meeting went “pleasingly well,” and commended Kai Nelson, director of city’s office of management and budget for listening to the food truck vendors and for presenting ideas for possible changes to the current food truck ordinance.

“Jes and I attended the meeting because we want to see improvements to the food truck scene, especially in the immediate downtown area,” Barley said in an e-mail following the meeting. “We know there are a handful of events that Greenville host’s every year and we personally think we could enhance those experiences at the events.”

Bo Wilder, of Henry’s Hog Hauler, said he felt reassured by the gathering, that there were members of City Council who were supportive of food trucks and receptive to the concerns of owners like himself.

Find the entire article at greenvilleonline.com <here>


BUFFALO, NY - There are more then a dozen food trucks in Buffalo but one local church is adding a new spin all to help the hungry and homeless in our communities.

True Bethel Baptist Church and Pastor Darius Pridgen are rolling out a new project, a new food truck named the “Bread of Heaven”. “What will be different about this food truck then every other truck, as long as True Bethel owns it we will never sell food, only give away food to those in need”, said Pridgen.

Pridgen says he’s working through permits with the city and hopes to have the food truck on the road by next month. “We wanted to do something different”, said Pridgen. The project will work with the food pantry at the church but is also open to donations.

Find the original article at wkbw.com <here>

customer lifetime value

How much is a customer worth to your food truck? An important customer performance metric every food truck vendors should know is customer value.  Whether you know it or not, your mobile food business spends a lot of money acquiring and retaining new customers.

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is be defined as the dollar value of a customer relationship, based on the present value of the projected future cash flows from the customer relationship.  Customer lifetime value is an important concept because you will start to shift your focus from quarterly profits to the long-term health of your customer relationships.

Consider the following customer value facts we’ve gained from internal food truck surveys:

  • The average food truck customer spends $7.83 per visit.
  • Loyal food truck customers visit a truck 1.9 times per month.
  • Loyal food truck customers will visit a food truck for 2.7 years.
Calculating Customer Lifetime Value

Using our industry data, we can now calculate the industry average CLV:

(Average Sale) X (Number of Transactions Per Year) X (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer)

$7.83 X 22.8 X 2.7 = $482 ($192.81 per year)

Now take your own data and figure out your truck’s CLV.

Now what? Now you have valuable information to use to determine future marketing plans. You have two options in deciding how much to spend to acquire new food truck customers.

Short term: Determine the amount you’re willing to spend per customer per campaign (as long as the cost is less than the profit you make on your first sale.

Long term: Determine the cost you’re willing to spend per customer while understanding you’ll take a loss on initial purchases.

Other ways to use this data for would be:

  • Share this information with employees so they can make better customer retention decisions.
  • Provide examples of the kinds of decisions they can make; refunds, exchanges, upgrades, and more.
  • Recognize when employees make good decisions and encourage them to keep it up.
  • Teach employees that make a bad decisions, help the employee feel good about trying to make the right decision and confident about what to the next time.

In short, you and your staff knowing and understanding the value of your customers makes a lot of business sense.

If we could ask anything from you it would be to manage each and every interaction you have with your food truck customers with their lifetime value in mind.

Also, if you would, please let us know in this vendor poll if you are currently or planning to start using this data to in your food truck business.

If you have any examples of how calculating the customer lifetime value (CLV) of your customers can help other food trucks tailor their marketing better, or any ideas on how to do it, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below, Tweet us or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

vendor poll

With the food truck industry continuing to grow we are on the look out to assist food truck vendors by collecting industry data. From time to time we run polls to gain industry information that truck owners can use to help better their customer service and the options that they provide to the communities that they serve. Other times our polls are set to find out general information “we” want to know.

In today’s featured article we delve into this topic and show you how to make customer lifetime value calculations if you don’t already track this information.

Our poll this week is to help us understand if mobile food vendors calculate their food truck customer lifetime value.

Do You Calculate Your Food Truck's Customer Lifetime Value?

View Results

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We would also ask owners to share the link to this poll with other owners in your area so we can gain as much data as possible. Once we have this information we will share the findings with our readers.