So here’s a dose of reality for food truck vendors. In most cases you are not meeting the expectations of your customers. This may seem a little off because in many situations you actually exceed the needs of your customers. However, there are times when something in your mobile food business falls short of customer expectations and unfortunately it’s often the little things that add up to make a big difference in whether a customer comes back to your food truck. The typical problem is that you don’t know how to differentiate your food truck from your direct competitors.
In this article I will discuss some strategies to make the little things add up in your favor to strengthen your food truck’s customer retention rates.
Differentiate Your Food Truck To Build Customer Retention
Many of the food trucks across the country have good customer retention but “good” should never be acceptable. The most popular trucks have great retention rates. But why? The simple answer is, they have found a way to differentiate the quality of their products and services from the rest of the trucks and restaurants in their area.
Yes, most trucks have different menu items than most of the trucks in their region, but when a prospective customer begins their quest to fill that void in their stomach…having a specific cuisine on your menu may not be different enough for someone to track your truck down to step up to your service window.
Differentiation that leads to better customer retention is based on the little things. While 80 percent of food truck owners believe they provide a superior experience, statistics show that typically 10-15 percent of their customers agree. Here are a few tactics to differentiate your food truck apart in a way that will keep your customers coming back.
Food Truck Differentiation Tactics
- The Throw-In: Throwing in something small and inexpensive will really ramp up the customer experience. This could be as simple as a small package or container of your top selling sauce or rub for customers to take home with them.
- Sampling: This is a classic carnival tactic, but smart vendors can take it to the next level. Gift a free sample of a new menu item to try, and throw out a tweeted picture of customers fantastic expression after trying it. Personalization and generosity go a long way in customer acquisition and retention.
- First/last impressions: Enhance a customer’s experience with first and last impressions. They’re the most lasting impressions they have of your mobile food business. Don’t overlook them.
- Follow Up: A personal email, tweet or Facebook mention go a long way. But it’s easy for follow-ups to slip through the cracks when something goes wrong. That’s the most vital time to make an overture. The next time someone complains about an order or the service they receive, reach out privately and personally to discuss the situation and work out a way you can make it up to them…such as a comp’d side dish on their next visit.
The Bottom Line
How you differentiate your food truck from the competition must always include having a signature menu item and providing fantastic service. The tactics provided in this article can help you differentiate your food truck from the rest of the pack. These differences will increase your customer retention. And it will keep your food truck’s service window full, every time you open it.