Do you know who your food truck customers are? No, don’t stick your head out of your service window to see who is in line. What this question means is, are the people that you wanted to target when you first thought about starting a food truck are the ones actually your primary customers? Then again, I suppose the first question to ask would be do you even know who your food truck’s target market is?
A food truck’s target market is not who the vendor wants to sell your food to. Instead, it’s the type of people that are anticipated to buy from your truck.
You can’t open a vegan food truck, hoping to target meat eaters. Similarly, you can’t open a grilled cheese truck and expect your customers to be women who are passionate about eating healthy. Make sense? So how do you decide who to target?
How To Determine Your Food Truck Target Market
Let’s start off with the basics. What is your food truck’s unique selling point? What makes your food truck different than any other food service business in your area? Your unique selling point will attract the type of people who will frequent your food truck line.
- Income level
- Job status
- Marital status
- Size of household
Once you have this data, you have a fictitious profile of your average customer (avatar).
Define Your Target Market
What are the values, opinions, culture, lifestyle and topics of interest that makes up this demographic? If you can’t hire a marketing research firm to find out the information for you, consider doing the research yourself. Get to know the people in your area. Frequent shops, other restaurants, local events, etc. where your proposed target market shops, eats or hangs out to observe their character and buying habits. Check the social media profiles of these shops, as well as competitors, to see what customers love about these companies. See if there are any voids that need to be filled, which could lead to opportunities for your restaurant. Add these findings to the profile you began to create in step 1.
Where Is Your Target Market
Once you’ve defined your target market, you need to find out if they live in the cities you plan to operate? The U.S. Census Bureau is a great resource to use to find out. Type in the zip codes of cities in your area, and the site will provide data such as population, income, and housing. So why is this helpful? If your food truck concept is developed to serve college kids, but you aren’t going to be parked anywhere near the closest, your food truck might have a problem. The closer your target market is to your parking locations, the more likely they will show up.
What generation is the primary consumer in your target market? Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, Millennials? The key to understand is that each group has different needs and values, which will affect your marketing messages and the platform you use to speak to them on. Speak the language that best resonates with your target market, give them offers that align with their values, and seek to connect with them on the platform where they can be found.
The Bottom Line
Your target market is one of the most important elements for your food truck. Whether you own an established food truck, or you are just starting out, determining your food truck’s target market is a critical first step to build a marketing strategy. Your customers determine your success and when you appeal to the right group of consumers, you and your food truck business are sure to enjoy success.