Great food truck businesses start with a good concept. This fundamental principle has inspired thousands of hopeful culinary entrepreneurs, fueling them with the promise that one good concept and a lot of work is all it takes for anyone to create a successful mobile food business. Unfortunately, there’s another side to this equation: Just because all great food trucks need a good concept to get going doesn’t mean that a good concept is the only thing they need to get going.

Countless food trucks have been started with great concepts, only to collapse under their own weight, fall victim to competitors or fail to gain any momentum from their launch. Why is this?

Why You Need To Make Your Good Concept Unique

It’s simple, good concepts aren’t necessarily unique. A good concept has the potential to make money in a given environment; yet this doesn’t guarantee that someone else isn’t already out there who’s developed his or her own version of this concept.

A bit of competitive research up front protects you against this problem. If you find a competitor with a similar concept, you can either pull out before you’re too invested, or differentiate your concept enough for it to stand on its own. You’ll still have to move cautiously, of course. Once your concept has developed into a full food truck business, a competitive food truck or restaurant can show up to threaten your market share. Competitors can be; and will be vicious. Keep that in mind when you flesh out the strengths and weaknesses of your concept.

How you think about competition will define the choices you make and your ability to assess those choices critically. Most vendors want to be the best at what they do. But in the vast majority of the industry, there is no such thing as ”the best.“ Trying to imitate competitors will get you nowhere.

It’s impossible to do exactly what your competitors are doing and end up with superior results. Customers choose different food trucks for different reasons, and it’s unlikely you’ll win them all. Instead, focus on creating superior value for the customers that choose your food truck. Doing this profitably means accepting limits and making tradeoffs-you can’t meet every need of every customer.

With some strategic brainstorming, you can uncover insights and ideas for the boost you need to make your food truck stand out from the crowd. Attention to detail and a little creative thinking can help make it memorable for the customer.

RELATED: Creating Your Food Truck Unique Value Proposition

The Bottom Line

Being unique is infinitely better than being perfect, or being like everyone else. Don’t set out to win a war. Instead find your audience and capture their attention and loyalty. How is your food truck’s good concept unique? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section or social media. Facebook | Twitter