Want to increase sales and grow your food truck business? The best thing to do is focus on the following food truck growth tips. Hundreds of food trucks have used these principles and applied them to their food trucks with varying levels of success. In my opinion, these are the best ways to grow a food truck brand in any market.

Food Truck Growth Tips

Increase Capacity

This is usually easier said than done, but the big problem for most food trucks is that they quickly reach capacity and can’t perform at a higher level. If you can only hire enough employees to maintain a single 4 hour shift each a day, it’s going to be difficult to increase revenue.

The obvious solution is to increase your food truck’s capacity by either hiring additional employees or using your current staffing levels to operate at least two 3 to 4 hour shifts every day.

It is important to understand that increasing capacity usually comes with the need for additional capital. In order to increase capacity, you may need to identify and eliminate unproductive components (i.e. low margin menu items, etc…) within your food truck business, reallocate funds, or make a pivot.  One or all all of these strategies can all be good when you’re looking to accelerate your food truck growth.

Use Technology

Using the technology available for food trucks and other small businesses can help you gain traction. While this isn’t a long-term strategy it’s helped a lot of food truck grow in their early days. Using social media and accounting software will help you spend time on the small details of your business instead of spending valuable time monitoring your truck’s online reputation and financial numbers. Here are the top ways I’m seeing food trucks leverage technology to make their business more run more smoothly.

  1. Faster Payment Processing: As mentioned, adopting modern payment solutions such as contactless payments, mobile pay apps, and card swiping machines can speed up transactions. These methods are quicker and more secure than handling cash, helping to move lines faster during peak hours.
  2. Online Ordering and Prepayment: Implementing an online ordering system allows customers to place their orders and make payments in advance. This can reduce wait times and prevent bottlenecks during busy periods. The food truck can have a separate pick-up area for online orders to streamline service.
  3. Digital Menu Boards: Replacing traditional printed menus with digital menu boards allows for easy updates and dynamic content presentation. Digital menus can display daily specials, sold-out items, and even promotional videos to draw more customers in.

Upsell & Cross-sell

If your food truck has a solid existing customer base, upselling and cross-selling are great strategies to use in order to maximize the value of each of these customers. The biggest benefit here is that there’s no additional investment in advertising or marketing. You’ve already earned these customers. You just need to get them to increase their visits and average ticket price.

The best way to upsell and cross-sell is to clearly explain the benefits. Show your customers the advantage of using these deals. Not only will this get your customers to spend more on each visit, but you will build more trust and confidence in your mobile food business.

food truck sales

Be on the lookout for ways to increase sales.

Expand Social Media Presence

Kogi BBQ, a Korean BBQ taco truck in Los Angeles, used Twitter to update their followers on the truck’s location. This strategy not only created buzz around their offerings but also made it easier for customers to find them, significantly boosting their sales and popularity. As a small food truck, you could become the biggest food truck influencer in your area sharing the places you vend and food you make.

Add New Revenue Streams

After you’ve spent enough time in the mobile food industry, you’ll likely begin to understand your customers more and understand what they really want. This gives a food truck vendor the unique opportunity. Add additional streams of revenue (through new menu items and/or services such as catering) and jump start your food truck growth to new levels. Here are a few ideas I’ve seen other food trucks pull off.

  • Catering Services: Offering catering for private events, corporate functions, weddings, and parties can significantly boost income. Tailored menus and packages can cater to specific client needs, from casual gatherings to upscale events.
  • Pop-Up Events: Partnering with local businesses, breweries, wineries, or festivals for pop-up food service can open new markets and introduce the food truck to different customer segments.
  • Meal Kits: Creating and selling meal kits based on popular menu items allows customers to enjoy their favorite dishes at home. This can be especially appealing to those who enjoy cooking but want the convenience of a pre-planned meal.
  • Merchandise: Selling branded merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, mugs, or reusable utensils can not only provide an additional income stream but also help with brand promotion.
  • Cooking Classes or Demos: Hosting cooking classes or demonstrations either in person or online can engage customers and create a community around the food truck’s brand and cuisine.

Test, Measure & Analyze

Above everything else, you can’t forget to test, measure, and analyze everything you do within your food truck business.

If you aren’t using the maximum yield from your bulk food purchases you are throwing profits into the trash. If you regularly have employees standing around with nothing to do, it’s time to look at your scheduling process. Are you consistently see customers throwing away a small portion of some of your menu items? Maybe it’s time to reconsider the portions of each of those items.

So your food truck is running smoothly and you’re ready to continue growing your mobile food business. So how do you know if your food truck is ready to expand? Today we’ll discuss our do’s and don’ts for food truck business expansion.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Growth

We all want our small business to grow. But you want to do it in a smart way.

Do Your Research

Opening a second truck or a brick and mortar location will take a lot of planning. Consider hiring an accountant and attorney (if you don’t have them on your staff already) to assist you with your food truck business expansion. An accountant can provide you with a complete analysis of the finances needed for another truck or new restaurant. An attorney can help ensure that your business’s important assets are in place and protected for expansion.

food truck customers

Delight customers and your business will grow.

Seek Financing For Your Expansion

Once you have analyzed your financial situation it’s time to apply for financing from groups such as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) if you do need any financial assistance. Other options you have to get a small business loan to support your expansion goals include credit unions, banks and alternative online lenders, such as Kiva and Kabbage.

Stay Realistic About Expansion Expectations

While you may dream about having food trucks in cities from coast to coast, try to be realistic. Understand that the further apart your food trucks are, the more difficult it will be to travel between each location. Consider finding new areas to open trucks in that will be close enough for you to easily travel to, but not so close that it will dig into your original truck’s sales.

Develop Training Programs

Many food truck owners are accustomed to running every aspect of their food truck. When you expand your business to additional trucks, you are going to have to give up some control. Create a step by step training manual so team members can run your new food truck in your absence.

Don’t Over-expand

Food Truck business expansion can be exciting, and vendors may be tempted to hit the street running faster than they should. Don’t overextend yourself and your limited resources. Rapid growth will definitely put a strain on your business so expand slowly and learn your new areas of operation before pushing too far.

Never Let Quality Suffer During

This one is a must. Never let your food or customer service quality suffer during business expansion. You may be tempted to focus all your attention on your new truck or restaurant, but don’t forget original truck. Consider how you can still consistently deliver a high-quality menu and customer service at each of your trucks.

Don’t Ignore Market Differences

If you’re planning on expanding your food truck business into a new market, be aware of market differences. These differences will center around the customer base the new truck will service. How much do they make? Where do they work? Is there a different ethnic makeup?What are the food truck regulations in this new area? Do your research on the differences of the cities you’re planning to expand. Be flexible and understand that the business model used in one market may not translate to cities.