As the food truck industry grows more vendors are coming to the realization that it is getting harder to increase profitability. Much of the wiggle room many food truck owners once had in terms of profitability is gone.
We’ve always recommended that food truck owners to scrutinize every aspect of their mobile food business for ways to maximize profits,but as the industry grows this is no longer something that can be ignored. Saving a few bucks on food costs by serving mediocre dishes, or trimming labor costs by providing bad service won’t increase your profits; it will eventually lead to your truck being put out of business.
Today we’ll look at a few things vendors can do that are focused on ways to increase profitability on your food truck.
Increase Profitability On Your Food Truck Today
Improve your purchasing system
Food costs are one of a food truck’s biggest expenses. If handled well, they will be a key factor in your success. If handled poorly, they can make it impossible for your mobile food business to make any money. Good food costs start with good ordering, which is largely dependent on how useful your inventory is.
The goal of purchasing is to have just what you need. This means when you need it, at the best price you can get it for. Every purchase should be determined by your menu, and your anticipated amount of business. Ordering things you don’t need, especially if they are perishable, is a careless and expensive mistake.
Integrate ingredient usage throughout your menu
An often overlooked step in a food truck’s success is a menu that contains items that come close to 100% utilization of an entire product. This is not something most food truck customers will ever be aware of. But for increased profitability it’s something you need to pay a lot of attention to.
If you serve chicken in one of your entrées, think about buying whole chickens and using the legs and thighs for other dishes and the remainder of the carcass to make stock for soups or sauces. Not only will you not waste a perfectly good product, your sauces will taste a lot better than the truck around the corner that uses store bought stock.
As anyone that has ever worked in a kitchen knows, processing vegetables almost always results in scraps that can be used in something. Using these scraps for stocks, sauces, garnishes or even appetizers, is a lot better than throwing them away.
Know your cost for every item on your menu
A food truck owner needs to know that not all of the items on your menu are created equal in terms of profitability. Unless you know exactly what you’re paying to create each dish, you don’t really know what the money is made. This will help you direct your service staff which items they suggest more often, which items you should raise the prices on, or which items you might consider eliminating from your menu.
Steps to knowing your menu costs:
- Update your inventory list with accurate, current prices.
- Understand exactly how much of each ingredient costs. This includes everything in a dish (use Edible Portion costs rather than As Purchased costs).
Raise prices when you need to
So far we’ve touched on how to increase your profit by keeping our expenditures in check. More often than not, this is the way to go. Most of your customers won’t hold it against you if you become a more efficient operator, especially if it results fresh, consistent dishes. Unfortunately, in the food service industry, prices must rise.
When your food cost increase, no matter much you sell, you won’t make up the difference in volume. When raising prices on select items that your customers will be able to relate to. This way it’s more clear that you’re passing on some hard costs and not just being greedy.
Offer regular, profitable specials
Including specials regularly on your food truck menu is a good idea for a few reasons. Not only do they keep things interesting for you and your staff but they are a great way to utilize product that might go to waste.
Take the time and effort to cost the specials out, so you’ll know how to price them. Don’t underestimate the importance of making sure your service window staff is familiar with the new dishes.