We are continually asked by our readers what the keys are to becoming a profitable food truck. The answer we give is often rather vague and for a specific reason. There is no set list of rules to operating the perfect food truck. Their are a lot of common traits held by profitable food truck owners and many of them run their businesses in similar ways.
There has yet to be a list of best practices created that anyone can pick up and use to become successful. In this article we have gathered 15 best practices that many of the most successful food trucks use as a basis for the business decisions they make.
15 Keys To Becoming A Profitable Food Truck Business
- The first of our keys to food truck business success relates to your employees. Food truck must focus their energy on retaining the good employees they already have and they will never have to worry about finding new ones. Another part of this key is to train moderate employees with long term potential, into good employees.
- Sell the employee on your products and services and they will sell your customers. Then, never treat a customer better than you treat your employee.
- Do not spend much time trying to trim costs without spending an equal amount of time training your staff to sell more and serve better. Most food trucks fail when they try to “save” their way to profitability.
- Make something idiot-proof and sure enough, someone will invent a better idiot. The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. Expect and demand the greater good from your employees; they will achieve it…. treat them as if they have no intelligence, and they won’t disappoint you.
- Train daily. Review often. AND never practice on a guest.
- The the mobile food vendor doesn’t always work to satisfy the customer. If you don’t, someone else certainly will. Then, when you are done working for your customer, work for your employee. It is only then you will reap the reward of an employee who works for your customer through your example, and a customer who works for you through their continued patronage and that of their many friends.
- A customer is not always right – because this would imply that in every situation the employee is always wrong. The customer is not always right, but the customer is always the customer and it is all right for the customer to be wrong.
- Keep it fresh, keep it focused and remember to always say “Thank You”. These easy words will keep good people with you and your customers coming back often.
- The real bottom line is not how much you get from your customer, it’s how much your customers get from you. Perceived value of the entire experience is of greater importance than any single dollar you can bank. The interest you earn from a satisfied guest is greater than the interest from a bank.
You & Your Food Truck Truck
- Do not run a food truck. Manage a small business. Success cannot be determined upon profit and losses alone. If you torture numbers, they are certain to tell you anything.
- The difference between food truck reality and fiction is simple. Fiction has to make some sense.
- View suppliers and purveyors as partners not adversaries. Anytime someone gets something for nothing, someone gets nothing for something.
- Different is not always better, but better is always different. We may never know the single most important key to food truck business success, but one sure way to failure in the industry is trying to please everybody. Stay true to your concept and the guest demographic group you have chosen to serve.
- The more you keep doing what you are doing, the more you are going to get what you got. If you are happy with the results of your business, keep doing what you are doing. If you are not, then there is only one way to correct it.… you have to change the way you do things in business, until you are satisfied with the results.
Our Final Key: Passion
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. This is the last of our keys to food truck business success.
- If you are no longer driven, find a new way to steer your business.
- If you are no longer passionate, rediscover the romance of hospitality.
- Lost the spark? Let the joy of owning a business relight your fire.
Employees and customers would rather work for or patronize a leader who is inspired. The business owner who lights the atmosphere of their establishment with the energy of a fire will achieve greater success than dozens of uninspired individuals holding a candle. You never lose until you quit trying.
The Bottom Line
One thing you may have noticed while reading this list is that none of these keys are related to the food vendors serve. Don’t be alarmed, this is a given. Every profitable food truck needs to provide their customers with great food. The keys we provided are related to how you should approach your mobile food business and the business related decisions you will have to make on a consistent basis.