For inspiring food truck vendors who enter the mobile food industry thinking big, it might not take too long before they start wondering about opening a second food truck. Their expansion plans typically look something like this:
- Open one food truck.
- Open a second truck.
- Start a third one or open a restaurant.
- Franchise food trucks all around the country.
Many of these big thinkers may believe that two food trucks will equate to double the profit. In truth, the difference between making money having one food truck and opening a second food truck at the same time is huge. Many food trucks may actually see a decrease in revenue and profit in their first truck when they open a second.
5 Problems When Opening A Second Food Truck And How To Avoid Them
Wanting To Be In Two Places At One Time
A lot happens in a food truck because the owner is there. Staff members may show up on time and work harder. When a vendor starts focusing on opening a second food truck, someone else (usually a manager) may have to run the first one and until they are brought up to speed, they may not be as effective as the owner.
Suggestion: One year before opening a second food truck, start grooming a manager for your first truck. The key step to having more than one food truck is in giving decision making power to the new manager and treat them as a partner. Offer bonus pay from the truck’s performance and pre-determined milestones.
Not Knowing The Secret To Their Success
Many food truck owners may not have any idea why their first food truck is successful. If customers only come to their food truck because of them, it is going to be more difficult to repeat their success.
Suggestion: Identify exactly what the secret to your success is and how it can be replicated in a second food truck.
Not Having Tested Operational Systems
A lot of what happens right at first food truck may be because of the team that operates it. I have found that may food trucks have never developed operational systems because their staff members know their jobs so well and are less dependent on formal systems. However, when opening a food truck, your new employees may need formal systems in place to run an effective food truck.
Suggestion: 12 to 18 months before opening a second food truck, start documenting or developing and thoroughly test all of your food truck’s operational systems including sales, inventory and cooking.
Finding New Sales Are Slower Than Expected
Food truck owners may think that because they have a truck with an established brand, opening a second truck will be easy. They may overestimate their food truck brand draw and may not stop to consider that covering the larger area really can’t support a second truck.
Suggestion: Consider looking at the second truck as your food truck business starting over. Build a strong marketing plan that does not entirely rely on your food truck brand awareness.
Overestimating Economies of Scale
A huge consideration by growing food truck businesses is that bigger buying power comes with opening a second food truck. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Having to cover the additional overhead of expansion often economies of scale are overestimated.
Suggestion: When working out the financial model for your second truck, assume that there will be little to no economies of scale.
The Bottom Line
Expanding before you have answered all these questions and implementing these suggestions may put the future of your original food truck in danger. Plan before you open a second food truck.