If you’re like most food truck owners, your business card has your title listed as CEO or owner, but you know that on any given day it could just as easily read executive chef, line cook, customer service, marketing manager, technology director, accountant…etc.
Food truck vendors don’t have the luxury of passing duties off to a group of department heads. The success of your mobile food business depends on your ability to wear all of the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels of your business spinning. At times, the crazy pace needed to operate properly can turn even the most capable person into an overwhelmed culinary entrepreneur wearing far too many hats.
It’s this point that most will begin looking at hiring staff members to help with certain jobs on the truck. Before looking to bring on help, you should sit down and objectively assess your own strengths and weakness. What areas of your business do you love? Where do you need more discipline and development?
By identifying your areas of weakness, you can see where you could best get assistance from an employee. When hiring it’s always best to try to maximize your own strengths and fill in gaps for your weaknesses, rather than just hire for what you’d consider “lower wage” work.
With that said, at some time in the future your business is going to grow beyond your own abilities. This means you need to staff up the truck. While it may seem like a dream that you will be able to delegate some jobs, growth can bring its own set of problems:
- When you’ve been used to running your business on your own, it can be difficult to relinquish control of day-to-day details. But it’s critical to let go. Successful vendors don’t micromanage what each staff member is doing.
- Make sure you’re giving your food truck employees the freedom to make decisions (even make mistakes and correct the mistakes themselves). In the long run, you’ll have a wiser, more confident, more effective and more capable crew. And you’ll be able to focus on the strategic aspects of your business.
- Make sure your staff clearly understands the results you expect. The mark of any good food truck employee is their embracing of the goals you set for your business.
- Staff must be personally accountable for their actions. The best staff works under general supervision and manages themselves.
Make time to work on your business (not just in your truck).
When you own a food truck, it’s all too easy to get lost in the daily grind inside your truck and put off strategic, long-term planning. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to dedicate time in your calendar each week to consider your business and market trends, think about potential opportunities and do some long-term positioning.
The majority of food truck owners will always wear and point out that they wear too many hats. Make sure these multiple hats are helping more than they are hurting your mobile food business.