For a food truck to be successful, it needs to have unique features that set it apart from the competition. It could be a special dish, unique services, perks or anything else that you offer and nobody else does. However, you should not get complacent after you have hit upon and implemented a few unique features. Remember, copycat competitors are never too far away.
Dealing With Copycat Competitors In The Food Truck Industry
Although unethical, some of your competitors do not hesitate to copy your special features for their own food truck business. How do you tackle them?
Copyright infringement lawsuit?
Of course, copyrighting your menu items services does help. If a copycat competitor does copy one of you copyrighted items or systems, you can sue and demand that they stop using your copyrighted ideas.
However, if you consider this action from business point of view, it seems very counterproductive. First off, most food truck owners do not have the disposable income to hire an attorney to represent you in court, but even if you do, you end up spending a lot of resources and time for the court proceedings and your food truck will suffer.
Moreover, if several food trucks copy from you, it becomes rather cumbersome to sue every one of them. A better alternative is to tackle them out of court.
The innovator is always the best placed to improve on a product or service because he developed the whole thing. If you serve a unique dish, you know the little secrets that make it so popular. Ensure that you maintain the highest quality of ingredients and service from your truck. Do not let the competition scare you and do not try to cut costs by reducing quality.
Push your brand value
When you offer something unique in your mobile food business, you build a brand. When copycat competitors emerge, use your brand value to overcome them. Market your brand aggressively. In every social media platform you publish on, make a subtle mention of the fact that you were the first to offer a particular service. The word “first” always has a special impact because people prefer originals over imitations.
Understand the competitors and stay ahead
Study the competition and analyze what they are doing and make sure that your mobile food business comes up with excellent services in those areas. People visit your food truck not just for one particular service or dish but for the overall experience they get out of the visit. So, enhance the quality of service you offer and ensure an excellent overall experience.
Do not be satiated with one unique offering at your food truck. The market will always keep shifting preferences. Research your market continuously, understand what the latest preferences of target audience are and offer those services. Come up with new offerings regularly and stay a step ahead of copycats.
Offer value to customers who visit your food truck or cart. Give out complimentary goodies if customers order a dish that your competitor copied. Offer special discounts. Think of ways to add value to the experience your customers have when ordering from your truck’s service window.
The Bottom Line
Remember that prevention is better than cure. So, protect the secrets of your food truck. Make it a point never to leak secret ingredients, recipes and anything else that establishes your uniqueness in the market. Copycat competitors are always “second comers”. They are not really a threat unless you drop the quality you offer. So, embrace the competition and grow with it.