I am often told by food truck owners that “no risk” is equal to “no reward.” In reality, all risks are not the same. Many risks can be managed to improve growth or provide your food truck with a competitive edge. The challenge is to avoid the bad food truck risks, while proactively seeking and managing the smart risks.
There are no guarantees for success in the food truck industry. Bit it certainly pays to learn from the experiences of vendors that have been in business before you. As someone who has monitored and tracked the progress of a lot of food truck startups, here is a collection of smart risks new vendors should take.
6 Smart Risks New Food Truck Vendors Should Take
Update your concept and services to maintain growth.
The first of our smart risks is the idea that food trucks need to evolve. Assuming that you can quickly recover your initial concept is mimicked by others is not a smart food truck risk. You need a plan to regularly change up your menu, with continuous innovation, before customers grow tired of items you keep on the menu even if they are poor sellers.
Measure results of marketing.
Too many food truck vendors put all their marketing resources into social media, word-of-mouth and viral marketing, which are completely unpredictable and unmeasurable. Create a marketing plan that has milestones and measurements.
Recruit the best staff members.
Trying to save money by recruiting family members, or hiring only interns, is a bad risk for your food truck business. Great staff members may take more time to find, and cost you more, but a qualified and highly motivated staff that stretches your budget is a good risk.
Build your business with minimal outside funding.
Having more money at the start is not more likely to solve your problems or reduce your risk. Food truck owners need a plan to survive through organic growth, with as little outside funding as possible.
Don’t rely on conservative guesses for revenue forecasts.
Use well researched revenue projections not conservative forecasts that you “think” will be enough. Having a firm grip of your local market will give you the ability to give accurate forecasts and will allow your food truck a better chance at success.
Be an industry leader.
The last of our smart risks requires leadership. Many food truck startups think they can reduce risk by building concepts similar to successful trucks in their markets. But stepping into a crowded food truck market to poach customers is more risky than attracting new customers looking for a dish that is unique. Customers like leaders, not followers.
Ultimately, the smart risks you want to take should be:
- Those you planned for.
- Have set up metrics to measure and manage.
If they aren’t smart risks, everything else are bad risks, including problems you may not have anticipated, competitors you didn’t know about, and customer expectations that you can’t meet.
The Bottom Line
It’s not mistakes that lead food trucks to success. It’s risk-taking, and as vendors, you need to be cultivating a culture of smart risk-taking. A culture where people understand what risk taking is, what’s is a smart risk and then feel comfortable in proposing or even taking risks.