Anyone who has ever started a food truck knows all too well about the pitfalls of the mobile food industry. No matter the platform you operate from (truck, cart, trailer…), there is a lot to manage in order to be successful. Food trucks require teamwork, planning, timing, great food and impeccable service. Here’s a guide to the top pitfalls of opening a food truck and how you can solve them before they happen.
Top Pitfalls Of Opening A Food Truck
Have A Clear Concept
The first of our pitfalls of opening a food truck is to develop a clear concept. To do this, do your research and look into food trucks based on similar ideas, look at their menu and procedures (if this information is available) for your own inspiration. Come to full understanding of your concept and make sure your concept is unique to your market. Once this is done, put together a draft of your menu that complements your concept and will thrill your customers.
Identify Your Suppliers
Find reputable sources for all of your supplies and ingredients and then get to know them. You should be able to find out about their history and philosophy. Show up at their facility to confirm the source and procedures and while you’re there…sample all of their products.
RELATED: Choosing Your Food Truck Suppliers
Develop Consistency In Your Menu
This will ensure a standardized staff training as well as give you a chance to create a recipe book later on. Always taste the menu items throughout the shifts so you create a checks and balances system.
Plan For Menu Changes
Make sure you spend time considering every aspect of menu changes which could affect your food truck brand, customers and overall food quality. Create a buzz within your community with weekly specials, which will generate more repeat customers and more sales.
Do your best to accommodate special customer requests, it is much harder to win them back after a bad experience. Honesty is always the best policy; explain the difficulties with their request and possible alternatives before outright saying no.
Market Your Concept Before You Launch
Get to know the markets you will be operating in and how your food truck fits in. Engage future customers through social media and create a marketing plan 3 to 4 months before hitting the streets. Keep in mind: everything you do should tie back to your concept.
Train Your Employees – Correctly
Create manuals, tests, and training for every position within your food truck. Set up pre- and post-shift meetings to discuss specials, service plans and customer feedback with your food truck staff.
Anticipate The Slow Months
No matter where you are operating, as a food truck vendor, you have to deal with the weather. In the Northern regions, you have to look at the cold and snow. In Southern and Western climates, you have to plan for the months of extreme heat and humidity. Make sure you have capital in your bank account to pay your bills even though your truck may be off the road.
Stay Consistent Everywhere
The final of our top pitfalls of opening a food truck relates back to consistency. You need to ensure that every aspect of your food truck business including the menu, service, food and staff training is constant. You’ll quickly learn that customers seem to notice even the smallest changes and typically return to your service window less often because of them.
RELATED: Is Owning A Food Truck Right For You?
The Bottom Line
We hope this list helps you avoid the top pitfalls of opening a food truck and helps you build your food truck empire. If you are an existing vendor and think we may have missed something, please let us know. Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook