Completing a competitive analysis is an essential step in starting a food truck business. It is also import even if your food truck has been open for years. For example, you’d be smart to do a competitive analysis before adding a second truck, expanding into new city, or adding a new menu item or service. Today We’ll discuss how to better understand your competition in the mobile food industry.

How To Preform A Competitive Analysis

Keeping an eye on the competition may offer your mobile food business an edge. Here’s how.

Identify Competitors

These could include the obvious and the not-so-obvious. Find all of the food trucks and restaurants in your area that have similar menus. Then go out and find businesses that sell similar food items. This could be a grocery or even a convenience store. No track down all of the competitors that provide similar services such as catering.


To avoid being overwhelmed by a list of dozens of competitors, consider narrowing your list down by selecting the three to five food businesses that that you consider your toughest competition.

Gather Information

The more data you have, the better you will be able to analyse your competition. Here are some items to track down.

  • Menu and Services. What do they sell? What are the features of their menu or services? How is it priced? What are the costs to produce their menu items?
  • Marketing. What is their target market? What marketing and advertising strategies do they use? How often do they advertise?
  • Sales. What sales channels are used to sell their services?
  • Reputation. What is the competition’s reputation with customers? How well do customers rate them on service, price, and quality? What do customers like and dislike about them? What type of publicity do they get?
  • Finances. What are their annual sales? Do they have outside funding? If so, how much and from whom? How profitable are they?
  • Growth. What cities do they operate in? Are they expanding or cutting the areas they operate? How many employees doe they have?

Where To Find The Answers

To do a thorough competitive analysis, here are some sources for the information you need.

  • Public documents. SEC filings, business formation records, and other publicly available records can provide some information, especially if the competitor is public.
  • Their website. Check it regularly to see how they’re promoting themselves and what they’re planning.
  • Online. Look for articles, blogs or press releases about the competition online. Create a Google Alert for them so you can keep current on what they’re doing or what others are saying about them.
  • Advertising campaigns. Their advertising can tell you a lot about the competition’s brand, positioning, target market and plans, as well as its marketing budget.
  • Marketing materials. Sales brochures and literature from competitors are a great sources of information.
  • Suppliers. You can learn a lot just by talking to your suppliers. They will often share useful information about the competition during casual conversations.
  • Social media. Use social media to keep up on what the competition is doing, and what they’re talking about.
  • The competition. Visit your competitors’ locations to take note of things such as customer service, branding, quality and their customer base.

Document Your Findings

Depending on the number of competitors, and amount of information you’ve collected, you might put together a simple Word doc or a detailed Excel spreadsheet so you can easily check your data. 

Use It

Once your competitive analysis is complete, you might perform a SWOT analysis of your competitors’ businesses, as well as update your own. With this analysis, you may spot opportunities for your business as well as threats to its future. Now you will be able to pinpoint your food truck’s competitive edge and make sure your marketing and branding all emphasize it.

RELATED: Developing a SWOT Analysis for Your Mobile Food Business

The Bottom Line

A competitive analysis isn’t a one-time thing for new food truck owners. Now that you know your key competitors inside and out, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them and track changes such as an increase or decrease in advertising, hiring or laying off employees, expanding or leaving locations. Changes like these indicate new plans that, with your competitive analysis in hand, you may be able to counteract with your own food truck growth strategy.

Have you conducted a competitive analysis for your food truck? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section or social media. Facebook | Twitter