Over the years, I have spoken with plenty of food truck owners that have tried using sites that offer Daily Deals such as GroupOn and Living Social. When I ask them how they fared, most have told me that they felt it was a waste of time. The minority would reply that they got more than they expected, not only did they sell out but they were able to capture an entire new group of regular customers.

So how did these few food truck vendors get their Daily Deals to pay for themselves? Simply by taking control of the entire process. Today I’ll share some of their secrets and show you how.

How To Make Your Food Truck Daily Deals Work For You

As I mentioned the majority of trucks that have used sites like Groupon or Living Social have their own horror story to tell.

One dessert vendor (who will remain anonymous) had over 500 people purchase her 75 percent off deal on a dozen cupcakes.  Sounds great, right? Unfortunately she had only expected a couple hundred orders. The discount provided her with a $4.50 loss on each sale. Plus, she had to pay for the extra staff she needed to fill the orders for an extra 6,000 cupcakes.

We spend a lot of time researching food trucks and the various marketing avenues they take, and after hearing stories like this, we wondered why some many food trucks still use Daily Deals.

Why Are You Still Using Daily Deals?

The common answer, exposure! As it was explained, many don’t expect to make any money off the actual deal, they just want to get customers lined up at their service window, get their brand noticed and recognized.

Unfortunately, in most cases those hopes aren’t met. So how can you gain control over your next Daily Deal campaign and make it pay for itself? Simple…Daily Deal sites are an excellent way to build your customer list. In fact, with the extreme discounts that many deal sites require, the deals need to be looked at less as coupons but more like free samples.

Think about it, free samples give your customers a risk free chance to experience your food. And if they really love it, they are almost certain to return…and pay full price. Sure there will be the times where the only customers your Daily Deals attract are discount hunters. Don’t fret; this can actually work in your favor.

The key is, even if you’re giving your product away for free, you can still ultimately make money on the deal as long as you properly use your customer list.

RELATED: Make Your Food Truck Daily Specials More Special

Making Your Food Truck Daily Deals Pay For Themselves

Every time a Daily Deal user comes in to complete the transaction, you have to have a system in place to capture their contact information. While some might refuse, there are ways to increase their interest and make them want to give it to you.

The next step is to ask them for a testimonial. Even if they don’t order another item off your menu, they can become free advertising for your food truck.

RELATED: Build Your Business With Food Truck Catering Testimonials

Now here is the key; once you have their information, you need to send them out additional daily deals that you don’t offer the general public. These customers won’t be on your standard mailing list, but on a separate list that only contains the people who purchase your Daily Deals.

This is how you make them work for you. You take control over the process, and aren’t reliant on the deal site for future earnings.

When a customer uses their daily deals coupon…

  • Thank them for purchasing the deal.
  • Explain to them that occasionally you give out special deals like this … but to save money, you don’t offer them on the Daily Deal sites. You might just get the bargain hunter to become a regular customer.
  • Ask them if they would like to be notified of your future insider deals.
  • Explain that you only do a few each year, so you can calm any concern over excessive emails.
  • Assure them that you’ll never give or sell their email to anyone.
  • Give them a testimonial request card and ask them to fill it out before they leave.
  • Once you have their email you can also ask them if they want to be added to your regular mailing list. Explain that you have a regular email list for your weekly specials, recent news and changes in your menu.

Tada, that’s it.

For the price of one food truck daily deal, you’ve now got a list of customers you can continually sell to without having to purchase another.

RELATED: Food Truck Marketing: To Groupon or Not to Groupon?

The Bottom Line

If you are going to use daily deals in your food truck, use them properly. Follow the tips an advise I have laid out and use these deals to grow your food truck empire.

Do you have any tips on how to make food truck Daily Deals work for vendors? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook