In the food truck industry, there is a clear expectation for customers to get creative, quality food fast. Because of this, wait times have a direct correlation to your food truck’s overall sales.
Increase Profits Through Shorter Wait Times
Don’t Look At Cutting Staff
Maintaining staff levels is critical for food truck owners, because most of today’s customers have increased their expectations for good service. While cutting down on service staff is a traditional method for food truck vendors looking to streamline their business, this approach can bad news for a food truck because it slows down service.
Perfecting your food truck staffing levels is a tricky business, by cutting back of house, you can slow food production times. By cutting service staff you lose the frontline face of your food truck business and create unhappy customers. One customer that’s unhappy and doesn’t come back costs you a lot more than the hourly rates you’re trying to save by cutting one employee.
The consumer demand for more affordable food creates both an opportunity and a challenge for food trucks. New customers create profit, but there may be only one chance to turn a one-time visitor into a regular customer. The lifeblood of any food truck is the return customer.
While the average customer may wait an extra two minutes this time, the next time they’re in a hurry they might go somewhere else. Many consumers don’t mind waiting for good food if they feel that a long line is consistently moving. If the line is moving because you have good speed of service, customers don’t mind waiting 10 minutes. If you have only one or two people in front of you and it takes 10 minutes, most people will be annoyed by the time they make it to the front of the line.
Look At Your Operational Procedures
One strategy for dropping wait times is to evaluate your food truck’s daily operational procedures and to measure the number of steps it takes to deliver food to the customers.
Look at all of your current training procedures, and reassess your menu and layout of your kitchen. This can be as detailed as determining the number of steps taken or arm stretches it takes to get an order out your service window.
Is Your Kitchen Layout Efficient?
Most bottlenecks that cause longer wait times are due to the truck’s overall layout. This happens in the design phase of a food truck build out. This happens because most new vendors don’t think through every step an employee has to take to get the food out.
When vendors are in the design phase, you need to look at making the service window a station itself. This means the person working the service window has easy access to beverages, utensils, condiment packets, and direct delivery of food from the kitchen. This will keep waiting times down and the line moving. As an added benefit it will also cut down on labor cost, and makes your food truck operation more efficient.
Renegotiate With Your Suppliers
In order to keep wait times lower and profits higher, food truck owners should not look at cutting back employees and hours but look at ways to save money with vendors.
When it comes to food cost, ask more from your vendors, dig into your invoices, and got more disciplined with asking for credits when you receive poor quality ingredients instead of just throwing them away.
I always suggest that food truck owners to go back and talk to all of their suppliers. Whatever your reason, go back and renegotiate your contracts. You never want to sacrifice food quality or service. It can be as simple as explaining to your food suppliers and say, “We’re happy to do business with you, but you’re going to have to reduce your costs.” You’ll be surprised at how many will, even if it means going back and renegotiating food specs to reduce the costs.
The Bottom Line
With the food truck industry becoming increasingly competitive, maintaining low wait times can be huge for food truck vendors. It is clear that competition for the consumer is intense. Daily meal deals only go so far, especially when every local food truck and restaurant is offering one. It is the customer experience that dictates who will win.