Once something becomes familiar, it’s human nature to lose our eye for the details. We’re often surprised to find that there is a ding on your car’s passenger door or those favorite jeans are fading simply because we see them every day. In a way, you become blind to its faults. This isn’t a big deal when dealing with your clothing, but it can be a very big deal for food truck vendors. Running a food truck requires you maintain highly competitive to keep hold of your market share.
If customers stop coming to your truck, or stop ordering catering from you, they will usually have other options they can find from other trucks or restaurants in your area. So what can you do to keep your food truck business at its best? You need to look at your food truck business with a fresh pair of eyes – yours, and your staff’s. Here’s how you can audit your food truck business and see what your customers see.
Audit Your Food Truck By Becoming the Customer
The key to this approach is to pretend you’re a first-time guest, even an out-of-towner. Start with a simple walk up approach. Is every area (inside and out) of your food truck clean?
Next, approach the service window and pay attention to your window attendant (or the primary point of contact for newly arriving customers). Are they friendly and eager to help? How do they interact with guests? Is this the first impression you want customers to have? This also can also apply to the person that handles incoming phone calls. These people represent your food truck, and they will deal with virtually your entire customer base. Good communication skills and intrapersonal skills are a must.
At this point, you may also want to take a look at your technology specifically your POS/Ordering systems. If you’re using tablet devices, do they still work well? Are they easy to use? Are they synced with your latest menu options? Do they get regularly updated and cleaned?
Pull up your food truck’s website. Does it need a fresh look? Are the menus and special offers still valid? Does it work as well on mobile devices as it does on a PC or laptop? Any problems in these areas can lead to losing customers.
Audit Your Food Truck With Your Staff
Your eyes shouldn’t be the only set of eyes involved in this exercise. Enlist the help of your staff. Have your staff experience the food truck as customers and give you their input. In particular, get the cooks out of the kitchen and into the line. Having the total experience, from start to finish, can spur creativity and help fine-tune recipes.
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The Bottom Line
When I help food truck vendors audit their trucks, I pretend that I am a first-time tourist to the city. Sure, you may think that sounds strange, especially when I help trucks in cities I’ve been to numerous times, but it opens my point of view to things I may otherwise miss, good and bad.
Doing the same thing for your food truck will help you improve your customers’ overall experience and your mobile food business.
Do you audit your food truck in this manner? What did you find that surprised you? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook