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Learning

Bobby Flay Cooking Quote

“Cooking is a subject you can never know enough about. There is always something new to discover.” – Bobby Flay

It’s going to happen. If you own a food truck, you are inevitably going to have an angry customer. And when it happens, you’ll do what you can to remedy the situation, but you should also try to learn from the customer’s complaint and use it to improve your mobile food business.

angry food truck customer

You’ll probably get another disgruntled customer before long, but if you learn from your mistakes, it won’t be for the same reason. If you don’t learn from the past you risk the chance that your food truck business will begin to develop a reputation for whatever it is you’re doing wrong.

When you get an irate customer calling, emailing, or walking up to your service window; you need to deal with it. Customer typically get angry for one of two reasons: either you didn’t meet your end of the bargain, or they think you didn’t. Whatever the reason, you need to first try to work it out. Maybe it is your fault, or your staff’s; take care of it. You can probably make the situation a little better by giving the customer a discount or future discount, or maybe a free side. Something to show that you are willing to work to keep their business will be a great peace offering.

What if it’s not your fault?

Sometimes you have done all you can and all you were required to, sometimes even more, but the customer still isn’t satisfied. Unfortunately, some people are like that. With one of these customers, it makes sense to cut your losses and move on. Some people will never be satisfied, and just let them go with an apology. Hold your head high and keep any negative remarks to yourself.

What can you learn?

Most people don’t like confrontation. We try to appease others and make sure they are happy. Still, sometimes a confrontation happens. Remember the old adage: The customer is always right. Even if you aren’t in complete agreement, try to make your customer happy. In the future, you may be able to spot the “difficult” customer before situations escalate.

If you don’t have the flexibility to discern between customers, make sure you have policies in writing somewhere, whether it’s on your website or in your service window. That will help if a customer walks up demanding you refund money for a half-eaten meal. You can always override your own policies, but at least they will be there to point to if you need them.

Your reputation matters

Word travels fast, you want to make sure you don’t do anything to mar your food truck’s reputation while dealing with difficult customers.

Beyond actually resolving the situation with your angry customer, make sure you take a look at your operations and try to resolve any internal issues that may have caused the problem your customer had. If you let the same issue occur too many times, your food truck business will have a very hard time recovering its reputation.

Dealing with difficult customers is something every food truck owner will have to do. But they should really be few and far between, so try to focus on your happy, loyal customers who are why you’re running a food truck business in the first place.

first 30 days

When hiring employees on your truck, focus their first 30 days on finding out as much as they can on the organization, the people, and their role.

The First 30 Days: The Employer Perspective

A food truck employees training can start before they even step foot on the truck. Once informed that they have gotten the job, suggest they browse through your website and to talk with people who know your business, such as former employees.

Soon after they begin the job, have them review your training manual and performance expectations. If they are going to be in a management position, have them look through recent reviews for all of their direct reports. They should meet with each of them one-on-one and ask about their view of the team and where it needs to go. While they’re taking in all of this information, be sure they develop hypotheses about what they need to get done and the best way to go about it. And of course, all of this learning will generate additional questions, so tell them to never stop asking them even when they’ve started to take action.

The First 30 Days: The Employee Perspective

So, you’ve just landed a new food truck job, welcome to the industry! Your first 30 days are your time to make a great impression, prove your competency, and make sure the person who hired you agrees they made a good decision to bring you on board.

The best way is to spend your first 30 days on the truck is by learning the business and observing your colleagues before you jump in.

It can be difficult to take this kind of time to learn, especially in the mobile food industry where people get hired and are expected to “hit the ground running” or need to make an impact right away. Take your time to learn the systems and recipes so the boss doesn’t need to make constant corrections.

Do you have a “First 30 Days” action plan in your food truck? We’d love to hear how you handle this important time in a food truck employees development from the experts. You can share your thoughts and ideas with us via email, Twitter or Facebook.

tip of the day

Want to know a secret on how to keep you and your food truck business growing and sharp? Keep learning!

Stay educated on what’s going on in the mobile food industry. Even if a story is centered around another part of the country or even overseas, keep track of what’s going on.

Brush up on business basics such as accounting, culinary techniques, or marketing concepts. Seek opportunities to learn about new technology or how to use existing social media platforms. Then find ways to utilize this knowledge to make your mobile business better. Learning new things can help keep your business going with fresh ideas and new perspectives.

 

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