If your food truck has garnered a lot of public and press discussion in your area, there is a good chance you will be called upon to contribute to charity requests by donating gift certificates for meals and/or being part of special charity events. Instead of hiding behind your voicemail system or tapped out budgets, consider it a compliment… and treat it like a necessary and integral part of your marketing program.
How To Handle Charity Requests
Rather than limiting the amount of charity requests and gratis work you can afford, consider participating in a way that allows you to make both a donation and a profit. Then prepare a flyer with all of the details, and when someone calls or comes by your truck, have it on hand.
Amount of donation
Be up front about your costs and profits when you receive charity requests. This will eliminate many unreasonable requests. Promote the fact that you will donate 20% of the proceeds from the meal or reception to the charity or beneficiary. It’s classier than a discount.
Type of events
Pick one or two types of fundraisers that are appropriate for your mobile food operation. Now market yourself as THE truck to have at all events of this type in your community. Whether it’s a food truck rally, sit-down dinner for fifty, passed hors d’oeuvres for 100 guests or a coffee clutch with desserts, you’ll have an idea what works best with your operational set-up, available staffing, etc.
Give fund raisers some menu guidelines and options. Your chicken, pasta or vegetarian menu selections may have a significantly lower food cost than your lamb, rib eye, and salmon selections. The same goes for your appetizers and desserts. You might also want to have some special menu items available for large groups or events such as these that ensure you have a sufficient profit margin.
Times of availability
Try to schedule events during your off-peak times. This will allow you to be part of these events, while still making it out to your regular stops. Just be careful not to over book yourself or your staff. There will always be a time to say no, just learn when.
RELATED: Don’t Chase Too Many Opportunities
The gift certificate is the most common of charity requests, so make it count. We recommend gift certificates that will generate business and a profit for you AND provide a value to the fundraiser. How about a free desert with the purchase of an entrée?
If you are are charity looking for food trucks to work with, check out our Food Truck Catering site.
The Bottom Line
All promotions like these make you money. Consider them part of your marketing expenditures. And be proactive. The sooner you define the guidelines and options, the sooner you’ll be the toast of the town with a reputation as a food truck business with a huge heart!