Statistics tell us that there are roughly 24,000 active food trucks in the United States alone, and numbers are on the rise. In fact, year-to-year growth might be anywhere from 2.4% to 7.5%. And as the food truck craze gets hotter, so are your competitors.
Building a food truck business offers a number of benefits that operating a traditional restaurant simply can’t. However, strategy is still key. So, we’ve curated six tips to maximize your profit while gaining new customers, retaining the old ones, and expanding your brand.
6 Tips for Improving Your Food Truck Sales
Want to draw a bigger crowd and increase your revenue? Keep scrolling!
1. Do Your Research in Advance
Running a profitable food truck isn’t as simple as serving delicious food — although that’s certainly part of a thriving food truck business.
Consider factors like:
- Your climate: What types of foods would people most enjoy? Do they want something cold and refreshing or hot and comforting?
- Your region: Do you want to serve local food or something more exotic that people wouldn’t normally get?
- The demographics: What are the locals like where you plan to set up shop? What’s the approximate age range? Income? Ethnicity? What are their hobbies and interests?
Answering these questions will help you give your customers exactly what they’re looking for.
2. Create Your Own Niche
The last thing you want to do is look like all the other food trucks around you. How can you stand out from the sea of competitors?
Here’s an example. Maybe you’ve decided you want to sell street corn — great idea! But a lot of other food trucks are already doing that. So, how can you put a special twist on your own street corn so that you make yourself more memorable? Maybe you use unique and inventive toppings that hungry customers won’t find elsewhere.
Once you've established your niche, the food truck sector will be yours to conquer.
3. Make it Instagram-worthy
Social media is going to be your food truck’s best friend, especially if you’re trying to market to millennials. While delicious food will take you far, aesthetically pleasing food is the cherry on top. Create dishes that people want to share with others online.
It’s not just the food itself but also the packaging and branding. Think of the customers’ experience from start to finish — from the moment they approach your food truck to the time they throw the wrappers away.
Keep in mind that when people post about you online, it’s user-generated content. And this type of content is some of the most powerful marketing material you can collect. What other people say about your brand is much more effective than what you say about yourself. They’re essentially recommending your food to all of their followers. Nice!
4. Embrace Trends, Holidays, and Other Special Days
The Fourth of July, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve are opportunities to offer something special and time-sensitive.
Think of unique “national holidays,” too, like National Ice Cream Day and National Cheese Day. If these apply to your food truck in any way, it’s a chance to do something special.
Also, pay attention to social media trends that your food truck can jump on. TikTok and Instagram can both be a goldmine of trending ideas! Case in point: TT’s pickled garlic trend that absolutely exploded around the middle of 2021. (Grocery stores are still out of pickled garlic.)
Any special menu items you add that are seasonal or time-sensitive, don’t forget to post about them online! There’s a good chance they’ll see an uptick in traffic and engagement.
5. Make Them a Deal They Can’t Refuse
Nobody can say no to a deal. Maybe you offer an enticing customer loyalty program. Or perhaps you have a cash discount program, where customers can save money by paying with cash. (To be clear, though, it definitely helps to offer different payment options, like contactless payment, especially in the age of COVID-19.)
Another idea that combines a deal with social media is to give people a percentage off when they post about you online and tag you, or maybe check into your location. It’s a win-win: You get free publicity (hello, user-generated content!), and the customer gets a special discount.
6. Go Where the Crowds Are
As long as you have the necessary permission/permits, think of taking your truck on the road and hitting up new locations — especially if there’s a special event going on.
Festivals, concerts, farmer’s markets, and art fairs are all great opportunities to feed the hungry masses. You can even create menu items unique to that event.
You’re not limited to public events, either. Birthday parties, weddings, and other private celebrations are fair game, too. These days, people are looking for unique ways to put a twist on more traditional celebrations. For example, some newlyweds might opt for a donut truck as opposed to a wedding cake. Think outside the box!
Does your food truck have competition? Of course. Every business does. Just think of this as an opportunity to get creative and offer something new. If you do your research ahead of time, find your niche, make it Instagrammable, incorporate special holidays, offer unique deals, and make your truck accessible to crowds, you’ll find success.
To streamline your operations and run a profitable food truck, you’re going to need a reliable and versatile POS system. That’s where True POS comes in. Get a free quote today.