I’ve recently noticed that many food trucks tend to forget the word “social” in social media. They may post location updates on Facebook or compose tweets on Twitter, but they don’t progress further than that. They never take the time to read the replies or actively engage by responding to their followers. Ultimately this is the reverse of what social media is all about and every food truck vendor should take full advantage of the many social media platforms at their disposal.
If the number of social media platforms stresses you out…instead, focus on your customers and learn how to engage with them more effectively. Significant time is spent on researching how to use various social media tools, but understanding your customers and how they react on social media will be more beneficial to your mobile food business in the long run.
Regulars customers are the life-blood of a food truck business, and each and every loyal customer starts off with a first visit to your service window.
So what can you do to ensure those first time customers come back a second or third time. Your food and service can be great, but if that is where you stop thinking about keeping a customer coming back for more, you are missing some opportunities.
So how do you know it’s a first visit? Your service window attendant’s welcoming statement should gather information so they can tailor the service and make the visit special. This can be done quickly and easily with one question:
Have you been here before? Whatever the answer, this is the opportunity to give more information about your trucks menu, how long you’re been open, best way to find your truck etc.
Service for first-timers may need to be a little different to what’s offered to your regulars:
- Share information in small chunks, rather than one long speech at the beginning. Take several opportunities to talk about the specials, the menu, the beverage choices and any up coming special events.
- Gather contact details. Hand each new customer a small card asking for their email address. Ask and you may receive…don’t ask and you’ll never be able to start a customer list.
- Offer other ways to stay in touch. If you have a Website, Facebook Page or Twitter account (which you should have), make sure they’re on the menu board and on your food truck’s wrap. You’ll be surprised how many customers will check them out before they even get their order.
- Send them off with a souvenir. This can be a business card and a copy of the menu. You never know where this marketing literature will end up or who else may get to see them. Also, remind them about your website and social media accounts: “They’re on the card and on the menu”.
- Follow up with an email. Remember how you already got it (see item two on this list). Food truck owners I have spoken with and send feedback forms to all of the customers who join their mailing list. In most cases they tell me they get between 50-75% of them returned with positive or constructive feedback. Set apart about 30 minutes a week to send your new customers a feedback form.
Using these suggestions in any food truck business can help bolster your returning customer numbers. In doing this, you will also gain word of mouth marketing that these new loyal customers will provide…all free of charge.