Explaining Your Food Truck Grade to Customers
In recent news, Louisville became another of the growing lists of cities across the country that give out grades to mobile food vendors that must be displayed openly to the public.
Unfortunately, just like restaurants, not every mobile food establishment will earn an A grade. While you may know why you didn’t get an A, do your customers? What happens when a customer walks up and asks? How will you respond?
Very simple. You should communicate honestly, especially knowing that the guest can easily access the city’s report online while they are standing outside your truck.
Like a lot of customer concerns, they are unpleasant to handle, but ultimately better than not hearing them. A customer who asks you directly to explain your health inspection score is one you can win over, whereas one who sees something less than an A and walks away is lost revenue.
While you shouldn’t attempt to obscure the violations that gave you the B or C grade, there are some violations that the public generally understand as slip-ups: dented cans, missing or damaged flooring, food out of temperature, or no certified food handler in the truck, while others will have them running: rodents, roaches, poor hand washing, sick workers, and so on.
Within the realm of honesty, emphasize those violations that are least off-putting, explain what you are doing to correct the problems before you are re-inspected, and invite them to inspect your truck’s kitchen (assuming it is one in which you can take pride) for themselves to show that you are proud of the work you do and have nothing to hide. It won’t work for all customers, but if they are taking the time to ask about your score, they have an interest in dining from your food truck.