Many food truck menus have catchy descriptions, gorgeous photos and an attractive layout, but are missing a key ingredient: They aren’t driving profits. As the food truck industry grows, a lot of the wiggle room many food truck vendors have had in the past in menu profitability is gone.
By using key performance metrics, both financially and operationally, you can better understand what items are good candidates for menu features, deletion or re-design. Today we’ll provide some advice that focuses on your menu. These tips will help increase your menu profitability while continuing to provide an excellent customer experience.
Boosting Your Food Truck’s Menu Profitability
A food truck’s menu pricing is the most important factor in determining profitability, since the menu is what generates 100% of the revenue for most food trucks. Therefore it is critical for vendors to invest time in developing a definitive strategy to build menu profitability.
The first step for every food truck, is to know your current menu offerings and how many you are selling, at what time and what location. Use point-of-sale data to understand demand for items and how the product’s volume compares to its overall profitability.
Know your costs
Not all of the items on your menu are created equal in profitability. Unless you know exactly what you’re paying for each dish, you won’t really know your money-makers, which items you should have your waiters suggest more often, the items on which you should raise prices, or which items you might consider dropping altogether. A good first step in figuring out your real costs is to update your inventory list with accurate, current prices.
Develop menu items that are fast but consistent
In addition to knowing where items sell, and how much it costs to prepare. Food truck vendors must create menu items that every menu item can be executed easily and consistently. And, more importantly, your menu needs to include dishes that represents your food truck. This may be the first experience for that customer, and it may be your only chance to convert them into a regular.
Promote your most-profitable menu items
These are the items that have a low cost for the ingredients and can be sold at a high market. These items may require a very small amount of time from your staff to prepare. Focus on promoting these items over the other offerings. If you can steer people into items you want them to order, it can significantly improve your profit margins.
Shrink your menu
Consider reducing the size of the menu through deletion of items that are less profitable and consistently sell less than other items. Additional considerations should include whether the item takes a lot of time to prepare.
Develop daily specials
The use of daily specials can help showcase your creativity and promote local and seasonal flavors. It also utilizes leftover or surplus ingredients. Ensure that these items are priced appropriately. If your service window staff is trained to upsell a special, ensure that it drives profitability. The product’s profit needs to be equal or greater than other similar products that your customers may ultimately choose.
Improve the interrelation of various menu items
It shouldn’t be more clear to see how important it is to have a menu mix that gives your customers a variety of options that will keep them coming back for more. Less apparent to your success is a menu that contains items that play off one another in your kitchen in terms of using as close to 100 percent of each ingredient.
The Bottom Line
As you consider these menu profitability tips, it’s helpful to get advice from your team and fellow vendors. These are people who understand your customers’ purchasing behavior. By getting first hand knowledge from these sources, you can learn a lot about purchase behavior and make decisions that drive your food truck’s profitability.
ADDITIONAL READING: Menu Mistakes Food Truck Vendors Need To Avoid