There are many reasons why culinary innovation can be elusive for some food trucks. Maybe their concept wasn’t big enough. Perhaps you weren’t the first to to market with a concept. Possibly you didn’t dedicate enough money into your marketing budget. While successful culinary innovations aren’t created equal, each shares one key element: understanding consumer demand.
Success in the food truck industry depends on a consumer based innovation system. Even though most food trucks have some type of innovation process, most are lacking. The difference between high and low performers is how the process gets executed.
A successful culinary innovation process depends on three factors:
- Organizational Alignment
The key is that all three must all start with the consumer. Because of this, today we’ll discuss five rules that will ensure your planning is aligned with a consumer based culinary innovation system.
Creating A Successful Culinary Innovation System
Align Innovation With Consumer Demand
Start by knowing which trends attract high value customers (provide strong sales) and which attract low value customers (low sales activity). And before you innovate, ask yourself:
- How will this innovation translate into sales?
- Is my innovation differentiated?
Develop A Compelling Concept
Culinary innovation does not include price cutting. Constantly lowering prices erode your food truck’s brand equity. Consumer loyalty is tenuous, but you can make a meaningful difference by creating a consumer attachment to your food truck brand if you offer a unique menu, are relevant, and are trusted.
Most food trucks anticipate the future based upon the past. The problem with this is it is harder to recognize changes when they happen. For this process, it is best to take a five to ten year look into the future of your food truck. It is not about predicting the future. It is about being prepared for changes that may occur in the future.
Include Social Media Plans
Social media has the advantage of personalizing and connecting your food truck with your customers. Make sure to leverage this advantage. The most influential food trucks build their brand with word-of-mouth marketing tactics. Just beware that just as social media has the power to make your food truck, it also has the power to break it. Leverage your innovations with social media campaigns that capitalize on personal communications that speak directly to the consumer.
The Bottom Line
Culinary innovation is the route to economic growth for your food truck. Innovation is the creation and transformation of new knowledge into new products, processes or services that meet consumer needs. This is key!
Food trucks of all sizes need to remember that culinary innovation is not limited to products and services. Creating a cutting edge menu item shouldn’t always your goal. Instead, focus on understanding why the customer can’t adequately solve important problems and develop an innovative food truck business model that solves them.