While expanding a single food truck into a fleet is the goal of many food truck owners, it’s not a simple task. Running multiple food trucks involves creating a simplified management process, delegating responsibilities to truck managers and building a team to handle the demands of daily operations.
Knowing how to run a food truck doesn’t guarantee success in managing fleet of trucks because owners can’t always spend enough time at each truck to ensure that things run smoothly in each.
Success in expansion of your mobile food business depends on the building on your food truck concept and not in the truck. Mobile food vendors who prefer greeting customers or preparing food must first devote time to organizing a standard process that addresses most of the food truck business duties and hiring the right people to undertake these jobs. Simplified management strategies include the following ideas:
- Subscribe to a multiple-unit POS system that handles the demands of running multiple food trucks smoothly.
- Use of common ingredients and menus in all trucks so that managers can use standardized inventory and costing systems.
- Special menu items can be produced in your commissary and distributed to all of the trucks (unless of course your fleet will be in cities far away from each other).
- Take advantage of local sourcing and warehouse-type stores for buying inventory by using a van to make regular or daily trips and deliveries to each food truck commissary.
- Use electronic communications to speed decisions and collaborate among separate trucks.
Create systems that handle every aspect of food truck management. Unified systems can handle hiring, inventory control, training, establishing employee conduct, dealing with customer complaints, filing reports and assigning responsibilities for food preparation, service, truck safety, cleaning and maintenance.
Systems run food truck businesses effectively, but vendors must hire the right people to run them and train workers in their duties. Strategies for success include fostering better communications between owners and managers, customers and managers and workers and supervisors.
- Web cams enable people to see each other and demonstrate how to handle maintenance tasks or complex culinary procedures.
- Regular or weekly staff meetings give people opportunities to air grievances, solve problems and make suggestions.
- Owners should regularly visit each truck to interact with employees and customers.
- Create a uniform code of conduct, and organize guidelines for hiring and firing that managers understand thoroughly.
Owners of multiple food trucks need to devote time to each of the trucks in their fleet, but giving managers and workers time and attention is critical for success. Managing each truck remotely leads to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, so focus on maintaining regular communications with your staff teams.
Hiring the right managers, and creating a standard operational plan for all food trucks not only helps owners handle multiple trucks but also increases profits. Taking time to create a management system and training managers to hire, fire and manage operations will also improve customer service.
This will allow owners to spend more time interacting with customers, identifying new business opportunities and supporting community initiatives when they don’t spend all their time on the day to day operation tasks of their trucks.
If you are the owner of a food truck fleet, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our tips or any additional tips that could help those interested in expanding from one food truck.