Conventional wisdom says a food truck’s business decreases 50 percent during the winter months.  After all, who wants to stand outside waiting for food in the cold? But creative owners are finding ways to turn the winter months into periods of food truck growth.

Dean Medico the French Culinary trained founder of Pizza Luca, a rapidly expanding Pizza Napoletana catering truck company, has found ways to grow his business during the winter months where snowfall is a common sight in New York.”Winter doesn’t mean hibernation for your food truck.” says Medico. “It’s an opportunity to get creative. Introducing seasonal specials like hot soups or drinks can turn the chill into an advantage.”

Tips For Winter Growth 

Here are 7 opportunities Medico shares his insights to growing a food truck during the cold winter months.

Work with Office Buildings and Have Record Delivery Time: Let me tell you, office buildings are gold mines during winter. People don’t want to step out into the cold, so bringing the food to them makes their day. I’ve personally made rounds, menu in hand, getting to know the security folks and the office managers. The trick? Fast delivery. We’re talking under 10 minutes. It sounds crazy, but it’s doable with a bit of hustle and knowing your route inside out. And trust me, once word gets out you’re that quick, orders start rolling in faster than snow off a plow.

Diversify into Catering, Corporate Partnerships, Weddings, and Special Events: Winter’s tough, no doubt. There were times I thought the truck might as well be a sled. But then I hit upon catering. Weddings, office parties, you name it.

People are always looking to feed a crowd, and food trucks bring a cool factor that traditional catering just can’t match. This move doesn’t just keep you afloat… it can fund your expansion. I started with one truck and grew my fleet thanks to the catering gigs.

Serve Hot Soup, Beverages and Give Out Promotional Freebies: Offer free soup, hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate to customers who are waiting online for food.   Distribute company-branded products such as hats or gloves to those walking by.  Indeed, this is a marketing expense, but in addition to keeping folks warm and hungry this is a great way to market secure new customers and build good will.

Adapt your menu to include winter-friendly items such as hot soups, stews, hot chocolate, and coffee. Comfort foods that can be enjoyed in cold weather will attract customers.

Kona Ice, a food truck famous for its refreshing shaved ice, faces a significant challenge during the winter months when the demand for icy treats plummets. Selling shaved ice becomes nearly impossible when temperatures drop, and everyone is seeking warmth. Recognizing the seasonal limitation of their primary product, Kona Ice devised a clever strategy to adapt to the colder climate and keep their business thriving year-round.

The adaptation process involved introducing hot chocolate as a new product offering during the winter. This decision wasn’t taken lightly. Kona Ice had to consider several factors, such as sourcing quality ingredients for a rich, flavorful hot chocolate that meets their standards and aligns with their brand image of providing high-quality, enjoyable treats. They also had to reconfigure their truck’s equipment and layout to accommodate the preparation and serving of a hot beverage, which is a departure from their usual cold offerings.

food truck in the winter

Food trucks can be profitable in the winter months.

Expand Delivery Options: When the snow’s piling up, and no one wants to go out, delivery becomes your best friend. Teaming up with delivery apps expanded my reach way beyond what I thought possible. But nothing beats having your own delivery setup. Personal touch, control over the experience, and it keeps the cash in your pocket.

Collaborate with Indoor Venues: This one’s a no-brainer. Breweries, wineries, and indoor markets are always looking for food options to keep their patrons happy. It’s a win-win. They get to offer great food without the hassle, and you get a cozy spot to serve your dishes. I’ve formed some of my best business relationships this way.

Win The Battle of Wills: Here’s the thing: bad weather scares off the competition. But if you’re willing to brave the elements, you’ll find there’s still a crowd out there hungry for what you’ve got. I’ve had days in the dead of winter that outdid my busiest summer weekends. It’s all about showing up.

Follow the Birds: And hey, if winter just isn’t your scene, there’s no shame in heading where the weather suits your clothes. The South’s got a growing food truck scene, and they’re always happy to welcome new flavors. I’ve taken trips down where the warm weather keeps business steady, and it’s like a whole new world opens up.

Remember, running a food truck is about more than just cooking; it’s about being smarter than the weather and finding new ways to bring your food to the people, no matter the season.