"Food trucks are popular,
the Food truck industry is... surging.
But, running a strong business that can replace your income is... difficult."
First and foremost, in Food Truck MKTG 101, choose your target market. These are your loyal customers that you want to see you every day. The people you want to make the happiest, so that they give you reliable sales. You want to determine who they are and get as close as you can to how they think. This should be your capstone from which all marketing builds out.
But don't freak out! You may find this changing a bit as you refine your processes and determine the finer points of your business overtime. So, embrace it.
Marketing Your Food truck: Locations, locations, locations
To generate the amount of revenue needed to run your truck and provide additional income for yourself or family, you MUST identify the best places to park.
This sounds simple but it is at the heart of your new business. The amount of food truck businesses roving around town has increased year over year and the prime spots in town are getting fought for more intensely than ever.
The locations that you choose will determine the amount of traffic you see, the price sensitivity of your customers, and the whether your menu is appreciated.
Marketing Your Food truck: Pricing
Once you have identified your costs for the culinary masterpieces with which you will dazzle your customers, you must create a price that covers costs and generates adequate profit.
This step is very important. If you choose an arbitrary profit margin because it sounds reasonable instead of factoring in the amount of income you need to sustain your lifestyle, you may start to feel the fatigue of ownership which can be deadly for a business. There's no worst feeling than working long hours successfully selling your product and coming up short in the end because of a bad pricing model.
Marketing Your Food truck: Menu
The face of your business is not the owner, despite your charm. It is, and always will be, the food! Here's an example: crummy service and "good food" from food trucks all around the country have become popular. Andrew Zimmerman from the National Geographic channel has featured food trucks that thrive on serving good food while treating their customers rudely. It becomes and amusing cultural hot-spot where people gather to chuckle while enjoying their favorite dish. I wouldn't ever recommend that as a strategy but it shows how good food can keep customers loyal.
The menu will determine cost of your inventory and have an impact on where you can sell. Be very thoughtful when choosing your lineup, keep your target market in mind, and keep it simple.
Marketing Your Food Truck: Getting the word out
When your truck is on-the-go, and wrapped in a great design or has a clear and
visible sign, it is a mobile billboard for your company reaching areas that it would cost thousands to advertise using conventional means. When it's parked, it can draw the eye while the scent of the food finishes the job. One such example is Saep Fire grill food truck pictured above.
However, when you're driving you're not selling. You can't count on being mobile as your only means to get the word out. When the truck is parked, it has even less reach as you can only draw from the normal foot traffic.
The solutions for these issues are as varied as the many food trucks that exist. You have to determine if your wheelhouse is social media and you can create a cyber buzz about your truck or if you like to be in the community creating a word of mouth campaign. Play to your strengths and play for keeps.
Marketing Your Food Truck - 201: Expand your brand