While it’s Basic Business 101 to have contingency plans set in place for when things go wrong. But, conversely, as a new food truck owner are you prepared for growth and success?
What if it turns out your positive expectations were too conservative? What if an unexpected local celebrity endorsement sends demand for your menu soaring? On a more practical note, as the economy shows signs of turning around, are you ready for what that will mean for your food truck operation?
Here’s what you need to do to be prepared for the growth of your food truck empire:
To prepare for something, you have to know what it is and how you’ll recognize it. Growth is more than just hitting a set of customer sales numbers; it’s a package that includes changes to your company in terms of operations, production, staffing and facilities. In addition, think about what growth means to you personally. What will your life be like when your mobile food company grows and profits increase? How hard are you going to have to work? Are you ready and willing to do what it takes?
Get comfortable being in the spotlight
Successful food truck owners of growing trucks are almost always in the spotlight to some degree; maybe not always to the general public but certainly within your industry and with your employees. Be prepared for a level of attention that you probably haven’t received before.
Hire people based on where you want to be, not where you are
The team that can successfully run a 50K company is not the same team that can run a 250 – 500K company. If your goal is growth, hire people who can perform in the size company you want to be; they’ll help you get there.
Put the right people in the right places
The right people doing the right jobs is absolutely critical to sustain growth in your food truck operation. Whole person assessments and job bench marking will allow you to take a systematic approach to hiring and career development, which will reduce your mis-hires and employee turnover.
Take care of your staff
Your employees are what keep your mobile food business successful. Recognize and reward that. Working in a fast paced industry such as mobile food is stressful and challenging. Take note of your employees’ work and respond appropriately, or risk losing top talent. Create an environment where people are willing to work through the growing pains. In addition, take care of your suppliers, professional advisers and anyone else who can have an effect on your operation.
Listen to the experts
You may be an expert in your business, but you don’t know it all. What’s more, there often will be experts who know more about particular parts of an industry than the insiders. Identify the experts, listen to them and learn from them. Let them help smooth out your learning curves and keep you on your growth track.
Stay close to your customers
No food truck can do without customers, and if you don’t stay close to them, you’ll lose them. Know what they need, but more important, know what they want and do everything you can to give that to them. Most important, communicate. Never let your customers wonder what’s going on. Tell them; whether it’s good or bad.
Focus on your core business
Stick to the business you know best. Be sure any diversification or product line expansion you do makes sense. If it has nothing to do with your core food truck business don’t get into it just because it seems like a good opportunity. Otherwise, you’ll you confuse your customers and your employees; and you’ll likely find that dividing your efforts reduces the quality and profitability of everything.
Just as most food truck vendors plan for when things go wrong, you must also plan for when things go well. When you’re prepared for growth, you better can manage the changes it brings and let it take you to the goal you set when you first started your food truck business.