There is so much that goes into building up your own food truck business that it can seem a little bit mindboggling. Just take it one step at a time and breathe.
The most important thing is to always research and think out everything carefully. One element that can truly make or break your food truck business is the food truck menu design.
This Beginner’s Guide to Food Truck Menu Design can help though.
Examine Your Numbers
Before you even create your first menu, there is a lot of research and analyses that has to happen. Look carefully at your food truck’s prospective financial and marketing mix and the demographics of your potential customer population.
Then compare your numbers to those of your direct competitors. Look closely at their websites, menus and marketing and sales strategies.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- What can my food truck menu offer that others in the area do not?
- Are there any items on my menu that can be found in a lot of other places?
- How does my pricing compare to my competitors?
- When it comes to range of variety, how do I compare?
Keep Track of Popular Food Trends
You always want to make sure that the dishes you are offering at your food truck are what your customers are craving. Be sure to stay up on all the current food trends and try to incorporate the ones that make the most sense to your menu. For example, many food trucks and restaurants have added bacon to different dishes to spice things up.
Find Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Menu Pop
The key to your success is to be resourceful how you build your menu. You don’t need to make expensive additions to it in order to wow your customers. For much less cost, you change dishes up with just different toppings or sauces. You can even create your own special sauce for your customers to rave about.
Focus on What You Do Well and Stick to It
One mistake that a lot of food truck owners make is to stuff their menu with too many options because they want to ensure they have a little something for everyone. But that just isn’t practical. Not only would it get expensive buying all those extra ingredients, you will be putting a lot more stress on you and your employees to be able to do all these dishes well. It is better to focus on dishes you know you can do well.
Do Regular Food-Cost Analyses
Your bottom line must always be in your mind. As food prices go up and availability of certain food changes, you should also be making changes to your menu. It is okay to stop offering something if it becomes too expensive or difficult to source. Think seasonally when it comes to your vegetables and that will save you both money and headaches.
Also don’t be afraid to change your prices as your ingredient prices go up. If it is only a small bump in price, most customers won’t mind because they know they are getting quality food. And be sure to compare your menu and prices to your competitors on a regular basis too. And then make any adjustments you think will be help you be more successful.
Offer a Range of Prices
Not every customer is going to be able to order the most expensive items on your menu so try to offer a range of prices so most people can find something to afford on your menu. Of course, this doesn’t mean lowball the price on dishes that are expensive to make. It just means offer more inexpensive dishes and snacks as well.
Stay within Range of Competitors’ Prices
Food truck experts advise you to always stay within a dollar of your competition’s prices. It could be a dollar more or a dollar less; the most important thing is that you don’t price too high or too low.
Other Tips for Running Your Food Truck
Of course your menu is not the only thing you have to worry about with your food truck business, but don’t worry, here are some other tips for running your food truck efficiently.
Always be prepared for the unexpected. In the daily running of a food truck business, your motto should always be to “be prepared for the unexpected”. Just like with a brick and mortar restaurant, each day is filled with its own set of challenges, but some of yours will be a little more unique. Have a contingency plan for everything from the truck breaking down to running out of food to problems with finding locations to park. Time is money so you can’t afford a lot of downtime when you are not selling your products.
If you have employees working the food truck with you then also make sure that they are up to speed on your contingency plan and know how to handle any bumps in the road that might arise when you are not present on the food truck.
Keep up with all aspects of the business. When you have a busy food truck, it is easy to get caught up in the front end of the business, making and serving the food and interacting with the customers, but there are other aspects of the business you need to keep up with as well.
Make sure you or a designated employee is also handling the back end stuff like returning phone calls, paying bills and making sure permits and licenses are all up-to-date.
Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are great ways to reach out to potential customers and spread the word about any promotions you are running or special dishes you might be trying out. It is a lot cheaper than traditional advertising and it helps keep people talking about your food truck, which is of course what you want, right?
Keep in mind though that social media can also turn into a nightmare if you don’t handle your message correctly. Always be honest in how you present yourself and think carefully about what message you are sending it and how it will be received before hitting the send button. Other important tips include making sure your bio is completely filled out so people can find you when searching for food trucks and always respond to both the good and bad comments your customers may post.
Customer service should always be high priority. Get to know your regulars really well and chat with them as you prep your food and always stay cool even when a customer complaints or you are just having a bad day. Being curt or snappish with a customer will only drive them away so train all your employees on proper customer interaction.
For more information, give us a call at Zac’s Burgers.