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Food Truck

increase food truck sales

An easy way to increase food truck sales numbers is through the presentation to your customers and the words you use.

You know when you step up to a food truck or walk into a restaurant and reading the description of a menu item makes you drool? The dish you just have to order because of how great it sounds? That is exactly what you want to happen when someone walks up to your truck.

Make effective use of adjectives and enticing descriptions to explain each menu item, especially higher-priced items. Your description need to makes people’s mouths water at the thought of eating your food.

Include mouth-watering descriptions to describe everything from soups, appetizers and desserts, as ordering these items helps boost each customer’s check.

Increase Food Truck Sales Through Menu Descriptions

Some may say, “It’s just coffee!”  Instead try, “It’s hot, freshly brewed coffee.”

You say “cheesecake.”  Try this, “Our rich, creamy New York style cheesecake that’s topped with strawberry syrup.”

You say it’s your “soup of the day.” You could say, “It’s our original homemade vegetable soup.”

Which is the way you or your service window staff present your menu offering? By adding descriptive words into your sales presentation, your customers will have a better picture of what you’re selling. And, if you do it right, they’ll end up ordering whatever you want them to order.

Words As Metaphors For Taste

Your menu can help increase food truck sales, more than anything else.

Here are a few tips:

  • Be as specific as possible as you write the descriptions of food items. You have to convey tastes, smells, emotions and overall feeling while enjoying the food.
  • Get the reader excited to learn more about the food item. You want to entice the reader to want the item immediately.
  • It should seem that no other item on that menu can have an effect similar to the one particular item that you are reading about.

These are the keys to making your menu increase food truck sales even more so than any advertising.

Do you implement special words or phrases when describing your menu items to help you increase food truck sales? We’d love to hear some of your favorites. You can share them via email, Twitter or Facebook.

do you need change

As a food truck enthusiast and someone who covers the industry daily, I spend a lot of time in food truck lines and I have seen good service, I have seen absolutely spectacular service and I have seen down right awful service.

Today’s Customer Service Tip of the Day comes from the service I saw at a local food truck a couple of months ago.

Do You Need Change?

The customer in front of me had a bill for $12.50. They promptly handed the service window attendant a $20 bill. What happened next took me back…the server asked, “Do you need change?” Huh? Were they really angling for a $7.50 tip?

What’s worse in my opinion was that the customer wouldn’t have gotten back something even close to what they might if they left a 20% tip. In this case it makes the customer feel stingy for not leaving a nearly 80% tip.

If you are a food truck owner you should be training wait staff that the correct phrase would be “$7.50 is your change” while extending the change back to them. This gives the customer the opening to say “That’s OK” if they intend for them to keep everything.

As an owner or manager, when a server picks up a cash payment, and asks the guest “Do you need change?”. They might as well say “Can I keep the change for my tip?”. You need to train your staff to look the guest in the eye and state “Your change will be [insert amount here]” and give them the chance to say “OK” or “Keep the change”.

In today’s food truck world, we’d be curious to know if any of your servers have made the mistake of asking, “Do you need change?” and what your reaction has been. You can share your thoughts with us via email or share on Twitter or Facebook.

social media relevance

Many food truck owner forays into social media yield nothing more than wasted time and effort. Before you establish your food truck Twitter account or start a Facebook page, step back and think about what messages will be to create social media relevance to and for your customers.

Of course you want to send out your next location or your special of the day/week, but if your other communications aren’t useful or interesting

to them, you might as well be tweeting into a black hole.

Start by understanding the conversations that are already happening around your food truck. Then craft messages accordingly.

Before sending anything out, ask yourself:

  • What value does this message carry for our customers?
  • What action are we hoping to inspire?

If you don’t have a clear answer to each of these questions, it’s time to return to the drawing board.

Why Social Media Relevance Matters

Here are 3 reasons why relevant content on your social media channels matter.

  • Relevant content adds value to the conversation
  • Relevant content is authentic
  • Relevant content positions your food truck as a trusted industry advisor

Building and fostering a healthy social media community; establishing trust and becoming believable takes time before seeing any positive results. Because of this, your social media relevance will be based on the content you provide. The days of a food truck merely posting their next location are over.

How have you and your food truck provided social media relevance to your brand? We’d love to hear your stories. You can email them them, or share them via Twitter or Facebook.

restaurant closings

Restaurant closings happen on a daily basis. This is the hard part of starting a dining establishment, but where is the proof that food trucks are causing financial distress to brick and mortar establishments causing restaurant closings? We’ve yet to find any.

Day after day, and article after article, the consistent theme written by the mainstream media is the same. When brick and mortar restaurant owners are discussing their various points against food trucks and other mobile food vendors it appears to be that these mobile eateries are the cause of numerous restaurant closings. Or at least that’s what they say.

Restaurant Closings Due To Food Trucks?

Unfortunately, it appears the mainstream media has taken these comments by restaurant owners as fact, and consistently publish them as if they were the truth without any type of follow up question to verify these claims.

We all know the country has been in a recession since 2008 and restaurant goers have less disposable income to spend on going out to eat, but to tie fewer sales at a fine dining establishment to food trucks who serve gourmet tacos or grilled cheese sandwiches seems a bit far-fetched to us. Has there been a study released that shows that those who choose to eat out have chosen food carts over restaurants? Have any of the closing eateries tracked their sales since food trucks have begun operating in their areas?

Our main question is this, who and where are all of these restaurants that have been forced to close their doors due to the traffic of food trucks in their city? In researching this question, we have scoured the internet looking for some proof that this is happening. From Los Angeles to San Francisco, from New York to Miami we were unable to find a single case where a restaurant closed based on the fact that they were run out of town by food trucks, food carts or even street vendors. Yes there have been numerous restaurant closings since the start of this recession, but at the same time we found that for every closing there appeared to be at least one restaurant opening in those areas in the last year.

Cities across the country are currently looking at food trucks and other mobile vendors to help spark their floundering economies and restaurant owners seem to come out en mass when the discussions start. What we would like to see happen, is instead of the politicians taking the restaurant owners word that food trucks will force them to close, is for them to ask these owners to provide backup to their claims. Instead of allowing these restaurant lobbies to stifle competition with government backing, ask them to show statistics of cities where trucks and carts have been operating to prove their point.

Before the local newspaper writes an article describing the fear and frustration of the restaurant association, instead of assuming what they are giving you as fact can actually be backed up by proof, not opinion. Not that they should need to be reminded, but news agencies should verify the information they print to make sure it is factual.

Honest debate should always be part of the due diligence done by municipalities before writing laws which open up new avenues for mobile vendors to operate. The big problem is that one of the first talking points used by restaurant owners in the debate is false or yet to be proven.

If you are a restaurant owner that was forced to close because of mobile vendors, please let us know via email, Twitter or Facebook.

We would love to hear from you. We promise to share your story, but only after we are provided with evidence that the sole or primary reason for your business closing was from all of the sales you lost from these restaurants on the go.

virtual assistant

There are currently more than 38,000 food trucks and street vendors across the U.S., according to the latest data from IBIS World. If you ever want a visit from Guy Fieri and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” your customers need to rave about you—and you need to be in your food truck, giving them exceptional food and service. See how a virtual assistant can do that annoying desk work for you, so you can stay out in front of your customers and do what you love to do.

food truck virtual assistant

The Role of a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) is someone with a number of skills who can cover various roles in your business. There are VAs who specialize in a particular area, such as accounting or social media, but many function like a resource to whom you can go for almost any business need.

Bookkeeping

Poring over receipts at the end of the day is not something you look forward to. Hire a VA to pick up your receipts and maintain your books. Using cloud-based bookkeeping software, your assistant can update your information for you to review the next day. The VA can manage your payroll, expenses and taxes, too.

Email and Phone

While you’re working on the food truck, your virtual assistant can handle your business email and phone calls. He or she can contact you about only the most urgent items and summarize the rest for you to respond to later. As with many of the VA responsibilities, this one doesn’t require the person to be local. Many of the tasks you give virtual assistants can be given to people residing all over the country.

Research

Hire a virtual assistant to research the best places in the city to locate your food truck. The VA can uncover statistics such as business in the area, population, demographics—all the data you need to make this decision. A VA can collect the data and summarize it for you to review. Whether you have one or more trucks, knowing where to go to find your customers is key to your business and growth.

Marketing

Designing and producing marketing campaigns is another role that a virtual assistant can do for you. Let your VA create and print brochures about the fresh ingredients you use or the catering services you offer, and let him or her help promote your business.

Social Media

Your social media sites are a good way to promote your food truck and let people know where it will be. Your virtual assistance can manage the posts and create fun and interesting contests for your customers. A “Guess Where The Truck Will Be Tomorrow” contest encourages customer to post their guesses on your page. The first customer to guess correctly gets a free lunch. Your VA can handle all of the details of your social networking remotely.

Website Management

Your virtual assistant can also help maintain your website. They can update menus, post your blogs or articles and link your site with your social media traffic. Keeping your website fresh and interesting is another way to bring customers out to experience your particular cuisine.

Do you have experience in working with a virtual assistant for your food truck business? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

You can share your tips and ideas via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

food truck review

tip of the day

Writing a food truck review can be a fun and challenging way to express your love of quality cuisine. To write a food truck review, you must have a keen eye for detail, sound knowledge of food and an understanding of mobile food aesthetics.

In today’s tip of the day we provide you with a list of useful tips to help you put together an interesting food truck review.

How To Write A Food Truck Review
  • Choose the food truck or cart you want to review. Track them via their website or on one of the many food truck tracking applications.
  • Dine at the mobile bistro. Make mental notes on the menu, cleanliness, atmosphere, other patrons, staff, location, cuisine, presentation and creativity.
  • Take your time looking over the menu. Remember the names and descriptions of items on the menu.
  • Compose the review as soon as possible after dining. Use detail when describing the food and atmosphere of the food truck.
  • Write about your experience at the food truck as a whole and not just about the food or the dish you have ordered and enjoyed/disliked. Remember, you are writing a food truck review, and not a menu item review.

Describe the food truck in your introduction. Next, discuss the staff and typical patrons who might enjoy this mobile food vendor. Then describe the food, taste, plating and presentation. Conclude with your recommendation.

Key Elements Of A Food Truck Review

Atmosphere: Describing the atmosphere is the first element that should be included in your review. Simply describe the truck and the area it is operating. Remember, keep it short and simple.

The Menu: Describe what is available on the menu. If you have a favorite item, by all means give your opinion. Essentially, keep it down to the types of food on the menu, so don’t re-write the entire thing. Your reader is also interested in prices. Give them a price range for entrees, appetizers, etc., just don’t re-write the menu!

The Service: Service probably makes up fifty-percent of our opinion on a mobile food establishment. Be honest, be fair. Define in your mind what is excellent service and just good service. Your opinion regarding service is very important to your reader. Try not to make assumptions before you step into the line. Assume that your service will be “adequate”. If it’s better than that, good! If it’s just adequate, your experience is not necessarily a bad one.

Try several courses to get a good understanding of the food.

Do not tell anyone at the truck or cart that you are reviewing it.

Do not rant or write lengthy description of your experiences, but definitely put your opinions into your reviews. It is what your audience is reading for. Keep your statements accurate, honest and brief. Don’t just look for what’s wrong with a truck. Your reader wants to know what is unique and what to expect.

We hope this helps those of you who have yet to write a food truck review. If you are interested in writing for Mobile Cuisine, we’d love to see an example of your work. Samples can be sent to admin [at] mobile-cuisine [dot] com. We only accept original content, but are always interested in speaking with fellow lovers of the mobile food industry.

If you think we missed any food truck review tips, please feel free to let us know via email, Twitter or Facebook.

food truck business growth

tip of the dayIn the food truck industry it’s easy to be patient for things that need more urgency and too impatient for the for things that need more time.

Food truck business growth comes from understanding what needs to be nurtured over the long term and which areas need short term focus.

Food Truck Business Growth Requires Patience

Do you want to be part of an industry that has seen 9.3% growth in the last five years? Then you, the food truck owner needs to develop the proper methods and systems to drive your profits the proper way.

Profit driven from delivering what customers love and want to pay a premium for is vital to your food truck business growth. Too many food trucks focus on sales growth through volume and discounts to almost ‘bribe’ the customer to choose them. This impatience for sales growth leads a devaluation of what you are offering.

Sales growth comes from customer’s loving what you do. The right talent is required to deliver great products based upon being impatient for a real understanding of how consumers shop, how they live and what they want.

Creating a great food truck menu and service that outshines your competition delivers profits to invest in your food truck business growth.

Food truck business growth should never be at the expense of profit – be impatient in building the pillars of profit but at the same time food truck vendors need to be patient for growth built on the right foundations.

We Want To Know About Your Food Truck Business Growth

Have you seen food truck business growth in your mobile food business? What were the keys to your success? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. You can share your ideas and tips with us via email, Twitter or Facebook.

social media crisis

tip of the dayOne of the topics we are asked to discuss by our readers is the fear that food truck owners have to overcome when tackling social media.

It’s important to recognize that when a food truck social media crisis happens, and it’s better to be on top of your response in social media than not to be there at all. Today we’ll provide a short list of tips for food truck owners responding to a social media crisis.

Three Steps For Dealing With A Social Media Crisis
  • The first step in solving a a social media crisis is to immediately put the customer at ease that you understand their problem. In fact, repeat it back to them so that they absolutely know that you understand what’s wrong. If clarification is in order, it will happen right there. Your food truck customers want to know that you are listening and you have one chance to fix this problem so make sure you understand it.
  • The next step in resolving a social media crisis is to make sure they know that you care. By responding and letting them know that you personally care for them, you can drop the intensity of the issue way down and personalize it. You don’t want to be seen as a faceless food truck brand, become that person that they can trust to try to fix their problem.
  • Finally, you need to fix the problem. Don’t supply a form, phone number or email address for them to contact. You must fix the problem. You, the food truck owner (or representative). If you brush this person off to someone else, they’ll immediately recognize you for what you are… a phony. If you understand and you care, you’ll follow through and make sure the issue is resolved.

That’s not saying that you, personally, have to correct the issue. It means that you are the leader and the person accountable to the customer. It’s your responsibility to carry the person through to a resolution. If you just dump and run, it’s going to cause more issues. You don’t appreciate it when it happens to you so why would you do it to your own customer?

By resolving these problems, you are completing one of the best customer relations campaigns you may have as a food truck owner. If you leave your food truck customer happy and content, chances are that they’ll share that success with their network.

Have you personally had to resolve a social media crisis in your truck? We’d love to hear your story and how you fixed it. You can share them with us via email, Twitter or Facebook.

food truck boss

tip of the dayBeing a food truck boss is a tough job, especially when you need to counter the natural tendencies that separate you from the people you have hired and manage.

Knowing what the traits of a bad food truck boss are can help mobile food vendors avoid them. Here are the top three to watch out for…

Top Three Traits Of A Bad Food Truck Boss
  • Self-deluding. This isn’t just a problem with bosses; the majority of people estimate their skills to be higher than they are in reality. Be aware that you might be self-aggrandizing and find ways to get input and evaluations that show you what your true skills are.
  • Heedless of subordinates. A food truck boss is in a position of power and are watched carefully by those under them. But that level of attention is often not reciprocated. When you start staffing your food truck, don’t forget to remain curious about and engaged with your employees.
  • Insulated from reality. No one wants to deliver bad news to the boss, so the food truck boss often doesn’t know the full story. Create a culture within your mobile food business in which the messenger isn’t shot, but lauded for bringing important information forward.

We hope that by pointing these traits out, food truck owners are able to try to stop them. Successful food trucks need to have staff members that place their trust into the ownership. Without your team on board, it’s easy to see a food truck fail, no matter how good the food and service you provide is.

So do you have any of these three traits of a bad food truck boss? Are you willing to change? Or are you someone that realized your were a bad food truck boss and have made changes to correct those issues? If you’ve made changes, we’d love to hear about them. You can always reach us on Twitter or Facebook.

Food Portioning

Food portioning, while often overlooked, needs to be looked at as one of the most important activities in your food truck business. Not only does food portioning make an immediate impact on your customers’ experience but it also affects the food quality and food cost of your menu items.

When someone receives a smaller portion than the person who ordered the exact same thing right before them, customers usually notice and their mood sours.

Start At The Beginning

During the preparation process, inaccurate food portioning of ingredients in recipes can alter the food’s flavor and texture. Have you ever had a regular customer ask, “what have you done to the sauce?”

Food Portioning And Cost

Maybe the bigger issue that concerns food truck owners is how food portioning hits their bottom line. Just think about it like this, consistently over portioning a $6.00 per pound product just half an ounce adds almost 19 cents to the serving cost. Say you serve 100 a day, that’s $133 lost per week or almost $7,000 in a year.

That’s with just ONE product! Imagine the cost savings for your entire menu if food portioning became an integral part of your systems?

Use Technology For Food Portioning

Technological advances in scales and slicing equipment keeps making it easier for employees to portion products faster and with much greater accuracy. The newest digital scales are portable, easy to read, have automatic counting functions and can be equipped with push button or hands free capabilities.

Anything you can do to help your staff do a better job of portioning is usually money well spent. Does your staff have the appropriate sized cups, scoops, ladles and other measuring devises at their disposal and are they consistently using the correct ones?

Also, never expect what you don’t inspect. One food truck owner I know has a habit of pulling one item off the line each shift and weighing the key ingredients. If something’s not right, he addresses the issue immediately with his staff. He says that this one practice, more than any other, helps him control portion sizes and keep his food cost in line.

How’s your food portioning? Any improvement in this area should result in happier guests, lower food cost and a healthier bottom line.

Do you have any food portioning tips to share with our readers? We’d love to hear them. You can send via email, Twitter or Facebook.

NCR Silver

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