Much like a marriage, a food truck business partnership may start out with the best of intentions. Constant disagreements or financial woes can bring even the strongest partnership to its knees. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and part ways, even if it hurts your livelihood. Today I’ll discuss five ways to tell it’s time to break up your food truck partnership. I’ll also show how you can potentially make more educated decisions about how to move forward.
Top five ways to tell it’s time to break up your food truck partnership
If no decisions can ever be made because you and your partner can’t agree on anything, then what are you left with? When no decisions get made, a food truck business won’t have any new revenue streams and turns quickly stagnant.
In a good partnership, both parties should understand what happens if a stalemate occurs. Either an outside party has a vote, or one partner’s decision trumps another. When this doesn’t happen, it’s time to think about moving on.
In many food truck partnerships there is a natural division of labor where one partner may be better at cooking, while one person is better at the books. Unfortunately, this may lead to a situation where neither partner understands the other’s role and the waters get muddied.
If your partner is not willing to sit down to go over the books, you have a serious problem. When partners start communicating exclusively by text or email it’s a major red flag that the lines of communication have broken down.
Most mobile food businesses didn’t start over text, they were probably hashed out in a bar or over a meal, and you’ve got to keep that up. If you don’t want to get face to face with your partner long enough for a weekly meeting, it’s a definite sign that things aren’t going to work, he says.
Staff Pits Partner Against Partner
When the food truck’s employees begin running the show, using the partners to get their own way, it’s time to throw in the towel. You’ll find that this usually means neither partner is truly connected to the business anymore.
If an employee wants a day off and gets a ‘no’ from one partner, then they’ll go to another partner and that partner will grant it because the two aren’t in sync, then the entire business takes a hit because there aren’t enough people working.
This is a sign that one or both partners are checked out. Or worse, one partner feels like they can make any decision they want without consulting the other.
One Partner Isn’t Pulling Their Weight
One of the biggest red flags is when you seem to be working 80 hours a week, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out what your partner does all day. Any situation where one partner commits more time to the business, there will more than likely be resentment and bitterness over the inequality in involvement.
From a business perspective, unresolved issues between business partners creates friction, wastes time and impedes progress. In many cases, one partner may find the other continues to fail at delivering promised results and then one partner will hit their breaking point and that’s the end of it.
Values No Longer Align
Having the same vision for a mobile food business is crucial to the success of any partnership. When the partner’s visions move in completely different directions, it is time for change. Opposites attract not just in relationships but in business as well and that can be good and bad.
People get into partnerships because each brings a talent that is different and can complement the other. Unfortunately, what is often overlooked is an alignment of values. When your values are out of sync, then it’s time to go your separate ways.
If you and your partner don’t see eye to eye on financial obligations (spending, investing, funding, etc) this is where you see a fundamental partnership disconnect. If you constantly struggle to come to a mutual decision and handle disagreements respectfully, your relationship isn’t destined to last.
The Bottom Line
Successful food trucks may run into many growing pains during their first several years of existence. This includes breaking up a partnership. If the partnership starts to fail, knowing how to end the relationship can save you from a PR nightmare. Follow these ways to tell it’s time to break up your food truck partnership. If it is, do it professionally.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice.