Do you have an awesome food truck concept? If you are like most of the prospective food truck vendors I’ve spoken with over the years, you have a problem moments after you come up with the initial idea.
Your conceptual food truck concept stalls. It becomes a passing thought or a series of notes in your journal until that initial enthusiasm wanes. Then, a few months later, you see your wonderful concept parked on the street with a line a block long.
Don’t feel too bad, you aren’t the only one. Ideas stall because the process of getting them to reality can seem overwhelming.
5 steps to validating your food truck concept
When I hear that someone has a great food truck concept, I jump on my computer and within minutes can often find an existing truck with a similar concept with a simple search on Google. Before you rest your vending future on an idea, save yourself some time and do a thorough search to find out if it already exists.
Now, if you find it does, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on it. Consider the ways you can put your unique spin on it, what type of food products can you serve that might be different. Could the market prefer your truck? If you answered “yes,” move to the next step.
Look for feedback
Talk to people about your food truck concept, especially people you trust. You need brutally honest feedback. Don’t get stuck on your idea, listen to the feedback and if you are the only person who truly thinks the concept is good, then it is time to reassess.
Build an MVM
Once you get positive feedback from an honest and trusted person, then consider developing an MVM, or minimum viable menu, to determine if it is a menu that others would want to order from. Build a small 3 or 4 item menu and perfect the recipes and presentation.
Once you have the MVM, reach out to friends, family and people who can provide valuable feedback on the taste and appearance of your menu items. If the food turns out to be something you and your friends would never really order, scrap the idea.
Start building your identity
If your taste testing goes well and you feel that you might have a winning food truck concept, start building a brand around it. In today’s mobile food industry, a menu concept that you validate today can become an old, tired menu selection tomorrow, so don’t start slowing down.
At this point, some people will start panicking that should they reveal their concept it could lead to someone stealing it. While this is a valid concern, you should move ahead with the thought that someone will eventually steal it or develop it with their own personal spin, so the key to success will be to be first into your market.
Now is the time to focus on building your food truck brand.
Start by choosing a great name and securing the website domain to create, at a minimum, a sharp business landing page. Next, secure your business name with every social-media platform you can. Even if you don’t use them, it protects you from others squatting on them. Now it’s time to start leveraging these resources to build a fan base for your food truck.
RELATED: Food Truck Branding Basics
Consider your customer acquisition plan
Before you start writing your food truck business plan, focus on two questions:
- How do I get my first food truck customer?
- How do I continue to get food truck customers?
You may be able to stitch together the best food truck business plan ever written, but without customers, your food truck is will fail. Create a thoughtful customer acquisition plan and marketing strategy and be prepared to explain them to anyone that will ever read your business plan. Why? It’s likely be one of the first questions they ask.
The Bottom Line
Once you have validated your food truck concept, it will be much easier to proceed to the next steps of taking your concept from idea to reality.
Do you have any additional tips for prospective food truck vendors who need to validate their food truck concepts? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook