The mobile food industry is full of excellent examples of successful culinary entrepreneurs. The latest trend seen across the country has seen these mobile food businesses opening brick and mortar establishments. They have been built around the hard work and determination their owners put into their businesses while they were making daily truck stops in the communities they operated in. These vendors didn’t just stumble into success, they worked for it. They built a food truck business foundation centered on great food and great service.
We have also seen a lot of food trucks stumble and fail and for the vendors in that category that we’ve spoken with, a common theme seems to play out. They took their eye off the ball, and lost focus on the things that truly matter.
They spent too much time trying to learn the latest and greatest social media or marketing tactic to attract more people to their service window.
Now in some cases, they did attract more customers, but because they spent that time looking at shiny things, they lost track of what those new customers came looking for… great food and great service.
3 Elements To Building A Strong Food Truck Business Foundation
Marcus Lemonis is an entrepreneur and the star of CNBC’s “The Profit”. The reality-based series follows Lemonis as he invests $2 million of his own money in small businesses that are struggling but have the potential for success.
In each episode Lemonis looks at each business a uses a three-part evaluation process to determine how the failing business is operating. He breaks down the business into these three key components: people, product and process.
Here’s how they affect the success or failure of any business and how you can use them to evaluate the business foundation of your food truck.
Lemonis always emphasizes the importance of people for small-business success. But making sure you have the right people working for you is common knowledge to any food truck owner.
Not only is it critical to have the right people, but you have to have them in the proper roles as well.
While it might make sense early on to do everything yourself, as your food truck business grows, you need to make sure you have people that can excel at the jobs you assign them. This goes for your prep cooks, line cooks and the people who will be the first face your customers see at the service window.
It’s also important to create an environment for your employees to ensure they are able to perform at their best. Having the right people in place isn’t going to lead to success if they’re in an environment where they’re made to feel like failures.
Lemonis’ second key business foundation ingredient is a company’s product. This includes pricing, packaging, sizing (think portioning). Many times, small-business owners assume that consumers will view their product the same way they do, but that isn’t always the case.
- You may think you sell the burger in town, but what do your customers think?
- Do you have packaging that takes a huge chunk out of your profits?
- Do you use ingredients that have high cost, but low return and really don’t add anything to the overall taste of the dish?
- Are you losing money with every sale because beef prices have increased and your 8 oz. burger patties now cost more to make than you charge your customers?
The final element Lemonis looks at is a company’s operations. This is key to ensuring a business’s efficiency and opportunities to scale.
- Since many food trucks operate as cash businesses, do you have no procedures in place for managing your cash flow?
- Have you trained every one of your employees to prepare each dish the exact same way? Do some customers get 13 or 14 oz. burgers while others get a 16 oz. burger?
- Does your service window staff member provide every customer every day with the same smile and speed? Does the way the staff member woke up or how traffic was determine the quality of service the customers will receive?
The Bottom Line
Building a strong business foundation for your food truck requires that all three of these Marcus Lemonis elements be in place and are well built. If you find yourself taking too much time away from maintaining the strength of these areas, your food truck’s foundation may start to crack.