Food trucks are reminiscent of the ice cream trucks from childhood, but food trucks are all grown up. Their cuisine can be simple or sophisticated. The average successful food truck can expect to generate between $20,000 to $45,000 a month.
Do you love food and being on the road? If so, starting a food truck may have crossed your mind. Food trucks have grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason.
Starting a food truck business can be a fun and exciting venture for aspiring entrepreneurs. However, starting a food truck business is not without its challenges. It requires careful planning, a solid business plan, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. You must also have clear goals if you want your truck to succeed.
Goals for a food truck business are similar to goals for a restaurant. However, there are some key distinctions that food truck entrepreneurs need to understand. Ready to dig into this exciting business? If so, here are seven goals for a food truck business.
1. Establish a Strong Customer Base
The food truck industry has shown that there’s room for lots of different cuisines. Sometimes success happens by serving up something in a completely unexpected way. It’s imperative to check out what other food trucks are doing so that you don’t attempt to serve customers whose wants or needs are already being met.
You’ll need to plan in a few different areas:
- What is your cuisine?
- Are there others serving your cuisine?
- What will be different about what you’re serving?
- Where will you serve it?
Take for example hot dogs. If you want to open a food truck based on hot dogs, check out the competition. Are there other food trucks serving hot dogs? If there are other food trucks serving hot dogs, are you proposing a new take on hot dogs?
No matter what you’re serving, having a location with lots of foot traffic is a must. You can have amazing food, but if no one knows you’re there, it doesn’t matter.
2. Increase Sales and Profits
Once you’ve made a plan for how to establish a strong customer base, you’ll want to increase your sales and profits. Finding more places to serve your food can help you do this. Can you cater your food to parties, weddings, birthday parties, and other special events?
You don’t have to do all of these, but customers may find you on social media. These pages create publicity, which ultimately leads to sales. Increasing sales and profits is a goal for every entrepreneur. You can achieve your goals faster by creating your own positive publicity.
One way to increase sales is to increase your prices. Offer premium food items along with regularly priced items. Recommend those items to customers as an alternative to your standard items. You may also consider offering new menu items or additional services, such as catering or delivery, to increase your revenue.
In all of these changes, don’t forget to keep an eye on customer satisfaction. Making sure that your customers are happy with their experience at your food truck will help to increase customer loyalty and repeat business. Every business should have sales and profit goals. Your food truck will need to focus on these two aspects to succeed long-term.
3. Decrease Food Waste
Wherever possible, making efforts to decrease food waste will help you reduce the amount of trash created by your food truck business. This goal is important for the environment as well as the health of your business.
Decreasing waste can save you money and help increase profits. Food businesses, unlike many other types of businesses, have inventory that expires in a relatively short amount of time. This means you only have a short window to use the food ingredients before they go bad. You can ask other food truck owners how they decrease food waste.
One way to reduce waste is to plan menus carefully. Accurately estimating how much food you will need for each event or shift will help you avoid buying excess ingredients. You will also want to make sure to use ingredients wisely. For example, your food truck can turn unused beef into a chili dish.
Here are some other ways to decrease waste:
- Offer smaller portion sizes. This may reduce the amount of food that goes uneaten.
- Use software to track inventory. This will help you keep track of what ingredients you have on hand and plan menus accordingly.
- Store food properly to avoid spoilage.
- Donate excess food: Consider partnering with a local organization that can help you donate excess food to those in need.
4. Gain Access to the Best Locations
Your food truck should already have success if you’ve picked a great primary location or multiple locations. Location is one of the most important pieces to running a successful physical business. This is especially important if you have a mobile business like a food truck. That is why finding the best locations should be one of your most important goals.
To boost your sales, you’ll want to gain access to festivals, concerts, games, and special events. Attendees at these events love food trucks. You may also want to build relationships with local businesses. Office buildings and other properties will often accept a small fee in exchange for the privilege of being able to operate your food truck near their building.
Joining a food truck association may also help you find and secure better locations for your business. Also, if you haven’t already joined StreetFoodFinder.com, this can also be a great place for people to discover your truck.
5. Maintain a High Level of Food Safety
Gaining safety certification and maintaining it is critical to ensuring your business isn’t shut down. Your city and county health department can give you the guidelines to ensure your food truck remains up to code. Be sure to ask where you can find regulations related to food and safety. Anticipate that you may have to pay for several locally-required licenses.
You may also want to join the food truck association in your city if there is one. This can help you build relationships with other food truck owners. They may be willing to share their knowledge with you.
6. Open a Brick-and-Mortar Location
There are several differences between food trucks and traditional restaurants. Food trucks have no indoor seating, and they typically have a streamlined menu due to their limited space for preparing and storing food. Food truck owners must excel at making their customers happy with their smaller list of menu options. However, once it’s been proven that they have a niche that is a crowd-pleaser, a food truck owner may decide that opening a brick-and-mortar location makes sense.
Opening a brick-and-mortar location should only be done after careful study of the market. This could take years of consideration and thought. You’ll need to analyze your business and consider the following:
- How long has your food truck been operating?
- How much profit are you generating?
- Who are your competitors?
- Can the business tolerate cost increases due to inflation?
- Could your business endure tough economic times without going under?
7. Develop and Maintain Strong Relationships With Suppliers
Which vendor offers the highest quality food? Which vendor can provide you the cheapest price for paper products? Developing and maintaining strong relationships with your suppliers can help your business thrive. Knowing which vendors are reliable can be an asset to your business.
Owning a food truck can be a challenging and rewarding business. Setting up your truck in a spot where you’ll be seen is one of the biggest keys to success. Networking with others in the industry will help you understand who your competition is, and how you can carve your own path to success. Gaining access to special events will help you serve your food to more customers. You’ll gain more profits, and someday, maybe even open a brick-and-mortar business. It’s a menu of success!