Tags Posts tagged with "Revenue Stream"

Revenue Stream

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recipe journal

Many of the food truck owners I have spoken with are always looking for alternative revenue streams for their mobile food business. Some look at opening a brick and mortar location, some want to take popular menu items, sauces or seasonings to market. Others dream of turning their food truck recipes into a cookbook.

If the cookbook idea is something you’ve tossed around let’s look at some numbers that might help you proceed.

Something few people are aware of is that cookbooks are one of the top two best-selling book genres, second only to mystery novels. That’s right; more cookbooks are sold than any other type of book with the exception of mysteries. In North America alone, consumers purchase 60 million cookbooks each year.

With so many cookbooks on the market, you may wonder if there is a need for yet another. The simple answer is yes.

The cookbook buying public is huge. Do you really think there would already be so many cookbooks out there if there wasn’t an eager market for them? Do you think publishers would release as many cookbook titles as they do every year if there wasn’t a constant demand for more?

New cookbooks are being released all the time, and new cookbook authors appear every day.

While the best reason to write a cookbook is probably the same reason you started your food truck (because you want to share your great food and terrific stories with the public) it may not be the only reason. Whatever your motivation for writing a cookbook, the bottom line is writing a cookbook can help you create a new revenue stream for your food truck.

An added benefit is that writing a cookbook is more than just a new way of generating immediate income. That same cookbook has the potential to turn into a long-term profit producer. Cookbooks often continue to sell for many, many years after they were first published. A single cookbook can continue to provide long-term profits even years after you’ve written it.

So the cookbook you write now could very well still be making money for you even if you shut your food truck business down. This is referred to as “passive income” because after your initial investment of time, effort and money, you can sit back and spend your time doing other things while the money still continues to roll in.

But while a lot of people dream of writing a cookbook, for most it never goes beyond that – a dream. Why? Because they really have no clue how to do it. And so they may try, but don’t get far. Or they may never even try, because they lack the motivation and confidence, knowing they lack the necessary knowledge and guidance.

In future articles I’ll cover some of the aspects of writing a cookbook such as working with a publisher and self-publishing.

As a final note, just remember if you choose to start writing your own food truck cookbook, don’t get discouraged. Julia Child was rejected by almost every publishing house because “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” wasn’t considered a book that would sell.

Are you ready to take your dream of being a published cookbook author into a full-fledged and very profitable revenue stream for your food truck empire? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Food truck owners continually write to us concerning alternative revenue streams outside of travelling the streets of their local truck stops. Because of this we are always looking at how a mobile food vendor can expand their business without straying too far from their original concept.

Carnival Food Vendors

Today we will look at the food or beverage concession sector. Festivals and fairs can be an excellent way to supplement an existing food truck business, or it can be a viable mobile food business in its own right. Because most festivals and fairs take place outdoors during the spring, summer and fall, a food or beverage concession can offer seasonal work that allows you to pursue operating in your local market the rest of the year.

Permitting

It is relatively easy for a truck to transition their mobile food business into a festival or fair concessionaire. The first step is to contact the local health department where a fair or festival is located and ask about licenses and permits for operating a food or beverage booth at festivals and fairs.

Most will require that you do all your prep in a licensed commissary kitchen, just as you are required to do for your daily runs. If the event is too take place out of the area your commissary is located, you will need to arrange the use of a shared use kitchen or commissary in that area.

You may also need to obtain a separate temporary event permit for each festival or fair.

Menu Selection

Just as you did when you began your food truck, you will need to design a menu that is both interesting and simple. There should be appealing options, but each item should take a minimum of time to prepare.

If you use similar ingredients in multiple menu items, you can streamline your processes and reduce waste. Offer food that smells good and is interesting or exciting to prepare, to lure potential customers over to your booth. The easiest route would be to use your existing food truck menu.

Research

Be sure to visit a variety of festivals and fairs before choosing the ones where you will vend. Focus on events that draw the kind of clientele that will enjoy your food, for example, if you offer vegan food, you may not wish to vend at a wrestling event. Choose events whose scale matches your production capacity. If an event is big and busy it will probably have a high booth fee, and if you don’t have the experience and resources to produce enough food to cover the fee, you could lose money even if you are very busy.

Additional Equipment

Although you already own a portable kitchen, you may have to purchase or rent additional kitchen equipment to meet the demands of the crowds you want to serve. To transport this additional equipment, you may have to rent a moving truck. If you know you are going to be serving large crowds, speak with the event organizers to see if they will provide you with a trailer or truck with a refrigeration or freezer system so you can stay on site while replenishing your food stock.

You may also need to buy a portable tent canopy with signage, tables, a cash box and whatever small wares your operation requires.

Bonus Tip

Each fair or festival requires vendors to agree to various conditions. Some fairs cover vendors under a blanket insurance policy, while others expect you to carry your own insurance for the weekend or time of the fair. Research a festival before you begin the process of filing applications to make sure you’re willing and able to meet all requirements.

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Most food truck owners will tell you that working in the mobile food industry can be very rewarding and fun.  You get to create things, help out others, and be rewarded for doing so.  By running a food truck you often get to witness the joy you’re bringing your customers first hand. 

revenue increase

 

Sometimes though, it’s easy to focus on the stress of owning and operating a mobile food business and not the positive aspects.  It can be a drag on you, especially the tasks in the business that nobody sees.  Doing the books, putting together a marketing strategy, maintaining your truck, etc…. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take all those “behind the scene” tasks and extend their value beyond your daily routine? 

Most food truck owners have written a business plan for their small business.  In doing so, you’ve had to craft a marketing plan and over time, you’ve tweaked and honed it to make it even better. Look at the value in the marketing system that you built for your food truck plan, and look at how it can bring value to upstart food truck businesses and to the food truck community as a whole.

This is an opportunity use the by-products of the work you have already accomplished to start and operate your mobile restaurant. When you make something, you always make something else.  You can’t just make one thing.  Everything has a by-product.  Observant and creative business minds spot these by-products and see opportunities.

So, are you doing the same for your mobile food business?  Have you evaluated how the by-products of your truck can be used to add value to your business and your community?  Have you developed your own system that could bring value?  Are you educating?

Here’s some ideas to increase the number of revenue streams for your mobile food empire:

  • Write a book or blog
  • Create a cookbook
  • Distribute your homemade sauce or cookies to a local grocer
  • Consult for other food trucks or restaurants
  • Take the experience you create at your truck and bring it to new venues
  • Teach at a local community college
  • Speak with government officials
  • Re-purpose food overage
  • Partner with other businesses and take advantage of your mutual unique talents to benefit each other

Chances are very good that you have a by-product in your mobile food business that you’re not utilizing.  Put it to work for you.  If you can increase your revenue through it, that’s great, but also consider the impacts to your community and local economy as well.

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