In the food truck industry, there are few things more important than effective brand development. When I discuss food truck brands, I mean the communication of a truck’s personality through the use of logos and truck design to menus, price points, and staff uniforms. In other words, your food truck’s branding identity.
Every food truck has a brand, but those that have found success, make a commitment to taking control theirs. Those that don’t, allow their brand to take on a life of its own. Today I’ll discuss a few strategies for taking ownership of your food truck’s brand identity.
Building A Branding Identity For Your Food Truck
Develop A Mission Statement
Keeping your service window line full six months, a year, or five years down the road is a challenge that vendors need to start tackling before you open it. A mission statement defines what you do, who you are, and why you’re doing it. Create a foundation for decision making that ultimately translates into a consistent guest experience.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you make your mission statement effective:
- Find someone to lead the process. If you’ve never worked on branding before, hire a professional who has experience with mission statements and managing process work. If you decide to do it in-house, appoint a team member with strong organizational and leadership skills who can take responsibility for keeping the team focused and on task.
- Keep it simple. Mission statement sessions will produce lots of ideas. Make sure to narrow them down. Remember that a mission statement isn’t meant to be a catchall. Look for the words and feelings that are repeatedly brought up and keep the big picture in mind. The goal is to use this as a reference tool when they’re making decisions, so your mission statement should be simple, concise, and easy to understand.
If you don’t know where to begin with your mission statement, look at what other food trucks or restaurants have developed. Using the resources spent by competitors is a great way to inspire your creativity.
Keep It Consistent
Your food truck brand identity is only as strong as its weakest element. To create and maintain a clear and consistent brand message, you must pay attention to all of the details. Every decision you make must tie back to what you do, who you are, and why you’re doing it. Some of the most prominent areas of your brand are:
- Name & Logo. The name of your food truck and how you display it graphically should be in step with the experience you’ve conceptualized. Elements like name length, ease of pronunciation and typeface all affect consumer perception of your food truck. Be measured and purposeful when making these choices. A name should always be able to tell a story, and everyone on the team should be aware of that story to communicate it effectively.
- Menu. Your menu is one element of your branding identity that your customers seek out more than any other. The menu board formatting, ingredient listing and the price point must work together.
- Uniforms. Your staff members are part of your brand. What they wear is a representation of your food truck. If you don’t have a specific uniform, at least consider setting up some guidelines if you encourage your staff to express their personalities.
- Exterior Truck Design. Everything a guest sees at your truck is an indication of your brand. Your truck wrap, packaging, and anything placed outside of your truck should be consistent with the rest of your brand.
Find Your Voice
Once you have a clear picture of your food truck’s branding identity, determine your voice and make it heard. Your website, your employees, and your social media presence provide the most traction in speaking for your brand.
- Website. Often, your website will be a prospective customer’s first impression of your food truck. This is why the feeling someone gets from looking at your homepage should match the one they get when they walk up to your truck. You will never make a lifelong customer from your website alone, but you certainly can lose one. Don’t cut corners in building a food truck website.
- Internal communication. Nobody is a better ambassador of your brand than your employees. If they understand the brand and the who, what, and why that’s driving it, they will take greater ownership of delivering it. Use things such as branded, consistent email signatures to reinforce your brand through communication.
- Social media. Social media content should be carefully considered and share the same voice as your website and other branded materials. If you’re a chef-driven, ingredient-focused food truck, skip the emoji.
The Bottom Line
The food truck industry is currently as competitive as ever. These branding identity tips are ways you can set yourself and your food truck apart and ensure sustained success.