Over the years, people have shown they are growing skeptical of paid advertising. These same people believe what they read in their local and national papers is more effective marketing, especially in regards to the mobile food industry. A news story or magazine article generates far more credibility than an ad ever will. Furthermore, for the cost of a newspaper ad, you could host a food truck event or put on a publicity stunt to create more crediblility.
Good mediums for exposure include the following:press that would reach a larger audience.
- Industry and trade publications
- Business journals
- Local newspapers
- Regional magazines
- Internet blogs
- Local radio stations
- Local television stations
Remember that press can be good or bad. If your product is not consistently of good quality, press will only hurt you. Before you begin any type of public relations campaign, you should make sure that the food that you serve from your truck or cart are in order.
Making Your Mobile Bistro Newsworthy
The best time for your small business to make the news is at the time of your truck’s opening. After that, according to industry experts, apart from changing your menu or the chef there is not going to be a vast amount of stuff that will be newsworthy. However, if you are creative, you can continue to create newsworthy stories long after the glamour of your grand opening has faded. Here are some ways to get in the news once the original launch has passed:
Food Truck Events
By hosting or even attending a food truck event, there is a good chance you will get a mention in the “events” section of the local newspaper, at the very least. Good ideas for events include fundraisers, concerts, tastings, competitions, community or school events, parties and classes.
Donate to Charity
Give a portion of your sales to a local charity or host a fundraiser. It is important that the community see your food truck or cart as a positive presence. You should work with the nearby community and consider donating something to local schools, campaigns and charitable events. Even if the donation does not get you any press, the community will notice, and some of them will thank you for it by following your truck, and spreading a good word about you to their friends and family.
Put on a Publicity Stunt
Some of the most famous publicity stunts have created a lot of national press. For example, Taco Bell offered everyone in America a free taco if the falling Mir space station hit their floating target. While you probably cannot pull a stunt of this magnitude, you can use guerrilla marketing techniques to get some press and incite local interest.
Make Creative Changes
Anything you can do to make yourself unique is potentially newsworthy. For example, you could get a lot of press by switching to eco-friendly operations and marketing a green food truck, or by introducing a radical new dish, to your menu. Other changes to consider include adopting a unique style of presentation, redesigning your truck’s wrap with a crazy new theme.
Offer to write a story or give a recipe to a local paper or magazine. Focus on getting in the “food” section. Create press releases or stories about your truck or cart. For example, a Spanish themed truck operation could promote itself through a story about the Spanish tradition of tapas. Perhaps your chef (you if that is applicable) has an interesting background, or maybe your menu offers a one-of-a-kind experience not seen from any of your competitors. There is bound to be something unique about your mobile food business, and getting your story out there is one of the best ways to propagate a marketing buzz that will attract both old and new followers and customers.
Impress a Food Critic
You should make a point to learn about the nation’s most famous food critics as well as any local or regional food critics. Give them a good reason to visit your food truck by offering a unique or especially perfect dish. If they do come to you, give them special treatment, but do not overdo it. Make sure that you serve them a quality meal. A bad review from a food critic will definitely hurt your business.
Getting press is probably the most effective way to market your food truck business. Do not make the mistake of spending all of your money on paid restaurant advertising, when a good PR campaign will bring a much bigger return on your investment.