Tags Posts tagged with "Food Truck"

Food Truck

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time clock cartoon

Food trucks have two major cost centers. One is food and beverage. The other is labor. Which do you think is most problematic for mobile food vendors?

If you said labor, either you’ve been running a food truck for at least a few months, or you have some genuine insight into the challenges of running a mobile food business.

Labor issues are typically the number one concern of most food truck owners. Food and beverage costs can be held in check through price adjustments and portion controls. On the other hand, labor costs are not controlled by paying low wages.

Controlling food truck labor costs is best done through sound scheduling and improving your employee productivity. You increase productivity through training, better food truck kitchen layouts, and the use of labor-saving equipment and products.

This article addresses cost-related issues and ways to increase employee productivity — the areas in which a mobile food vendor has the most control.

Controlling Food Truck Labor Costs: Keep an Eye Numbers

Before you can develop appropriate and effective measures for labor cost control, you must gather the necessary information on which to make your decisions. Therefore, the accumulation and reporting of relevant labor cost information is critical. To do this, you need more than your calculator.

Productivity and labor cost efficiency cannot be addressed and assessed only in straight numbers. If customer service is compromised, the initial savings of a lower payroll cost can be negated by a decrease in sales caused by customer losses.

When trying to determine the productivity of your staff, the traditional ratio of “payroll to total sales” is not an effective and accurate measure of worker productivity and scheduling efficiency.

Essentially, you pull this ratio from your income statement to tell you how much sales you are squeezing out of your payroll expense. What could be more telling? Well, there are three reasons why additional measures must be used to analyze labor costs.

The traditional labor cost ratio really just indicates to management what needs to be addressed, without providing any specific information.

The figures reported on the monthly income statement are historical and after-the-fact. Labor cost should be controlled beforehand. This will require labor cost figures to be compiled at least weekly.

So what is the best measure of productivity? There is no one magic ratio. You need to monitor several benchmarks to take the pulse of your mobile food business.

Controlling Food Truck Labor Costs: Don’t Lower Wages

Food trucks should not control labor cost by keeping salaries and wages low. In fact, operations paying less than the going wage rate in their locale will find it difficult to hire and retain the more productive employees.

Think about it. If you felt you were a very good cook or manager, would you quit your current job and go work for someone who paid you less than you were making? I don’t think many of us would work for less.

About one-third of all employees who leave a job voluntarily, leave for better pay. You may have heard that money cannot be a motivator for increasing productivity.

Well, it is probably true that just increasing the wages of an employee will not necessarily mean they will be more productive, but when money is used as a reward for outstanding performance, it can be an effective motivator.

There are a number of scheduling methodologies you can use that will reduce your labor costs just by adjusting when you have employees arrive and depart from work. Efficient scheduling must reflect the variations in business volume that occur during the day and even meal period.

Your goal is to accomplish the necessary workload with a minimum number of labor hours while maintaining your level of service.

Productive employees should be rewarded with pay increases and earn more than average employees. Treat your valuable employees like you do your most valuable customers. Realize that the labor cost per cover and the number of covers per labor hour can be improved only with productive employees.

If productive employees are treated no differently from marginally productive ones, there is no benefit to the employee to do more than average for he or she will get the same enumeration either way.

Controlling Food Truck Labor Costs: Set Benchmarks

No single measure can be used to evaluate labor productivity; management must employ multiple measures collectively. Management must have a better index of labor productivity and no single measure can efficiently accomplish that. Therefore, additional measures are needed to properly analyze labor costs. The additional information needed is readily available as it is compiled on a daily or weekly basis. These measures are:

  • Covers per labor hour
  • Labor cost per cover
  • Labor cost per labor hour

Where do you start? Each time payroll is processed, total labor hours by job category are tallied. Management will compare actual hours worked to those originally scheduled and look for variances. If hours worked are greater than scheduled hours, they will investigate to determine the job category where the variance occurred.

Employee schedules are determined not by revenue but by customer counts. The “covers per labor hour” is perhaps the best indicator of labor productivity compiled by a mobile food service operation because it is not distorted by the way sales are affected by price increases and discounts.

Although some drops in customer counts occur in the long run when prices are increased, covers per labor hour remains the most effective indicator of employee productivity.

The “labor cost per labor hour” is another productivity index. It is calculated by dividing total payroll by total labor hours. When calculated by respective employee job categories, one can readily see the wage differentials between jobs. This information can assist management in establishing wage ranges for each job category.

The third index of productivity is the “labor cost per cover.” This tells us how much labor is used to serve each customer that walks up to your food truck service window. The total payroll is divided by the number of customers.

Check out this example:

Assume:

  • Total Payroll Cost = $1,400
  • Total Labor Hours = 144
  • Total Covers Served = 1,200

Therefore:

  • Covers per Labor Hour (1,200/144) = 8.33
  • Labor Cost per Labor Hour ($1,400/144) = $9.72
  • Labor Cost per Cover ($1,400/1,200) = $1.17

Did we miss something in regards to controlling food truck labor costs? If so, please feel free to share them in the comments section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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fake online reviews

Fake online reviews can become a food truck owner’s worst nightmare.  Websites such as Yelp, Google Places, or even Facebook, can damage a truck’s good reputation at the click of a button.

The advancement of social media has resulted in a host of creative ways to damage a mobile food business name and the internet has become the arsenal for competitors, disgruntled and former employees.

It is thought that by the end of the year, up to 15 percent of online social media reviews could be fake, and it’s a two-way street. Some seeking positive reviews will pay to have five-star ratings while those looking to damage the reputation of another will pay for bad reviews.

Those receiving bad reviews have attempted to turn things around with paid five-star reviews, resulting in a discombobulated and completely inaccurate overview of a business. Add to that the negative reviews left by disgruntled or former employees creating more havoc and leaving a mobile food vendor to feel helpless.

How trustworthy are social media reviews to consumers?  Some reports claim that consumer trust in social media reviews is currently low.

The good news is the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on fake reviews. Companies face litigation from the FTC for forging fake reviews.

The best way a food truck owner can take to prevent fake online reviews: Pay attention!

Without the aid of social media log-in, computer algorithm and the expense of a lawsuit, food truck owners can protect themselves from fake online reviews by close monitoring of review sites and paying attention to specific patterns in writing, such as common verbiage in multiple reviews. Be on the alert for common misspelled words and pay attention to capitalization.

Those who don’t know the proper spelling of a word will carry the misspelled word throughout each post. Some positing under various identities can be spotted by repeated punctuation errors.  There are, of course, those who are obvious repeat offenders, failing to hide their transparency with verbiage changes. Multiple posts using words such as “gross” or “sick” should trigger a red flag.

If there are suspicious reviews, you can flag the review and take the initiative to contact the website and request the reviews be authenticated or removed.  At the least, protect your mobile food business by marking the suspicious review as spam.

Remember though, that these methods are only useful for legitimate fake reviews. And they’ll only be taken seriously if the review is damaging your food truck business and appears to be fake, or written by a competing business.

Just to be clear, you can’t use any of these strategies for real reviews. If you’ve been taking a digital beating for bad service or bad food, then the obvious answer is to start impress every single person who comes to your service window so that their good reviews make the bad reviews look silly and outdated.

Please Note: Don’t waste your time or money trying to sue review sites over fake online reviews. Websites such as Yelp are protected by the Communications Decency Act. Under Section 230, and aren’t liable for any defamatory content made by its users, as they are considered third- party re-publishers of the content.

Do you have any tips on how to avoid or find fake online reviews? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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food truck thanksgiving

In a recent report, The National Restaurant Association (NRA) shared that more than an estimated that 30 million Americans enlist the help of restaurants for their Thanksgiving feast by dining out or using takeout to serve their guests.

Just as restaurants can be used to help cater or serve their customers fresh, safe and delicious Thanksgiving meals, so can food trucks. Preparing a food truck Thanksgiving meal safely will ensure an enjoyable holiday for your customers.

Food and cooking are always a big part of holiday celebrations, so putting food safety practices in focus this time of year will help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Whether cooking in your commissary or food truck kitchen, basic principles like cleaning and sanitizing, and cooking to proper temperatures should be part of everyone’s food safety knowledge base.

Here are 5 safety tips to use when preparing a Food Truck Thanksgiving meal:
  • Thaw your turkey in the fridge. While you can thaw a frozen turkey under running water or in the microwave, the best way is in the refrigerator overnight (or longer). Be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
  • Store raw turkey away from ready-to-eat food. Make sure your raw turkey is covered and stored in a leak-proof container on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. You want to keep it away from foods that are ready to eat, such as desserts and salads, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Clean and sanitize your sink and counters. After rinsing your raw turkey thoroughly, properly clean and sanitize the sink and surrounding area before starting to prepare any other food.
  • Cook your turkey to safe internal temperature. Use a properly calibrated meat thermometer to check that your turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Insert the thermometer to the dimple on the stem in the thickest part of the breast and thigh for accurate readings.
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Prep salads, cranberries and other colds items first and store them in the fridge until ready to serve. Then prep your hot dishes closer to serving time so they stay hot. Keep all food items outside the “temperature danger zone” (41 to 135 degrees) as much as possible.

We hope you use these food truck Thanksgiving meal tips to help prevent your customers or anyone you happen to serve safely.

Has your mobile food business served a food truck Thanksgiving menu to your customers? We’d love to hear from you and your experiences. Please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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food truck sales

In a mobile food business, food truck sales are what will determine if you are able to make it through your first year of operation. Projecting your future food truck sales is a critical step in ensuring that your business is profitable.

Before you open, it is definitely worth it to have an idea of whether or not your sales will support your business needs. Pulling a number out of thin air does nothing for you, and although there is no actual formula for projecting sales for your start up  making a well-informed guess is critical to planning your first-year funds. We have put together some guidelines for estimating the amount of funds you can bring in from your mobile food truck or cart in its first year.

food truck sales

Do not base your estimations on how many people you can serve with your truck or cart at full capacity, since this may be unlikely for your first year of business.

Figure out how many customers you can serve and then plan for about 75% of that case. Pay attention to your area demographics. People may flock to a similar cuisine food truck in the area already, but may not be excited about going to yours, or vice versa. A lot depends on your concept and where or when you will be serving the public.

Determining Your Food Truck Sales

Estimate Customer Numbers

By now you will likely have a few specific areas you plan to use as regular locations, or at least a general idea. A great way to learn about how many of walk up customers you may expect is by comparing your potential business to existing mobile kitchens in the area. Visit trucks or carts of similar size and cuisine type.  Although these businesses may turn out to be your competitors, you can obtain valuable information by observing how many covers they serve during peak hours. You may even speak with the owner to learn about how many covers they see in a week.

Estimate Average Spending Per Customer

Once you have a customer count estimate, you will need to come up with a per person average based on your menu prices. Make sure you use middle-of-the-road cost values from your menu to figure this out. That means choosing moderately-priced menu items in lieu of the least pricey or costliest. After all, you cannot expect all of your guests to buy the most expensive item on your menu every time. In general, your sales are a function of how many people you serve and how much they spend.

Also, be sure to take in to consideration the difference in number of customers and per customer spending averages for different meal periods. For example, lunch periods tend to bring in lower average sales than dinner periods, unless you are able to find locations to park in central business district where there is a lot of foot traffic and hungry workers. Days of the week will also bring in different sales as well. For example, Thursday nights are usually more profitable for food trucks than Monday nights.

Generate a chart showing estimated number of customers per meal period each day, as well as the per person spending average.

Estimate Food Truck Sales for the Year

After mapping out sales projections for the week, some mobile food vendors will merely multiply their weekly sales totals by 52 weeks to get a year’s sales projection. Other owners will divide the year into seasons to reflect the business they will receive during different times of the year. This is a little more complicated because seasons vary depending on region, but it can be more accurate since some months are usually busier than others. Think about what an average week’s sales might look like, and then ask yourself what you might make in the work of a slow week and in the work of a busy week.

Consulting seasoned food truck employees or owners in your area will help you to decide what kind of traffic or sales volume to expect at different times of the year. These estimations will vary from truck to truck, depending on your menu and your locations. After even a few months of operating, you will have a much better idea of what to anticipate as far as sales go, and you can alter your estimations accordingly. You should also evaluate your operations and promotion efforts if sales are not matching the projections in your business plan.

Running a mobile food business is no small endeavor, and you are more likely to succeed when you have done the appropriate research and made some rational estimates. Figure out what you might expect as far as visitor attendance and sales per person by checking out the competition and determining what is rational for your idea, location and customer demographics. This will also help make sure you are financially prepared for the revenue your rolling bistro will bring in during the course of your hard first year.

Do you have any additional tips to help determine your food truck sales? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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food truck tip of the day

tip of the day

Today’s mobile food businesses need to recognize that customer loyalty goes a long way. Continually re-evaluate your approach to customer service.

  • Take some time and effort to provide meals based on various dietary needs or allergies. Expanding your customer base through simple changes to some of your favorite menu items can be as easy as swapping out some ingredients for others.
  • Use social media to notify your loyal customers about up-coming specials to keep them coming back.
  • Make all of your customers feel like a member of your food truck family.

These simple changes or additions to your current customer service plan can help pave the road to continued growth of your food truck business.

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Grilled Cheese Truck Give Mobi

We’ve all heard of THE Grilled Cheese Truck of Los Angeles.  It’s been everywhere in the media over the years.  It’s one of those success stories that America loves to hear – “Local guy makes good.”

Well, “makes good” is an understatement for sure.  Dave Danhi started The Grilled Cheese Truck in 2009.  Danhi is a professional chef that just wanted his life back.  He created the truck’s signature sandwich, the Cheesy Mac ‘N Rib, and a new chapter to his story began.

In this new chapter of his life, he’s done something he never dreamed of — creating a new American iconic brand.  The Grilled Cheese Truck is the only verified food truck on Twitter (that little blue check mark) and is the most followed food truck on Facebook.

Not wanting to stop the momentum, Danhi added more trucks to his fleet in Southern California and expanded into Arizona. Wanting to do “more,” Danhi’s expansion plan includes reaching out to returning U.S. veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Danhi is thrilled to be working with General Wesley Clark on this endeavor.

Despite his amazing success, Danhi has always kept an eye out to give back to his community.  He recently teamed up with the Orange County Rescue Mission to assist veterans.  Most recently he’s joined the food truck initiative Fighting Hunger In America.

Mobile Cuisine has partnered with the GiveNetwork to promote the food truck initiative Fighting Hunger In America.  This initiative allows trucks to facilitate donations by their customers.  While using their smartphones, customers scan unique QR codes posted on trucks that will allow them to easily donate.  The proceeds are split between two great non-profit organizations, Meals On Wheels Association of America and Convoy Of Hope.

At the close of every month, food trucks will receive by email a list of the donors that scanned their QR code.  We believe this is a great way to speak directly to those customers that have shown deeper brand engagement.  Danhi and The Grilled Cheese Truck are in the process of creating a customer loyalty program and will single out donors with special offers.  He mentioned a “get out of line pass,” but nothing has been confirmed.  Special offers to donors are a great tool to encourage repeat donations AND purchases.

Trucks that register by May 31 are entered to win a $500 gas card.  What truck couldn’t use that?

We are thrilled that Dave Danhi and The Grilled Cheese Truck are Fighting Hunger In America.  Welcome aboard and we can’t wait to hear more about your future successes.

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farm to food truck

“Farm to food truck” isn’t a new concept to the mobile food industry, but at the same time, it is a term that some food truck owners aren’t aware of.

This is a concept of purchasing locally grown food directly from the source. The term which was adapted from “farm to table” comes from the idea that with less time and fewer hands for the food to get from the farm to the food truck, the fresher, more environmentally sensitive and community minded it is. This can include growing your own garden for sustainable consumption at home or for your mobile food business.

food farm food truck
FoodFarm Food Truck from San Diego, CA

Outside of the fact that you can greatly impact the economy of your community, health of your customers as well as the bottom line of your food cost budget as a result of buying from a local farm as your main food supplier.

Some of the benefits that come from the farm to food truck concept are:
  • Support the local economy. Money stays within your community, which in turn directly supports your food truck business. Advertise the information about the farm that grows your food. Engage your customers with your locally-minded concept and inspire your neighbors to support local commerce as well.
  • Keep inventory longer. Food that is purchased directly from the farm will naturally last longer on your storage shelves. It hasn’t spent time in a processing plant or on a delivery truck during the shipping process. It came straight from the ground to you, meaning you just bought yourself more time to think creatively.
  • Invest in value. Many local farmers will compete with nationally recognized grocery store chains, but at times may charge a bit more because the quality of product that is being sold may be greater. Local produce and meat is more likely to be organic which increases the value of your menu.
  • Create a local partnership. Building a business partnership between your business and local farmers, and other food trucks that support local business, can create a marketing network that promotes and sustains the local economy.

While it may seem as though there is no reason to join this movement, it isn’t without it’s challenges:

  • Buying meat locally. Buying locally raised and processed meat, fish and poultry can be challenging. The U.S. Department of Agriculture restricts the number of birds a farmer can process on site and does not allow any red meat processing for small farm operations. Because of this, the meat may have been locally and organically raised with an emphasis on humane standards, but the slaughter and processing of the meat animals are probably (with the exception of poultry) handled off site.
  • Finding off-season produce. There will be periods between planting and harvesting when produce may not be as bountiful. However, many farmers do have greenhouses where produce can be grown during colder months. Discuss off-season options with your partnered farmer or farmers ahead of time to avoid lack luster deliveries.
  • Setting-up in the city. Maybe there isn’t a farm just down the road from where your food truck operates. This is the case for many mobile food businesses, but chances are there is a farm within a reasonable enough distance to your urban area. Visit your local farmer’s market and inquire about locations. Learn about delivery options for your establishment, or show up early and stock up weekly at the market.

If you are interested in getting started, try one of these organizations:

Sustainabletable.org

Americanfarmtotable.com

The farm to food truck (table) business model supports your local ecology and economy. Many food truck owners who have joined this movement have also developed composting programs to assure that their business stays green from start to finish. Consider buying locally to strengthen your neighboring rural community as well as your immediate neighborhood’s economy.

Is your food truck already using the farm to food truck concept? Share your story with us in the comment section below, Tweet us or share it on our Facebook page.

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food truck signature dish
Kogi BBQ's signature short rib taco

The rise in knowledgeable food consumers has grown leaps and bounds since the increase of food related television programming. Because of this growth, it should be no surprise that the the mobile food industry has benefited from the new foodies in the world.

These foodies tend to be consumers who enjoy sharing information about their last, best meal through word of mouth and social media. A great way for a food truck to give these share happy customers a reason spread the word about their mobile business is to provide them with a signature dish to talk about.

Classic cuisine dishes have always connected diners with their roots or the history of the regions where they have lived or traveled. Your food truck’s signature dish can be a modified or elevated version of a popular dish from the cuisine your concept is built on.  By promoting these signature menu items, food truck vendors can take advantage of these customer emotions or memories and create committed fans and followers.

Creating Buzz About Your Food Truck Signature Dish

People show tremendous loyalty and enthusiasm for their favorite foods, and signature dishes give you the ability to find a way of sharing your culinary self-expression. In fact, many food trucks have started operations based partly on the culinary appeal of their signature dishes.

  • Signature dishes often incorporate local produce, seafood, game or condiments.
  • Most mobile food vendors specialize in cooking national, regional or local dishes that are popular with people from particular ethnic backgrounds.
  • Brand image and food consistency often have their roots in distinctive signature dishes.
  • Emphasizing history, preparation techniques or sustainable local ingredients provides rich marketing possibilities for food trucks.

Signature dishes could include appetizers, soups, salads, streaks, entrees or desserts. Regional favorites include barbecue dishes, Cajun and Creole specialties, crab cakes, chili and even Philly cheese steaks.

The cooking methods can range from simple and healthy to complicated dishes, it really depends on the technical skills of your staff to consistently recreate the dish. Not only can your signature items draw in local consumers, it can serve as tourist attraction if your market has a high flow of out of town foodie visitors.

The Benefits Of A Food Truck Signature Dish

An important point about a signature dish is that they can capture the imagination of foodies who can influence others to visit your food truck’s service window. Other promotional ideas to consider:

  • People who visit food trucks to enjoy their favorite foods often try other menu items and spend additional money on sides and beverages.
  • Window Servers can up sell signature dishes by explaining their history.
  • Food trucks can link their cuisines with local or regional foods, ethnic specialties and sustainable local sources.
  • Signature dishes can generate social and traditional media attention for your mobile food business, which will increase local market followers, and online visibility.

Food trucks often change their menus to keep pace with culinary trends, but your signature dishes have the power to serve as menu anchors for loyal customers and evolve to reflect new culinary trends and healthier eating habits.

Does you already have a food truck signature dish? If so, tell us about it in the comment section below, Tweet us or share it on our Facebook page.

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food truck menu

In our consistent attempts to assist mobile food vendors across the country, Mobile Cuisine Magazine has produced a number of articles aimed at both new and existing vendors in areas that are most likely to effect the operation of their business. Today we have dedicated our writing to one such area, food truck menu building.

food truck menu

A good menu design is one of the ultimate goals to any mobile food vendor’s marketing plan. If done properly, it will expresses your eatery’s personality, focus your overall operations, promote you businesses profitability, establish your budget and keep your brand fresh in your customer’s mind.

What is the goal of a well-crafted menu?

Your menu is your primary means of businesses representation: It says exactly who you are and what you hope to convey personality-wise. It also should create enough of an impression so that it stays with your client long after they have ordered from it. In addition, it must convey your brand in a manner that makes diners excited to visit, want to come back and recommend it to family and friends.

What steps should you take before designing your food truck menu?

As with most creative endeavors, proper results can’t be achieved without sufficient research. In the case of designing the right menu for you, that means collecting data from various sources. Examine your own numbers first, such as your food truck’s prospective financial and marketing numbers and its sales mix.

Then look at your competitors: Examine their Web sites, menus and marketing efforts and try to see where they went right and how you could compete successfully with those traits.

After that, consider your typical locations and how they relate to the customers you attract. Knowing all of this, ask yourself the following:

  • What can my mobile restaurant menu offer that others in the area do not?
  • What menu items do we have in common?
  • How does our pricing match up?
  • Does my menu offer more variety than theirs?

Determining these factors will help guide you towards designing the right menu for your food truck or cart.

How should you design your food truck menu?

There are no rights or wrongs in mobile food vendor menu design. What works with some establishments will fail at others. However, as mentioned before, your menu should be an expression of your businesses personality. In designing it, think about how it will best represent your image and objectives. Are you classy and sophisticated? Fun-loving and wild?

A small, simple menu can be used to enhance a truck’s impression of elegance or simplicity. A long, item intensive menu can emphasize your festive side. Once you determine personality you wish to achieve, you can easily begin crafting the look of your menu to match that.

How should you arrange items on the menu? Should you use merchandizing techniques to help?

Design your menu in a way that mimics the dining experience. Arrange items sequentially, with appetizers, salads and soups first, then entrees, then desserts. Place star items on boards that contain more visual flair than others, and set markers or images around featured items to further draw attention.

Merchandizing techniques will further help this agenda and create a menu by allowing you to easily spotlight specialty and signature items, introduce newer selections and invoke an appropriate sense of personality. In turn, the techniques also make these items easier for your clients to find and recognize.

food truck menu boardWhat are some tips you can use to design your mobile restaurant menu?

Place your best selling items, or those you want to have the biggest draw, on the prime sweet spots of the menu board. These areas refer to the spots where the average customer brings his or her eyes to first, and thus receive one’s first attention.

Also, if room on the board allows, arrange your menu in columns. One column can reflect a sense of sophistication and elegance, where two or more columns can bring forth a sense of playfulness, etc.

Highlight spotlight or signature items in a way that draws attention to them: Boxing selections off within your menu works well at this, as does adding colors, images, labels and logos.

Naming items specifically or creatively (ex. Rojo Chicken Salad), and using active descriptions of the ingredients in the dishes, makes the food sound more enticing and exotic for the customer.

What are some common mistakes in food truck menu design?

If your menu creates problems for your customers, they may become apprehensive and less likely to return. Common mistakes include: Menu print that is too small to read easily; menu boards that lack English translations for non-English words or phrases; menus without daily or weekly special insets; entrees that don’t look like their photos; and misalignment of brand and menu.

How should you price your food truck menu?

Food truck diners are savvy, and often they’ll know how your items match up value-wise against your competition. In light of this, keep your more everyday items (dishes you can find anywhere, really) approximately $1 more or less than your competition.

Many customers do not perceive such increments to be significant, especially with dishes above $5, so there is some leeway there. Likewise, items unique to your truck or cart can be a little higher but also should not exceed the other items excessively. Doing so will make the latter more enticing to diners, especially those who visit your establishment regularly.

Also, to get a better feel for the sense of value you are promoting, take a picture of each item on the menu in a way that mimics the actual presentation on the table. After doing so, ask yourself: Do the items look like they are worth the price you are charging?

Could a change in presentation justify an increase in price? Is there consistency with the overall look or does there seem to be a wide range or inconsistency in the price versus its presentation? You’ll be amazed at what you discover when you look at the entire menu collectively through the customer’s eyes.

How often should you update your food truck menu design?

To keep your menu fresh, relevant and profitable, you need to know how each item is performing and how it stacks up against your competition. Conduct an analysis of your menu every six to twelve months.

During this evaluation, look at profitability analysis and competitive menu analysis and determine what works best and what isn’t working at all. Then make the proper adjustments so that your changes reflect your research.

Comparing your food truck menu with that of your competitors also helps. It not only opens more doors towards pricing your menu, it offers you a solid foundation on how to measure your profits. Performing a cross analysis helps uncover strengths and weaknesses in your pricing plan, specifically in terms of the way your items are priced and presented.

By doing this, you determine which items are most popular, which are most profitable, which need extra emphasis, and which need to removed or replaced.

We hope this article will help both new and existing mobile food operators maximize their businesses marketing plans by creating a food truck menu that shows who you are and coveys this with your current and prospective customers.

Outside of your truck’s wrap or your carts graphics, you menu is the first glance into your operation that a person on the street is going to have of your business. Do not squander this opportunity by putting up a menu that is hard to read or does not express the type of chef you are, or the food that you have created.

Did we miss something in regards to food truck menu design? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, Tweet us or share your ideas on our Facebook page.

 

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facebook likes

If you’re managing your food truck’s business Facebook page, how are you gauging the success of your efforts? If it’s simply the number of Facebook likes your page has, the following article is worth reading.

Facebook Like

The value of measuring what is and what is not working in your mobile food businesses social media marketing strategy cannot be overstated, especially in areas such as website SEO conversion where goals can sometimes get muddy. So when it comes to evaluating the success of your Facebook strategy, we want to be sure that you’re measuring those efforts correctly.

Why Use “Likes” as Your Default Metric

Why? That’s simple…it’s easy. For many food truck owners using organic (not bought) Facebook likes as the key measurement is a no-brainer. And on the surface, it does seem like the right answer. But your Facebook’s success shouldn’t be boiled down to simply how many people have “liked” your food truck’s page.

What Else Can You Measure

Revenue is certainly the one that should interest you most. Granted, it’s not easy to calculate revenue when it relates to social media. However, social media can be used as a way of driving traffic to your website where some food truck owners sell products, show upcoming parking locations and provide contact forms for catering opportunities; all of which can add to your mobile food company’s bottom line. These actions, by the way, can be accurately measured against your Facebook page as a referral source of traffic in Google Analytics.

Conversions that happen on your website as a result of social media traffic, though, are just one good way to measure success. Other metrics include time-on-site, pages viewed, return visits, and participation on your Facebook page.

Are Facebook Likes Important

It’s not wrong to want to have your food truck to be liked; we all want more Facebook likes, the same way we all want more visitors to our site, more customers at your service windows and more subscribers to your email list. But getting hung up on a single number is never good for measuring all the different kinds of work you put into your food truck business, social media included.

With all that said, please feel free to “like” Mobile Cuisine…we do use our likes as a metric of our social media strategy.

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