Tags Posts tagged with "Sales"

Sales

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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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suburban-food-truck
BUSINESS JOURNAL PHOTO | Marcus R. Donner

SEATTLE, WA - It might sound odd, but food trucks are playing a role in multi-million dollar commercial real estate investments.

The operators of some suburban-style offices in the greater Seattle area are bringing in the trucks to give their properties the urban pizzazz that tenants hunger for.

It wasn’t too long ago that the word “suburban” was an anathema to many buyers of commercial office space. Sprawling suburban campuses were, for the most part, considered a poor investment since tenants wanted to be in more lively central business districts, where it’s easier to attract employees.

Look at what happened in 2010, when 66 Seattle area properties sold for nearly $1.3 billion. Of that amount, just two downtown Bellevue properties, the Bravern and City Center Plaza office towers sold for a combined $720 million, accounting for more than half of that dollar volume.

The competition for urban assets drove prices up to the point that investors’ yields dropped, and the luster started to wear off.

“You started to hear the term ‘urban fatigue,’” said Greg MacDiarmid, a regional operating partner for Seattle-based Schnitzer West.

And real estate investors started to look outside the region’s key central business districts for investment opportunities.

Find the entire article at bizjournals.com <here>

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With the mobile food industry continuing to grow we are constantly on the look out to assist the owner operators 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.

Food Truck Locations

This week’s poll is centered on where food truck owners are achieving the highest percentage of their sales. Much of this is determined by the laws that govern food trucks in their local area. Some trucks can operate on the streets while others have been pushed off the street and forced into lots or in some cases catering alone. We would like to know where you get the most sales in your market.

Where Does Your Food Truck Generate the Highest Percentage of Your Sales?

View Results

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We would also ask owners to share this link to this poll with other owners in your area so we can gain as much data as possible. Once we have this information we will share the findings with our readers.

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