As some food truck operators start to look at the turnaround potential of their business, it is important to focus on techniques and strategies that accelerate success where others have failed. Vendors need to take steps to grow their brand and aggressively plan for increased costs.
Without this change, some food trucks could fall to the increasing minimum wage, growing food cost, shift in consumer trends, and increased competition. With recent reports of declining revenue and traffic, vendors in saturated markets are looking for answers.
3 Steps For A Food Truck Turnaround
A number of food trucks battling difficult turnarounds turn to additional capital investments and new menu designs to drive revenue growth. These initiatives only add growth if they are able to effectively address core issues facing them. Before looking capital investments, it is essential that you identify and implement specific turnaround efforts to position your business for growth and sustainability. Focus on these core issues.
- Brand Relevance
- Customer Service
- Management Limitations
Through these turnaround initiatives, vendors have to be ready for a bumpy ride that will help their business distance themselves from ineffective strategies and steer them toward relevancy, market share growth, and sustainability.
Many food trucks were developed to serve consumers during the recession. In many cases, they have not evolved with changing consumer confidence, food trends and preferences. The current consumer is more likely to eat out that they were 9 years ago. As a result, vendors have to focus on capturing more of the current demographic by building around key characteristics that resonate with this group.
Studies show that today’s consumers value fast service, transparency, authenticity, and customization. Food truck owners need to understand their local markets and brand perception.
Vendors need to monitor customer feedback to help measure the success of turnaround efforts and to drive adjustments to any turnaround plan, with growth being the ultimate measure of success.
Customer service is a key differentiator in the food truck industry. Your truck needs to capitalize on longer face time with consumers to build a relationship that will trigger return visits. It is important that turnaround efforts be developed to focus on culture and training to maximize your service window sales potential.
Instituting a culture change and retraining your staff can be time consuming, but is an essential step in building a sustainable brand. It involves tremendous commitment, aggressive recruiting efforts and training systems put in place.
Vendors need to customize their recruiting efforts to find staff members that fit their concept. They also need to implement systems that includes training, measures and grades employees, and help retain your best employees. Retaining your best employees is a critical piece that is often overlooked and can provide much-needed consistency and stability for a food truck that is in a turnaround phase.
Some of the most effective initiatives food trucks can consider are online ordering, loyalty programs, and catering services. Industry research shows that online ordering, and catering services can increase revenues at least 10 percent in the first year.
Successful cultural change in customer service requires a combined effort between the staff and management.
Existing Management Limitations
Food truck owners involved in a turnaround situation are typically not equipped to handle it by themselves. Fighting a decline in market share, growing costs, changing consumer behaviors, etc. can be a huge task to try to fix on your own. If you don’t look for outside help and include your entire team to get involved in day-to-day business and to define strategies and plans to evolve the concept can end in your truck’s failure. If you look outside your existing team, find someone with turnaround experience to expedite efforts so you can focus on daily operations.
In any turnaround effort, visibility into the operations is critical. Vendors, advisors, and the staff need to be able to effectively measure and assess every aspect of the business to be able to react quickly and measure progress. Developing the right processes, systems, and tools to do this is the first step to any turnaround.
The Bottom Line
Food trucks need to evolve to better serve their markets and to attract new customers. With growing competition in the industry, vendors need to act swiftly to stabilize their business and regain market share. They need to provide themselves with the right resources and executing on the core turnaround initiatives will stem any losses of business.