Tags Posts tagged with "Management"

Management

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food truck tip of the day

tip of the daySurviving the inevitable ups and downs of being a food truck owner can be tough, but persistence is an essential skill for a culinary entrepreneur. Here are three tips for seeing your mobile food endeavor through:

  • Don’t predict your failure. It’s easy to see everything that could go wrong in your mobile food empire. Instead of looking at all of the possible future failures you could see, focus on the task at hand of you and make it a success.
  • Don’t let feelings get in the way. You may not feel like doing another draft of your business plan or pushing for a 30 day credit line from your suppliers after you’ve heard “no” too many times. But do what you must despite how you may feel.
  • Lean on your family and staff. When you’re having a bad day or feel like it’s not worth all the effort, talk to your family inside and out of your food truck and share what you’re feeling.

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food truck tip of the day

tip of the dayStudies 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 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. 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.

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Over the years we’ve touched on topics crucial to running a successful mobile food business such as type of cuisine, parking locations, commissaries and selecting the right platform (truck, cart, trailer etc…) to serve your food from. In this article we’ll cover aspects that delve beyond those obvious concerns.

key ingredients

The key ingredients that matter most to creating an awesome mobile food business are your food, your staff and you. If done the right way, your food truck, food cart or trailer will thrive in the industry and stay on top.

Here are three factors that will propel your mobile food business to the next level above the competition:

Food Identity

Your food is your business’ identity. You first must portray yourself in a very definable way to your customers so they can equate you as the go to spot for your cuisine. Failure to define yourself is a huge mistake when trying to separate yourself from your competition. For example, let’s say that there are a bunch of burger trucks in your area, which means there has to be something about your food that makes it stand out if you too will be serving burgers.

How To Make Your Food Awesome

  • Uniqueness. Get your customer’s attention with original dishes. If you plan to serve common dishes, add some flair and make them just 10 percent better, you’ll have an inspiring and stimulating menu your customers will get excited about.
  • Go local. Get some local farm fresh produce. Not only are you bringing in very fresh ingredients, you are supporting the local economy. Today’s customers do take notice of this fact.
Supreme Staffing

You need to hire people who have a passion for the mobile food industry, a sense of urgency when handling customers and a willingness to be part of your team. The service experience is right up there with food when it comes to the top two elements to a great dining experience.

Your staff needs to work in sync because if they don’t, you could end up with reviews that minimally praise the food but ruthlessly criticize the service. Customers want to eat great food but at the same time, they want to be treated like royalty.

How To Build An Awesome Staff

  • Processes. Create employee manuals containing your processes and procedures, and ensure they are updated regularly. This gives your staff a way to succeed as a unified team moving in the same direction. There is nothing worse than attempting to manage a bunch of individuals trying to do the same thing, each in their own way.
  • Outstanding training. Your food truck staff has to know their job. Ensure your staff gets thorough book training on procedures along with on-the-job training complete with food tasting and menu education. Basic training should also include job shadowing a veteran staff member. Don’t stop there. Expose the staff member to the other job roles within your food truck. This will allow for position flexibility in case someone can’t show up for work and leaves you hanging.
  • Solicit feedback. Always communicate with them and more importantly, don’t stop listening. Give real-time feedback and think of yourself as a coach to your team. You don’t have to portray yourself as almighty. Look beyond your ego and start putting your people first.
Personality Plus

Food trucks don’t fail, people fail. As the owner, you are the people. Whatever happens under your watch is on you. This could be hiring a truck manager who under-performs or not training your staff to prepare your awesome recipes consistently awesome. Ultimately, the responsibility rests on your shoulders.

How You Can Become Awesome

  • Self-reflect regularly. The toughest thing for anyone to do is critique themselves. It is not in our nature to tell ourselves we are wrong. As a leader, it’s okay to be vulnerable and allow yourself to be exposed. That doesn’t make you weak; it actually makes you more authentic and respectable.
  • Ask for feedback. Ask your staff for honest feedback. Let it be known that honesty is the only way for you to improve as an owner. Don’t forget your staff extends further than just managers and service window staff. You should be listening to your line cooks just as anyone else. Customer feedback is also very important to the growth and development of your food truck. Let it be known that you want to know what customers think to make their experience better.
  • Keep growing. Food truck owners can always improve. What’s more, your staff has great ideas, so ask them. Your mobile food business needs to keep growing to thrive and it’s vitally important you grow with it.

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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.

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While expanding a single food truck into a fleet is the goal of many food truck owners, it’s not a simple task. Running multiple food trucks involves creating a simplified management process, delegating responsibilities to truck managers and building a team to handle the demands of daily operations.

Georgias Food Truck Fleet

Knowing how to run a food truck doesn’t guarantee success in managing fleet of trucks because owners can’t always spend enough time at each truck to ensure that things run smoothly in each.

Simplified Management

Success in expansion of your mobile food business depends on the building on your food truck concept and not in the truck. Mobile food vendors who prefer greeting customers or preparing food must first devote time to organizing a standard process that addresses most of the food truck business duties and hiring the right people to undertake these jobs. Simplified management strategies include the following ideas:

  • Subscribe to a multiple-unit POS system that handles the demands of running multiple food trucks smoothly.
  • Use of common ingredients and menus in all trucks so that managers can use standardized inventory and costing systems.
  • Special menu items can be produced in your commissary and distributed to all of the trucks (unless of course your fleet will be in cities far away from each other).
  • Take advantage of local sourcing and warehouse-type stores for buying inventory by using a van to make regular or daily trips and deliveries to each food truck commissary.
  • Use electronic communications to speed decisions and collaborate among separate trucks.

Create systems that handle every aspect of food truck management. Unified systems can handle hiring, inventory control, training, establishing employee conduct, dealing with customer complaints, filing reports and assigning responsibilities for food preparation, service, truck safety, cleaning and maintenance.

Delegate Responsibility

Systems run food truck businesses effectively, but vendors must hire the right people to run them and train workers in their duties. Strategies for success include fostering better communications between owners and managers, customers and managers and workers and supervisors.

  • Web cams enable people to see each other and demonstrate how to handle maintenance tasks or complex culinary procedures.
  • Regular or weekly staff meetings give people opportunities to air grievances, solve problems and make suggestions.
  • Owners should regularly visit each truck to interact with employees and customers.
  • Create a uniform code of conduct, and organize guidelines for hiring and firing that managers understand thoroughly.

Owners of multiple food trucks need to devote time to each of the trucks in their fleet, but giving managers and workers time and attention is critical for success. Managing each truck remotely leads to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, so focus on maintaining regular communications with your staff teams.

Hiring the right managers, and creating a standard operational plan for all food trucks not only helps owners handle multiple trucks but also increases profits. Taking time to create a management system and training managers to hire, fire and manage operations will also improve customer service.

This will allow owners to spend more time interacting with customers, identifying new business opportunities and supporting community initiatives when they don’t spend all their time on the day to day operation tasks of their trucks.

If you are the owner of a food truck fleet, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our tips or any additional tips that could help those interested in expanding from one food truck.

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tip of the dayWhich is worse: receiving a performance review, or giving one? At least with the latter you have some control. When you’re the one conducting a review for one of your food truck employees, try doing these three things to make it a productive experience.

  • Set expectations early. Make employee-evaluation practices clear at the beginning of the year with individual performance planning sessions.
  • Set the right tone. Everyone hates the “feedback sandwich”: compliments, criticism, then more niceties. Deliver a positive message to your good performers by mainly concentrating on their strengths and achievements. Confront poor performers and demand improvement.
  • Avoid money talk. If possible, don’t mention compensation during the review; but if you must, take care of it at the start of the conversation.

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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.

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cost effective food truck

What do you consider when thinking about successful food truck? A truck that always has full lines each time it parks or one that consistently brings in a good profit? There is a fine between running a profitable food truck and one that is costs more money to run than it brings in.

Many believe that with superstar talent in the kitchen of a food truck, paying the bills will take care of itself. Unfortunately, as the food truck industry continues to grow, customers have become more and more discriminating with the trucks they are willing to purchase from, so finding a balance between good food and profitability has become a fine art for mobile food vendors.

Only the most successful food trucks are in sync with their customers’ needs are able to offer a good value dish while still maximizing their profit margin.  For many, it’s often a hit and miss process, which can lead to the vendor’s food truck demise.

Want to be one of the “successful” food trucks? To become a cost effective food truck, reduce your costs and your make buying decisions more efficient:

Pricing

  • Do you know how much money you make (or lose) on a serving of each different dish on your food truck’s menu? No? Well you should. Knowing what items make you money (and how much) and which ones you should remove from your menu is extremely valuable information.
  • Leave all of the guesswork out of pricing your dishes. Determine your market’s food truck price point. This will keep you from pricing too high, but at the same time, you won’t undervalue your food by charging too little.

Purchasing

  • Maximize your yield percentages. Try and not waste anything when using your ingredients. You can buy the best produce and make it profitable by using everything.  For example, if you are filleting a fish, don’t throw away the carcass; you can still use it to make a fish stock.
  • Go local. Ingredients that are produced locally and are in season are typically less expensive to source.
  • Don’t spend money on services you don’t need. If can make it, or butcher it yourself, do it, you’re a chef and the more often you do a task, you’ll be able to cut down on the time it takes to do a task such as making bread or breaking down a chicken.
  • Regularly review your suppliers, shop around as there may be new ones that offer better quality or charge less. Also, never be afraid to send food back (if your food items are delivered) if the quality isn’t what your specifications require. Use our Food Truck Supplier Directory to assist you.

Waste

  • Portion control. You must start using portioning for every item that leaves your truck’s service window. If you and your staff are serving huge containers, not only will your profit go down the drain, but people will have less room for other items and thus spend less at your truck.
  • Don’t buy more fresh produce than you can use just because it’s on sale. If it’s perishable and you’re not able to sell it, ultimately it’s just a waste.
  • Follow recipes: Do you and your food truck staff always cook each menu item the same way or do you add different amounts of ingredients? If you don’t follow the same recipe to the letter, not only are you giving your customers an inconsistent dining experience, but you are probably also wasting ingredients.

Additional tips

  • Create some vegetarian dishes for your menu. Make them delicious, unique and something that customers will keep coming back for. Remember that these plates aren’t just eaten by vegetarians, and thy typically carry higher profit margins.
  • Keep your menu limited so you don’t have to have a bunch of food left over every day that you may have to throw away if it isn’t bought.
  • Train your staff to be frugal with your money and show them your expenses. This awareness may cause them to more willing try to reduce them.

There’s no easy formula for running a cost effective food truck because there are so many factors that enter into it. If we could only provide a single tip, it would be to brush up on your figures so you know what every dish on your menu costs to prepare, and how much profit you make each time you sell them.

If you have some advice on becoming a cost effective food truck then please share it in the comment section below, Tweet it or share it on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

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tip of the dayFinancial metrics are always going to be import to track for your food truck empire, but they only tell part of a story. The bean counters love financial metrics because they measure results clearly, but as a food truck owner, it’s your job to influence the inputs that drive those results.

To do this, measure the things that contribute to revenue, such as customer retention, food quality quality, and customer referrals (via social media and word of mouth)  to ensure you get the right financial results in the right way. Keep your staff members focused on the inputs with the highest correlation to your financial growth. If you keep tabs on the contributing factors, you’ll know when something’s gone wrong long before your accountant can dial your phone number.

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tip of the dayDid you snap at a member of your food truck staff who didn’t get their work done? Or did your mistake on the line make a customer wait too long for their food? When your mistake affects someone else, here’s how to make up for it:

  • Admit that you were wrong. Own up to what you did — or failed to do.
  • Show you understand the repercussions. Don’t assume you know how the customer or staff member feels or thinks, but acknowledge that you know you’ve negatively affected them.
  • Tell them what you will do differently. Reassure them that you won’t behave the same way in the future. Be specific about what you will change.
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