Tags Posts tagged with "Leadership"


own worst critic

Most food truck vendors are their own worst critic. You probably beat yourself up at the smallest perceived failure. So what should you do about it?

Stop being your own worst critic, Now!

Being your own worst critic creates negative thoughts that don’t just affect your performance; they rub off on your whole food truck team.

Do you allow your food truck employees to make mistakes? Do you understand they’re not perfect? Do you know they do some fantastic work? So why can’t you view yourself in this light?

Instead of being your own worst critic, take a step back and look at your accomplishments over the past year. But review them as if they are the accomplishments of one of your staff members instead of yourself. Pretty impressive, huh? You’ve gotten a lot done, haven’t you.

Now take a moment to look at all the bad things you’ve said about yourself just in the past week. Pretend a member of your team said those things about themselves. How would you react? Rebut each point and explain why it’s wrong.

Look at the balance between all your food truck business has achieved and all the inaccurate self-assessments you’ve made about it. Make this type of assessment process a regular practice. Do it once a week or every couple of weeks. Get rid of those negative thoughts and hopefully over time they’ll go away. When they do you can actually be much more productive and set a healthier mental tone for yourself and your mobile food business.

Are you your own worst critic, or were you your own worst critic? We’d love to hear what you’ve done to correct this or how you’ve changed. Feel free to share your advice via email, Twitter or Facebook.

menu item naming

It’s not always easy to have friends at work when you own a food truck. The most important owners need to maintain their leadership and friendships is courage and the willingness to act in the face of emotion. Three tactics can help you navigate this and at the same time make you a better mobile food vendor.

  • Have a strong, clear commitment to your business objectives. If you want to achieve something, you must be willing to make hard decisions. Be transparent, upfront, and passionate, even as others, including friends, disagree with you.
  • Develop your friendship skills. Skills like integrity, listening, and setting strong boundaries, can help you manage dual roles of friend and food truck owner.
  • Be prepared to lose the friendship. Recognize that you ultimately can’t control what happens to a friendship. Some people might not be able to live with the decisions you make. Learn to deal with the loss and move on.

on the job training

Training staff correctly is essential for any successful food truck. The mobile food industry is a customer contact intensive business. Your food truck employees need to be attentive to customer demands while displaying the personality of your food truck.

Studies have shown that as much as 90% of learning and career development takes place on the job; which makes sense since continuous learning is a key to building a sustainable career in any field.

While some of your food truck staff members may have years of formal culinary education and other that have worked under some of the country’s best chefs…the fact is that you and your food truck managers are going to be their most important career developers while they work for you.

On The Job Training Tips

Help your food truck team members flourish with these tips:

  • Instead of a yearly conversation about career goals during performance reviews, talk with them frequently. Regular discussions about their career objectives and interests will help them to refine goals and spot opportunities for development.
  • When planning a group project, ask team members to identify both how they can contribute and what they would like to learn. This avoids their volunteering to perform only tasks that they already know they can do.
  • Ask employees to report back  to you periodically on what they feel they have been learning and how they are using their new skills and knowledge to better your mobile food business.

To build a high impact on the job training program and phase in training smoothly, you need to create a task-oriented training program with realistic timelines. This includes establishing daily tasks and training schedules. This approach sets measurable goals and creates an easy on the job training tracking and monitoring system.

Do you have an on the job training system in place in your food truck? When you conduct your on the job training? We’d love to hear your answers or any additional tips you may have for other food truck owners. You can share your thoughts via email, Twitter or Facebook.

tip of the dayIn owning a mobile food business, just as any other food service industry business, critique is often negatively equated with criticism. But constructive criticism is essential in any arena that requires creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.

Since leadership requires all three, food truck owners need to be sure they are not only open to criticism, but that they actively seek it out. Ask your staff members, other food truck owners and customers — to poke holes in your menu items, customer service and operations.

Critique can be a useful approach to test ideas and keep your mobile food business relevant.

tip of the dayBeing too emotional can create problems in your food truck business, but it can be far less of a problem than holding back all of your feelings. You may hide emotions in an attempt to stay in control and look strong, but doing so diminishes your control and weakens your capacity to connect and communicate with your staff members.

If you struggle with sharing your true feelings, it might help to know that people often don’t show emotion because they’re not aware of what they’re feeling. You might suppress your anger or temper your excitement without even realizing it. So pay attention to your emotions.

At least a couple of times a week, ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” Write it down if you can; keeping a regular journal can help you understand your moods and what changes them. Then let loose a little: Let your emotions out, and let people in. Both are critical to effective leadership within your mobile food business.

tip of the dayThe best food truck owners know they need to hear opposing voices. These mobile food vendors hire people who disagree with them so those opposing voices are with them at all times.

Here are the things to look for when hiring a food truck staff member who disagrees with you:

  • Strength of ideas. You need alternate views based on facts. Contrary ideas should be well thought-out and put in context of what’s best the mobile food business.
  • Ambition. Someone who disagrees with you shouldn’t just be there to stir the proverbial pot. Look for someone who is interested in moving up in your food truck organization and is in for the long haul.
  • Track record. Willingness to disagree with you is not enough. Be sure that the person’s track record shows an ability to follow through on ideas and get things done.

tip of the dayWhen a food truck business is struggling and the morale of your employees is low, it falls on a food truck owner’s shoulders to help keep employees’ chins up and focus on the future. Use these tips to motivate food truck employees during troubling times:

  • Go to them. Sure your schedule is always packed but don’t invite employees to meet because it’s easiest for you. Visit them in the commissary or truck, especially if you aren’t there with them while they prepare the meals for your customers. This signals that what they do matters.
  • Praise their efforts. No one tires of hearing they’re doing a good job when the praise is genuine. Explain how their output is significant to your truck’s long-term health.
  • Watch their backs. Employees often suffer first when things get tough; show them that the owner supports them.

tip of the dayGiving your food truck employees autonomy can be hard. But micromanagement kills both motivation and creativity. Resist checking up on your employees, asking whether they’ve finished a task or constantly monitoring how they achieve their goals.

Instead, try asking questions like, “What do you need to get this project done?” “Is anything getting in your way?” or “What can I do to help out?” Find out how their projects are going without making them feel as if they are under constant surveillance.

This will put you in a better position to provide your food truck team with the resources and help they need. And, it should be a two-way street: Share information about what you are up to, especially if it might be relevant to what your team is doing.

tip of the dayOne of the worst habits a food truck owner can have is excusing their behavior with claims like, “That’s just the way I am!”

Stop clinging to bad behaviors because you believe they are essential to who you are. Instead of insisting that you can’t change, think about how these behaviors may be impeding the success of those around you.

Don’t think of these behaviors as character traits, but as possibilities for improvement. You’ll be surprised by how easily you can change when it helps you succeed.

leadership traits

We are often asked what leadership traits most successful food truck operators possess. When you look at the definition of a leader, it states, “one who leads or guides.” And we’ve all heard the phrase “lead by example.” Unfortunately this just isn’t enough.

There are at least seven qualities of leadership that help to make a good food truck owner.

7 Leadership Traits Found In Successful Food Truck Owners

The first of the leadership traits you will find in a successful food truck owner is someone who is not afraid to get his or her hands dirty. Someone who will do the same job, duty, or task alongside subordinates, while keeping a positive attitude. This helps build and gain respect. Besides, how else can you expect someone to do the job you ask him or her to do if you do not know how or are not willing to do it yourself?

A person who listens, not just hears. Pay complete attention to what the person is saying. Look them in the eyes, acknowledge them and don’t interrupt. Ask questions of clarification, reiterate what they are saying, and ask the person if you understand them correctly. But listening doesn’t stop there. You need to follow through on the conversation and do what you said you would do. Build integrity and trust.

Make good business decisions but show compassion when needed. The bottom line is the bottom line. You don’t have to be cruel to accomplish tough results. Be honest, state the facts, ask for suggestions, and make the best decision. A lot of times things look good on paper but don’t really work in reality. Sometimes those who are on the front lines and performing the job every day give the best answers. Not only do you get the answer you may be looking for, you also build confidence and develop future managers and supervisors.

Treat others fairly, including yourself. Favoritism has no place in a mobile food business. Is it hard not to solely rely on those who are the strongest? Absolutely, but it’s your job to encourage and improve the super performers in your food truck business. Learn to delegate to improve teamwork and lighten the load for everybody.

Learning never stops. You should try to learn something new every day, sometimes this will happen without even seeking it out. You also need to be open to learning from subordinates, peers, and supervisors. There is no one person who has all the answers. This industry is in a constant state of change and you need to be able to adapt. It’s important to stay fresh and current. Think outside the box; there’s usually more than one way to accomplish a goal. If the way you tried doesn’t work, you’ve learned, and it’s what you take from the experience that’s important.

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Develop those under you. The fastest way to move up is to train someone to take your job. This is one of the best ways to show leadership. Too often, people are afraid of “losing their jobs” because someone else knows how to do their job. This is not the case. This frees up time for you to develop your skills in other aspects of the business.

The final of our leadership traits is you need to be able to admit that you’ve made mistakes. Nobody has all the answers. You’re going to stumble, trip, and even fall. But those who are honest and admit their failures will gain the respect of others and will learn the most.

What other leadership traits can you add to our list? We’d love to hear your thoughts. You can add your suggestions via email, Facebook or Twitter.

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