When you work a demanding job that puts people in close proximity together the way the food truck industry does, you’re bound to have problems. From unhappy customers to disgruntled employees to inefficiencies that slow down service and staff, food truck kitchen problems can range from the mild annoyance to a business killer.
That’s why a big part of running a food truck effectively involves knowing how to identify problems before they get too serious, as well as how to solve them. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most typical food truck kitchen problems vendors face, along with strategies for how to deal with them.
Common Food Truck Kitchen Problems
Having Menu That Is Too Large
A big menu full of various options sounds like a good idea in theory. You are able to provide something for everyone. But here’s the problem: taking on a large menu means needing to stock a larger number of ingredients and products in your food truck kitchen This than leads to higher costs and greater overhead. What is also does is creates an environment where customers take longer to order and thus your service is slower. This is why we advise that instead of offering 8 to 10 different entrees, consider offering a smaller number of dishes and doing them really well. People need to know what your food truck is about, so keep your menu aligned with your food truck’s unique proposition.
Not Having Unique Value Proposition
Without a unique selling point, your food truck will never be as successful as it could be. Your customers need a reason to come to you instead of your competition. While I know you’d love to think that your food is so good that people will line up down the block to order from your, many of you are mistaken.
Ask yourself what makes your food truck business unique. What do you offer that nobody else does? What can customers expect when they order from your truck? When you find something original that sets you apart, you’ve found your food truck’s unique selling point.
Whether you run food truck serving hot dogs or lobster rolls, the customers you’re serving matter. So don’t make the mistake of focusing so much on your entrees that you forget about the people who are eating them.
If there’s a 45-minute wait, be upfront about that. Either you go explain this or have one of your staff members explain it to your waiting customers. If you’ve run out of a few dishes, let customers know before they step up to your service window. Don’t wait until the customer complains to share with them that there is a problem. Be a proactive communicator with your customers and you will immediately improve food truck service.
Working In Inefficient Kitchen
When it comes to high-volume cooking, an efficient food truck kitchen layout is a huge asset. It can reduce the time and effort it takes to complete certain tasks. This alone can make your food truck business more productive and profitable.
The bottom line of a good food truck kitchen layout is that it makes tasks easier and more convenient. The fewer steps required to complete a task, the better. Careful planning in the design of your food truck kitchen will save you time and money during the construction phase and increase your food truck’s profitability over the life of the truck.
RELATED: Design Your Food Truck Kitchen In 3D
Lack Of Response
Make it a priority among your staff to regularly check in with guests while they wait for their order. This can prevent irritation from growing into outrage. Let your staff know that when someone has a complaint. Also, always take it seriously and bring your (or your food truck manager) attention when necessary.
When a legitimate problem has occurred, make it right with the customer by offering a discount, a free dessert some sort of voucher for another meal. This is important for communicating care and winning back their trust.
The Bottom Line
Your food truck kitchen will function best when you avoid these food truck kitchen problems. By setting up an appropriately sized menu, differentiating your truck from other food service businesses in your area, taking care of your customers, making your kitchen design efficient and being incredibly responsive, you set your food truck up to minimize potential setbacks and achieve greater success.
Have you run into any of these food truck kitchen problems? How did you get past them? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook