So you have taken the plunge and became a food truck owner. You have an exciting road ahead as you turn your truck into a thriving, successful business. It will just take a whole lot of hard work, creative ingenuity and innovation and the right knowledge and resources at your fingertips.
To help you out on that end, here are 7 tips for working on a food truck for you and your employees:
1. 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.
2. Be prepared to hard work
Working on a food truck just like the brick and mortar restaurant business requires dedication and hard work. You need to remember that with all the food shopping, prep, marketing and paperwork you have to do, there is so much more to the food truck business than the time spent on the truck cooking for customers.
As the food truck owner, it is essential for you to realize that to be successful you can’t just make your own hours and only work when you want to. You need to be prepared to commit to doing what needs to be done so that you can have a long-running, successful business. It is also important that your employees share your drive and commitment.
3. 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.
Scouting out new locations to take your food truck and cultivating a strong social media following should be on your radar as well.
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.
4. Never lose your love of food
With all this juggling of the different hats you have to wear as a food truck owner, it can be hard to hold onto your passion for food, but you must. It is what drew you into this business and is what ultimately keeps your customers coming back for more. Make time to still play around in the kitchen to perfect your dishes and create new ones. Always also cultivate a passion for good food in all your employees. Ultimately that is what will draw people to your food truck. Never lose the heart of your business.
5. Customer service should always be high priority
Besides a high quality product, the other key element in any successful business is good customer interaction. Think about how you go to the same shops or restaurants over and over because you know you will get quality products at a reasonable price and that the staff will be friendly and helpful. This is what you need to do as well as a food truck owner. 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.
6. Handle stress in productive ways
The food truck business like all restaurant industry jobs can be stressful. Problems in the kitchen, unhappy customers can take its toll on you so you need to have productive of ways of handling stress. Different things work for different people so find what works best for you, whether it is meditation or yoga, long walks or laughing with friends. Just don’t let it bottle up inside you because that is bad for your health.
7. Keep Workspace Clean & Organized
When you are handling food, keeping everything clean and organized is of utmost importance to keep your customers safe. But even if you handle an area of the business where you are not dealing with the food preparation, keeping your space clean and organized will help you stay efficient as you handle all your responsibilities. When you work in a tight space like a food truck, staying clean and organized is a must.
There is a lot that goes into working on a food truck that you need to keep in mind when starting a food truck. With the right commitment and good resources on working on a food truck at your fingertips though, you will have a successful food truck business.
For more tips and resources for working on a food truck and to learn about Zac’s Burgers food truck program, give them a call today.