So your food truck is running smoothly and you’re ready to continue growing your mobile food business. So how do you know if your food truck is ready to expand? Today we’ll discuss our do’s and don’ts for food truck business expansion.
Food Truck Business Expansion: The Do’s and Don’ts
Do Your Research
Opening a second truck or a brick and mortar location will take a lot of planning. Consider hiring an accountant and attorney (if you don’t have them on your staff already) to assist you with your food truck business expansion. An accountant can provide you with a complete analysis of the finances needed for another truck or new restaurant. An attorney can help ensure that your business’s important assets are in place and protected for expansion.
Seek Financing For Your Expansion
Once you have analyzed your financial situation it’s time to apply for financing from groups such as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) if you do need any financial assistance. Other options you have to get a small business loan to support your expansion goals include credit unions, banks and alternative online lenders, such as Kiva and Kabbage.
Stay Realistic About Expansion Expectations
While you may dream about having food trucks in cities from coast to coast, try to be realistic. Understand that the further apart your food trucks are, the more difficult it will be to travel between each location. Consider finding new areas to open trucks in that will be close enough for you to easily travel to, but not so close that it will dig into your original truck’s sales.
Develop Training Programs
Many food truck owners are accustomed to running every aspect of their food truck. When you expand your business to additional trucks, you are going to have to give up some control. Create a step by step training manual so team members can run your new food truck in your absence.
Food Truck business expansion can be exciting, and vendors may be tempted to hit the street running faster than they should. Don’t overextend yourself and your limited resources. Rapid growth will definitely put a strain on your business so expand slowly and learn your new areas of operation before pushing too far.
Never Let Quality Suffer During
This one is a must. Never let your food or customer service quality suffer during business expansion. You may be tempted to focus all your attention on your new truck or restaurant, but don’t forget original truck. Consider how you can still consistently deliver a high-quality menu and customer service at each of your trucks.
Don’t Ignore Market Differences
If you’re planning on expanding your food truck business into a new market, be aware of market differences. These differences will center around the customer base the new truck will service. How much do they make? Where do they work? Is there a different ethnic makeup?What are the food truck regulations in this new area? Do your research on the differences of the cities you’re planning to expand. Be flexible and understand that the business model used in one market may not translate to cities.
Build Brand Recognition On Social Media
Social media can be an invaluable tool for engaging with new consumers during your business expansion. Engage new consumer markets by responding to tweets and posts of fans that follow other restaurants and food trucks in that area. If your messages are interesting and helpful, other people will follow your food truck thereby growing your fan base in this new market.
The Bottom Line
Many food truck owners aspire to business expansion. The big thing to remember is that there are clear advantages to expanding your food truck business. There will certainly be some disadvantages to expansion, but if you follow these tips, the advantages from expanding usually outweigh them.