We have recently received a number of emails from food truck owners that want to get their customers involved in what they offer on their food truck menu. It’s a great topic and one we’ll cover today.
Marketing strategies are consistently evolving and food trucks seem to be taking the lead in this evolution. As many of you already know engaging your customers in a two-way conversation is a smart way to create loyal supporters and brand ambassadors for your mobile food businesses.
Since it has become increasingly simple to solicit customer ideas through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and even by email…it should be part of your food truck’s brand strategy. Not only will this give your customers a voice but it can also generate a lot of local media buzz about your truck.
So, how do you get your customers involved in creating items for your menu? Here are 5 ideas. For each of these, ideas can be submitted at your food truck on a contest form (via suggestion box), social media, or on your website. Heck, for that matter, why not all three?
- Recipe contest – Create a contest for a menu item where customers submit ideas and either a panel judges the winner or the winner is selected by a vote.
- Beverage contest - If you want to serve more than just the typical soda or water options create a form that collects information for beverage suggestions.
- Returning favorite – Ask customers if they would like to see a discontinued menu item make a comeback.
- Seasonal item – Create a contest for a seasonal item (try Spring since it’s right around the corner) that will be a limited time offer.
- A day in the kitchen – Develop a contest where the winner can co-create a dish with your food truck’s chef at your commercial kitchen.
Whatever avenue you choose to involve your customers in designing menu items, make sure that you actually follow through on the idea. Ask questions, listen and act. By opening up a conversation with your customers about your menu, you could learn a lot about your food truck. With an increased level of engagement, your customers may come up with ideas about other facets of your business, what they like and don’t like.
And don’t forget, any of these ideas can be leveraged as news items too. Depending on your market and the details of the contest it could be looked at as a great story for a blogger or the local newspaper’s food or business sections.
So have you already created menu items based on your food truck customer ideas? We’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.