Tags Posts tagged with "Revenue"


Today’s article covers one of the most unused sources for building long term customer loyalty for food trucks but should be one of the most obvious: kids’ meals.

After all, around 45 percent of American families include children, who are typically picky eaters. In most cases, parents with kids have limited dining options. They can eat fast food or you can go to one of a handful of local restaurants. It’s not a great choice for the consumer. Why not help them out by providing a kid’s meal on your food truck?

Kids’ meals found at local diners or fast food restaurants are typically unhealthy, and uninspired. Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese (not the scratch made kind), and chicken nuggets are generally the available options. What if your food truck offered an imaginative kids’ menu that is as flavorful and inspired as your regular menu?

Kids’ Meals Need To Look Good

You will definitely want your serving style to be attractive to the parents as well as the child. If you do it right, this is the type of thing that parents tell their friends about, upload images to Instagram, and come back for.

Use smaller servings and fresh, colorful ingredients. This is where those beautiful purple potatoes, that bright orange cauliflower, and the red and white striped beets absolutely shine. Use small cookie cutters to turn steamed sweet potato slices into fun shapes.

Make Nutrition and Flavor A Priority

Don’t settle for less quality on your kids’ menu just because kids are eating it. If you do your take on chicken nuggets be sure they are made by you or your staff with a unique breading and truck made dipping sauces. Create scaled down versions of your most popular menu items and then brainstorm how to make them look fun when the kids dig in.

Don’t leave the foods bland, either. A little seasoning plus the appropriate herbs are just as delicious to a six year old as a thirty year old hipster.

Toys Are Optional

kids' mealsDepending on the amount of space you have on your truck, you may consider whether or not to give small toys away with the kids’ meals. It is really up to you. It is nice to have a kid’s menu that can be colored that is presented with a crayon or two but anything else is probably not going to make a big difference in your food truck’s marketing success.

If you do decide to provide toys get good ones. If you can find a local toy manufacture, consider having a small version of your truck created. I can’t tell you how much the kids love the mini food truck we had created for the promotion ofRunning a Food Truck for Dummies.”

Kids Eat Free

Think about offering free food for kids during certain hours. This is a great idea that can increase your line pretty quickly. Choose some of your off-hours for the free meals and use it to pump up business during those times. For example, offering a kids eat free option from 4:30 – 6:00 will get families to track your truck down when you normally wouldn’t be serving many people.

Generally children can no longer eat for free after the age of 12, although in some places it is 10. You’ll want to have a rule that the items must be ordered off of the kid’s menu, and maybe only one free child’s meal per paying adult.

There are numerous ways to build up your food truck business with small guests; it just takes a little forethought and planning.

Many food truck owners have written to us asking for advice in creating alternative revenue streams for their mobile food businesses. So how do we respond? We tell them that the sale of t-shirts, mugs, hats and other merchandise can provide them with a supplemental revenue source.

food truck tshirt marketing

For your customers, your food can be a moving experience and provides you with a way to express your truck’s identity. So your customers may want to buy merchandise to bring home something from your truck. However, a considerable percentage of mobile food vendors miss this opportunity to gain an extra revenue stream and advance their food truck’s brand through merchandising.

Loyal Customers Want More

The benefits do not end after the customer pays for your merchandise.  Frequently, it has a much larger marketing effect. Typically, a loyal customer commits to your food truck brand even more. This commitment has a lasting effect as it solidifies their opinion of your food truck. Think about all the times the customer will come across the merchandise at home and be reminded of the last item they eat from your truck.

Topic of Conversation

The second effect springs out of the conversations that the product provokes. A compliment or question is an opportunity for word-of-mouth marketing between a loyal customer and a potential customer. You may think your logo is an effective advertisement when someone walks down the street wearing it on his or her cap or shirt. That is not normally the case; instead, the T-shirt serves a marketing purpose when people get into conversations about the merchandise. These conversations give your customers the opportunity to talk about your food truck or cart and why they like it so much.

Spread Your Brand

Merchandising can also take your brand one step further, as just having only your logo on a cap is a recipe for failure. You should really express your brand fully and connect it to your food truck’s identity whether it’s through memorable text or visuals. Of course, you must consider customer demographics and what they want.

Here are some types of merchandise you may consider with a few pointers:

Tips for Merchandise

  • Text or image in front that expresses food truck brand (whether funny, clever, or cool)
  • Logo is better on the back as customers shouldn’t feel like billboards and it will get more attention
  • Should last in washing machine and affordable
  • Use these T-shirts as a staff uniform
  • Travel mugs are better as they have the potential for greater word-of-mouth marketing
  • Better to have a distinct shape rather than traditional mug
  • Should be high quality
  • Baseball caps are your safest bet
  • Creative placement or representation of logo as back is out of sight

Other brand-specific Items

  • Glasses, magnets, key chains, pins, stickers

Four things that will help you anticipate the success of merchandising is:

  1. Evaluate the size and excitement of your most loyal customers
  2. Desirability of the merchandise
  3. Visibility of the products
  4. Price (remember there may be different state sales tax for merchandise)

Be sure that you give customers a way to find out about these products (show them off in your service window or on your food truck’s website). When in doubt, you should ask them if merchandise from your food truck would interest them.

new revenue streams

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.

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?

Ideas For New Revenue Streams:
  • 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
  • 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.

What other new revenue streams do you have in your food truck business that you’d like to share with our readers? You can share them privately via email, or publicly through Facebook or Twitter.

With the mobile food industry continuing to grow we are constantly on the look out to assist both the owner operators as well as the customers of these rolling bistros. From time to time we run polls to gain industry information that truck owners can use to help better their customer service and the options that they provide to the communities that they serve. Other times our polls are set to find out general information “we” want to know.


This week’s poll centers around food truck revenues. We want to know how much your mobile food business makes annually? Let us know, so we can share our findings with our readers.

[poll id=”21″]

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