We live in an age when people can eat gourmet food in a pair of converse high tops without a shirt. Just hit the streets and in almost every city you can find a food truck that's worth your loyalty.
The problem for Food Truck Owners comes with initially building that loyalty. So here are some things for you to keep in mind when starting a food truck business.
1. Make sure your food tastes good. This should be a no-brainer. Work on your food before you even step foot into a food truck. No one wants deep-fried mysteries. Good Flavor in mouth, yields Good Word of mouth.
2. Consider the fast-paced nature of this specific niche. You should be serving high-quality eats, at fast food speed. People don't want to wait around outside-- that's why booths exist. Don't make them wish they were in a booth. Make them praise the heavens they are not.
3. Build a unique trait into your brand and product. Offer something a bit different. Something that get's people saying, "Did you try that one food truck, ________, they have these crazy honey and goat cheese oranges. Sounds gross but it's awesome." I'd eat the hell out of that. "Yeah, it's the one with the big blue cow on it."
4. Make sure your name/branding is short and memorable-- yes, puns are the low hanging fruit of food truck names-- and I'm not knocking it. Puns are common in food truck names because they are memorable, and usually present what you're doing in an interesting way. If you can do better, definitely do better.
5. Have business cards. You want people to be able to call, either for locations, times, or catering.
6. Have a website. You'll want your full-menu on there and maybe a tracker for your truck. We're here, off __________ and Main today, come on out! You can also build your twitter feed with locations to act as a sort of location ticker on your site.
7. If possible, have a place for people to sit down. Maybe a place for dog leashes to be tied to a post etc. Sounds sorta weird but people want to eat in peace. Give them the benefits of a sit-down place without all the BS that comes with it. I want my beer battered angus burger and chili sans indoor imprisonment. Think about the people eating, be considerate and they'll consider you awesome. Leave branded cards or mini-menus on the table.
8. Offer samples. Yes, like at the mall. Get people to try it in passing. If you did STEP ONE then your food should be great, and if there is one thing about people I know-- they want to eat great food. They want to eat it for days.
9. Be involved in social media. You get to be out there with the people. Living it up in the streets. Document your involvement and adventures. Food Trucks are bringing charisma and character to the food scene. Give people a way to follow that character and you'll have the loyalty that McDonald's cries about at night.
10. Get help where you need it. If you can't do everything, outsource and focus on your freaking food. And obviously, in the process, consider using us at Small Shops Co ;) because we like to make small business tasty.
The Hunger Games are upon us. May the odds be ever in your flavors.