Tags Posts tagged with "Sales"

Sales

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food truck sales

In a mobile food business, food truck sales are what will determine if you are able to make it through your first year of operation. Projecting your future food truck sales is a critical step in ensuring that your business is profitable.

Before you open, it is definitely worth it to have an idea of whether or not your sales will support your business needs. Pulling a number out of thin air does nothing for you, and although there is no actual formula for projecting sales for your start up  making a well-informed guess is critical to planning your first-year funds. We have put together some guidelines for estimating the amount of funds you can bring in from your mobile food truck or cart in its first year.

food truck sales

Do not base your estimations on how many people you can serve with your truck or cart at full capacity, since this may be unlikely for your first year of business.

Figure out how many customers you can serve and then plan for about 75% of that case. Pay attention to your area demographics. People may flock to a similar cuisine food truck in the area already, but may not be excited about going to yours, or vice versa. A lot depends on your concept and where or when you will be serving the public.

Determining Your Food Truck Sales

Estimate Customer Numbers

By now you will likely have a few specific areas you plan to use as regular locations, or at least a general idea. A great way to learn about how many of walk up customers you may expect is by comparing your potential business to existing mobile kitchens in the area. Visit trucks or carts of similar size and cuisine type.  Although these businesses may turn out to be your competitors, you can obtain valuable information by observing how many covers they serve during peak hours. You may even speak with the owner to learn about how many covers they see in a week.

Estimate Average Spending Per Customer

Once you have a customer count estimate, you will need to come up with a per person average based on your menu prices. Make sure you use middle-of-the-road cost values from your menu to figure this out. That means choosing moderately-priced menu items in lieu of the least pricey or costliest. After all, you cannot expect all of your guests to buy the most expensive item on your menu every time. In general, your sales are a function of how many people you serve and how much they spend.

Also, be sure to take in to consideration the difference in number of customers and per customer spending averages for different meal periods. For example, lunch periods tend to bring in lower average sales than dinner periods, unless you are able to find locations to park in central business district where there is a lot of foot traffic and hungry workers. Days of the week will also bring in different sales as well. For example, Thursday nights are usually more profitable for food trucks than Monday nights.

Generate a chart showing estimated number of customers per meal period each day, as well as the per person spending average.

Estimate Food Truck Sales for the Year

After mapping out sales projections for the week, some mobile food vendors will merely multiply their weekly sales totals by 52 weeks to get a year’s sales projection. Other owners will divide the year into seasons to reflect the business they will receive during different times of the year. This is a little more complicated because seasons vary depending on region, but it can be more accurate since some months are usually busier than others. Think about what an average week’s sales might look like, and then ask yourself what you might make in the work of a slow week and in the work of a busy week.

Consulting seasoned food truck employees or owners in your area will help you to decide what kind of traffic or sales volume to expect at different times of the year. These estimations will vary from truck to truck, depending on your menu and your locations. After even a few months of operating, you will have a much better idea of what to anticipate as far as sales go, and you can alter your estimations accordingly. You should also evaluate your operations and promotion efforts if sales are not matching the projections in your business plan.

Running a mobile food business is no small endeavor, and you are more likely to succeed when you have done the appropriate research and made some rational estimates. Figure out what you might expect as far as visitor attendance and sales per person by checking out the competition and determining what is rational for your idea, location and customer demographics. This will also help make sure you are financially prepared for the revenue your rolling bistro will bring in during the course of your hard first year.

Do you have any additional tips to help determine your food truck sales? If so, please feel free to share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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zombie food truck

The Halloween is back and there will be ghosts and goblins wandering the streets in search of treats in the coming weeks. We have compiled some ideas for your use to help spark sales and show your customers that are in the Halloween spirit with them.

Spookify your Twitter theme: Many people feel as if one profile theme is enough and never touch it after they initially activate their account. Change your theme to match the season show your followers that you and your business enjoy Halloween as much as they do.

pumpkin food truck

Find a Truck Gathering: Throughout the country, more and more cities are allowing food trucks, and in those cities, the market is accepting them with open arms. A recent trend across California is festivals centered on food trucks. Find one of these gatherings that are following a Halloween theme. Show up following some of these tips, and you and your customers will do nothing but enjoy the evening.

Special Halloween Menu Items: This may be the easiest thing for food trucks to do to get into the Halloween spirit. Take a standard menu item, tweak it to give it a Halloween flavor, or even renaming menu items can let your customers know you are part of the scene, not just there for sales.

Costumes: As long as safety is viewed as the number one issue, ask your employees to dress up for the night. Make it fun for both your employees and customers. We don’t want to find out that any of you food truckers has gotten into an accident because you left your mask on while driving or has injured themselves while preparing their food because their costume was to baggy.

Decorations: Fake spider webs, jack-o-lanterns, spooky lighting, maybe even a little dry ice in a bucket outside of the truck. If you have a lot you plan to spend the evening in, decorate it for the occasion.

Halloween Music: This is part of the decorating theme, but something that can be over looked. Go out and buy a compilation CD of Halloween sounds or songs and play them for your customers throughout the night, just make sure to keep the volume at a level where orders can be given without the need to scream.

Candy for the Kids: Always part of Halloween, many parents will be out with their children trick or treating, if the kids are rushing Mom and Dad off because the truck next door is giving away Snickers bars, you are risking a loss in sales.

Contests: Hold a best costume contest at a specific time of the night. Not only will this type of thing be fun for your customers, it will give them more reason to hang around your truck (and buy more food). The winner could receive a free item off your menu.

We would love to hear from our readers about suggestions or tips that you think would work well for food trucks. If you are out tonight and spot a truck that is in the spirit of the night, take a picture and send it to us at admin [at] mobile-cuisine [dot] com. Who knows, your shot, or your favorite truck may be part of the next feature in Mobile Cuisine.

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tip of the dayWhen food truck owners make a pitch to a passing prospective customer, no one wants to hear no. In the absence of a yes, you may think that maybe is preferable. But when maybe is the long way to no, it can simply be a waste of your time. It’s better to hear no sooner rather than later. Here are three steps to driving a decision: 

  • Be clear with your pitch. People often say maybe because they are confused about what you’re selling.
  • Know when silence means no. People hate to say no as much as food truck vendors hate to hear it. When you sense that someone is going to say no, but hasn’t built up the courage to express it, provide an out. Something as simple as, “I assume it’s a pass for now?” can help the other party be definitive about its decision.

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Food trucks are poised to take advantage of the new mobile economy. They integrate naturally into the world of mobile tech, with mobile point-of-sales payments and social media driving their businesses. Food trucks can use these tools in a natural and immediate way. IT Business Edge reports 94 percent of businesses claim their mobile efforts greatly enhance efficiency. But food trucks are already on this cutting edge by the sheer nature of their business, and they can take advantage of mobile technology to gain major ground against competition.

food trucks on street
Photo by tedeytan via Flickr

Below are just a few tips to advance a mobile business to complement the world of mobile technology.

1. Learn About the Market

It may seem absurd, but simply knowing the growth potential of your business gives you an edge in developing and progressing. The Intuit Network reports mobile food will be a $2.7 billion industry by 2017. The report further confirms that one of the best attributes of a mobile food truck is instant interaction and an ability to alter the menu at will based on immediate customer reaction. The health food industry is booming, and mobile food trucks are able to tap into that market and provide local food items that are micro-targetted to the population.

2. Build Your Menu

Mobile Cuisine notes the vast majority of successful food trucks target market 8-10 main dishes that fit a theme or food style. Though it can be wise to expand beyond that, the menu needs to be focused. Mobile food trucks need to find a niche in the community and fill it.

3. Detail Your Finances

Any mobile business requires some upfront cost, and managing these costs in a practical way is the first step to success. Priceonomics reports that a starting a food truck business could easily cost upwards of $150,000, with $50,000 being the low end. The truck itself is the biggest cost, which can be close to $35,000 for one that has the space required for a larger project.

Food truck owners put in long days and work hard. They need financial tools to make life easy. Mobile payment systems that sync with phones or tablets are a must. Many mobile card readers also sync with accounting systems like Intuit Quickbooks to make recording income and expenditures incredibly easy.

4. Have a Contingency for Growth

One of the biggest faults in the early development of a mobile business is the lack of a growth plan, notes Fast Company. If your business takes off, how will you meet demand and increase production?

5. Iron Out the Legalities

The Small Business Association recommends examining the following areas before starting your business:

  • Health and Safety Regulations
  • Taxes
  • Zoning
  • Permits and Licensing

Each city differs in small ways, but health regulations typically cost $1,000 for a one year.

Author:

Marissa Clark

Marissa is a business consultant, tech geek and sci-fi fanatic from New York.

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Growing a food truck’s sales is an essential goal of all mobile food businesses, however it is NOT the surest way to make a major impact on your short term profitability. Reducing the truck’s non-essential expenses is.

double food truck profits

To double your bottom line profit, a food truck with a net income of 5% of sales would need a minimum sales increase of 10% and likely as much as 15% or more. Besides food, beverage and other variable costs, generating more sales would likely require additional marketing expenses as well as the use of some type of promotional discounting or coupons.

For virtually all food service industry businesses (including food truck and carts), the most effective way to boost profitability quickly and permanently is not by putting a hard push on sales but by limiting (to the extent of eliminating) the amount of your unneeded expenses.

Two of the most important functions of any mobile food business are:

  • Retain current customers
  • Attract new customers

Based on these assumptions, how much of your monthly costs and expenses are being directed toward supporting these two areas? Every mobile food vendor who can’t say, “all of it” or even worse, doesn’t know, is likely not maximizing their food truck’s profitability.

Over the past 3 years we’ve spoken with many food truck vendors and 99% of them were easily wasting 5% to 10% of sales on things that had absolutely no impact on their existing or potential guests.

If you are truly serious about doubling or significantly enhancing your profit, ask your accountant or bookkeeper (yes, ask yourself if you do the books yourself) for your year-to-date detailed general ledger. Then, account by account, line by line, invoice by invoice, check by check, examine each and every expenditure in your mobile food business.

On every item ask yourself, is this a “necessary” cost of retaining or attracting customers? It may help to look at your spending in terms of whether each purchase satisfies a “need” or a “want”. All food trucks “need” certain products and services to provide for their customers.

Conversely, “wants” often reflect the desires of management and staff. These costs are incurred primarily for the comfort and convenience of the management and staff, not the customer. Be objective and cut out what you don’t really “need” to be spending money on.

This simple, yet highly effective way to evaluate your costs and expenses is the easiest and surest way to double your profit in 2014.

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An increasing number of food trucks are looking to boost their winter sales with deals to lure customers back to their service windows.  One way you can do this is to randomly awards free meals to a customer every week.

free food sign

The primary reason this marketing ploy works is that it helps build brand recognition and loyalty, which in turn can boost word-of-mouth marketing. The cost of a single meal, entree or appetizer is far outweighed by the amount of marketing traction you can get from running this type of deal.

 

There are many ways to creatively apply a free meal campaign to your own food truck no matter how big (or small) your sales are:

 

  • Encourage customers to sign up for your email list and randomly select a monthly winner from new signups to receive a free meal
  • Randomly give away a free meal per shift
  • Give away a free entree or appetizer in exchange for filling out an online or paper survey and providing an email address
  • Hold “happy hour” specials featuring a buy one, get one free entree, appetizer.

 

Run these offers on the social media platforms you subscribe to such as Twitter or Facebook and see how quickly they end up retweeted or shared. Even if someone doesn’t enter your contest, your brand is being shared among many people within your community…for what…$2.50 in food cost?

The best way to leverage a free meal offering is to gather some information from your customer while they take advantage of it.  The more you know about your customer, the better you can target them for repeat business in the future.  And the more you build your customer base, the more likely you are to survive hard times.

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So you think that now that you bought a bright and shiny food truck all you have to do is park it in your local downtown and wait for the money to come rolling in. What could be easier…right?

food truck sales

The thing many don’t understand is that a mobile food business, like every other business on the planet, is a sales business. This article will show you how to make the sales process run itself so you can concentrate on the fun part of operating a food truck…interacting with your customers and making great food.

The Sales Process

It doesn’t matter what you sell; every business must follow the same six steps in order to sell anything at all.

Every dollar that your food truck generates is a result of these steps, sometimes referred to as the sales funnel. If you aren’t making as much money as you think you should, odds are that you’ve got a hole in your funnel because one or more steps in your sales process is broken or missing.

Here are the six steps in order:

Find customers

In our business we do this by attracting attention to ourselves. The first step is getting yourself noticed. Remember – if they don’t notice you, you don’t exist.

Qualify the customer

Qualifying means that you are sure that they are capable of completing the transaction. A qualified lead is one that has enough money to buy your food, and one that is hungry for what you serve. You will get qualified customers by being in the right place at the right time.

Make your presentation

Don’t just sell your food truck food, sell an experience. Have a theme, a gimmic, a hook. Your customer should be captivated by the experience, totally immersed in your world while they are at your truck.

Address the customer’s objections

Overcome a price objection by overwhelming them with quality, stocking unique condiments, offering them daily specials, and provide a totally unique dining experience.

One of the biggest objections food truck owners get is the cleanliness issue. Overcome it by keeping an immaculate truck. Wipe it down between every order. Even if it’s not dirty, the customer needs to see you cleaning. Display your business license and health department certificates to show that you are legal and that you comply with the food codes.

Another common objection is slow lines. Do what you can to move them through quickly without compromising the experience. This may mean spending more time prepping items in your commercial kitchen so it doesn’t take as much time in the truck to assemble an order…do what you can to keep your line moving.

Close the sale

That means putting the money in your cash box. In the mobile food business, once you have the first four steps working for you, closing the sale comes easily and naturally. This is a huge advantage over other types of business where the close is actually the hardest part of all.

Get repeat and referral business

It takes ten times more effort to get a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer so you have to get ‘em to come back again and again. You might accomplish this with repeat customer incentive programs such as punch cards. The more they buy, the more invested they become.

Referrals are another way of leveraging your existing hard-won customers. Referral business is just a fancy way of saying, “word of mouth”. The experience that you give your customer will determine how much they talk about it to their friends.

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tip of the dayIn the food truck industry it’s easy to be patient for things that need more urgency and too impatient for the for things that need more time. Growth comes from understanding what needs to be nurtured over the long term and which areas need short term focus.

Profit driven from delivering what customers love and want to pay a premium for is vital. Too many food trucks focus on sales growth through volume and discounts to almost ‘bribe’ the customer to choose them. This impatience for sales growth leads a devaluation of what you are offering.

Sales growth comes from customer’s loving what you do. The right talent is required to deliver great products based upon being impatient for a real understanding of how consumers shop, how they live and what they want.

Creating great food products and services delivers profit to invest in your mobile food business to repeat the circle.

Growth should never be at the expense of profit – be impatient in building the pillars of profit yet patient for growth built on the right foundations.

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tip of the dayAn easy way to drive up your food truck’s sales numbers is through the presentation to your customers and the words you use.

Some may say, “It’s just coffee!”  Instead try, “It’s hot, freshly brewed coffee.”

You say “cheesecake.”  Try this, “Our rich, creamy New York style cheesecake that’s topped with strawberry syrup.”

You say it’s your “soup of the day.” You could say, “It’s our original homemade vegetable soup.”

Which is the way you or your service window staff present your menu offering? By adding descriptive words into your sales presentation, your customers will have a better picture of what you’re selling. And, if you do it right, they’ll end up ordering whatever you want them to order.

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rutgers grease truckNEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The grease trucks have started working on new ways to bring in revenue after they were forced to move from Lot 8 Aug. 15. The R U Hungry? Truck, for example, is going to begin a delivery service, as well as offering catering.

Beginning this week, Ayman Elnaggar, owner of the truck, said they will start delivering fat sandwiches to all campuses as a way to try and recover lost revenue after moving off Lot 8 more than two months ago. Rutgers moved them off the to build a residence hall.

All the grease trucks have seen a loss in revenue since they were forced to move to various locations around the University.

Mr. C’s lunch trucks are now located on Biel Road on Cook and outside Alexander Library on College Avenue. Just Delicious has moved to George Street outside the residence halls, and R U Hungry? sits in the former Souper Van location outside the Douglass Campus Center.

Sam Habib, owner of Just Delicious, said after the move, he has seen a significant loss of sales in his sandwiches. He attributes this mostly due to the fact that no one knows where his new location is, compared to when all the trucks were grouped together.

Find the entire article at dailytargum.com <here>

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