No matter where you are in the world, chances are you’ve seen or tried eating from a food truck before. Mobile food service is far from new, but food trucks have become quite a popular, unique, and trendy part of cultural identities worldwide.
Aside from being convenient and fast, this type of foodservice business also offers an opportunity for diners to sample unique and carefully crafted kitchen-quality food. This explains why food truck businesses have become a lucrative and popular choice to the point that cities around the world are starting to adapt to this new trend.
Still, as with starting any kind of business, jumping with both feet into the food truck industry can be a bit daunting. While there is no universal formula for becoming successful in any food business, there are ways to boost your chances.
So, if you have ever thought about having your own food truck business, here are four secrets you can learn to get your food truck rolling:
1. Create an Identity and Stick to a Niche
The first and foremost secret you have to know about running a food truck business is that you have to create an identity and stick to it. Success depends on how well you can establish and perfect an identity that customers will remember you for. If you don’t differentiate from others, you’ll most likely end up as a one-hit-wonder.
Decide on what your niche will be. Is it tacos, cupcakes, sushi, or cheese sticks? Consider the competitive landscape and how well your chosen food focus will work in your chosen location.
Also, keep in mind that it’s not just about the food you serve but also where you do it. Some areas have more eaters roving at night while others have their snacks in the afternoon or shortly after lunch. This is also the reason why you should heed the next secret to success.
2. Study and Establish Your Target Market
Aside from knowing what you want to serve, you should also determine to whom you want to sell your food. Identifying your specific target market will give you a better chance of successfully selling your food than if you were to try to cater to everyone’s different tastes.
Remember that trying to attract every type of customer to your business is virtually impossible, as there’s no single food that everyone will like. It is also a waste of precious time and resources that could have been used to establish your brand identity.
3. Offer Something Unique
When it comes to starting a business, differentiating yourself from the competition is imperative. This goes for food trucks as well.
Unless you have come up with an original recipe that no one else has invented yet, it’s likely that you’ll need to spin some of the most popular snacks known today. But in doing so, you must make sure to add something that your target customers have never seen or tasted before.
The key is to offer high-quality food that nobody else in the locality can offer.
For example, if you plan to sell hamburgers within a community with five or more established fast-food chains, you should look for an edge over the competition. This can come in the form of better quality ingredients, like a Japanese wagyu burger with freshly grilled onions, peppers, and quality cheddar.
In short, turn an ordinary fast food item into something that tastes more heavenly.
4. Create a Solid Business Plan
A business plan contains all the important information about your mobile restaurant. It tackles everything: from the market scene and your management structure to the menu and marketing strategies you plan to implement.
Among the things your business plan should include are:
The executive summary serves as a brief introduction to your food truck business. When writing this part of the business plan, you should include the following points:
- The food you’re planning to offer
- The location of your food truck
- What makes your food special successful in the place where you plan to sell it
- The projected profit and cost of your business
- Your future goals for your food truck
This should cover a detailed description of your food truck business. It should elaborate on the points that were briefly discussed in the executive summary with more detail on the value your company could offer the market.
Your market analysis is where you would explain how your business would fit in the existing market. It should include the current trends, consumer groups, and growth rate in the food industry as well as the key demographics of the potential consumers your food truck is more likely to appeal to.
Service and Product Line
This delves into further detail on what your food truck has to offer. It can include the food truck menu, the lifecycle of your products, and the patent or any intellectual property that needs to be registered (e.g., your signature burger recipe). Also, consider software to help manage your operations.
Employee Management and Organization Plan
This section should help clear any confusion on the specific responsibilities of each of your food truck staff. While this type of business usually has only one or two people manning it, it would help clear up any misunderstanding by outlining the role of each person in the company. It also includes:
- Company ownership
- Compensation packages
- Growth opportunities
- Other benefits
In short, it should look like a resume or profile for the entire management team.
Marketing and Sales
Promotion for your food truck should go beyond word-of-mouth if you plan to help it thrive beyond the first year. You’ll have to beef up your marketing efforts and define strategies that you plan to employ to promote your food truck business and plan for potential expansion in the future.
Also included in this section is sales. Beyond the use of food trucks and franchise POS to help you analyze sales reports, you also need to have a target revenue to consider your business profitable. And then, there’s the selling price.
Drive Your Food Truck to Success
Succeeding in a highly competitive sector like mobile food service is challenging, but never impossible. With the secrets listed in this article, you should be able to overcome obstacles and get your food truck business on the road to success.
Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing foodtech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries. Today, Foodics has extended to new markets across the MENA region, processing over 1 billion transactions, and offering the latest technology in POS and restaurant management.