Posted by : Amanda Stein Friday, January 10, 2014

The fast-paced and dynamic market of modern food trucks is in no shortage of competition. With more and more enterprising food service entrepreneurs joining the fray, it is increasingly harder to attain dominance; fortunately, because of the modular nature of this business, one could always seek less competitive grounds.

Still, if your food truck is allergic to adversaries, then it wouldn’t be such a wise investment of your time and money. Businesses have to be able to hold their own, as just about any market or industry is built to be a competitive environment.

As an entrepreneur, what steps should you take in order to increase your food truck’s revenue and establish a strong, sought-out brand character amidst the ever-growing competition? The following bits of advice, taken together, can help immensely:

Attract Attention

Before your prospective customers will ever taste your mobile culinary delights, you will have to garner their attention via their other senses: sight, sound, and smell. The streets are full of distractions, and your first priority is to make your presence known to the neighborhood your food truck drives into.

For sight, the visual appeal of your truck will be the first thing that catches their attention. The various looks and styles of food trucks is a competitive environment in itself, with food truck operators one-upping each other with very attractive visual designs that coincide with the kind of food they peddle to the customers.

Hand-in-hand with the looks, the kinds of sounds that emanate from your food truck or van will also play a part in getting your prospective customers’ attentions. Whether it be music, like the classic circus-sounding melodies of the well-known ice cream trucks, or perhaps a curious sounding horn or bell, customers have to hear something beyond the hum of your truck’s motor as it pulls to a stop along the curb.

Perhaps the most effective sense to tickle, especially when it is about time to chow down, is the sense of smell. Having pleasant aromas wafting from your food truck is sure to pull in some hungry folk, and for as long as your food tastes just as good or better than it smells, you have a home run right there.

Tune Your Menu

Nowadays, it simply isn’t enough that you serve classic food items cooked and prepared in traditional ways. The food trucks are known to be havens of creative fusion cuisine, and any recipe can always be improved to suit the tastes of your target market.

Given that your truck has more than one stop (unless one stop is enough for you to sell everything, which would actually be awesome), you should observe and take feedback from your customers on how you can make your menus better. If there is an overwhelming demand for a recipe to be tweaked, or a variant food item to be added (some folks like ‘em sweeter/spicier/fatter/etc.), then you should oblige.

You can still make your original recipe items available, but come out with variants by popular demand. To add to the appeal, you can even name the variant after the neighborhood that requested it in the first place.

Tuning your menu isn’t just about the taste and preparation; the price also matters. When doing this, it’s not about having the cheapest burger or taco among the competing establishments; it is more about offering the best value for money at given price point. You have a lot of control as to what kinds of neighborhoods you peddle your goods, so map your pricing strategy based on how much these people will pay for the kinds of food you offer.

Engage the Customers

Part of the charm of the food truck is that there is very little in the way for you to come in contact and converse and interact with your customers. Standing or sitting around the food truck at the sidewalk or the park, it matters little what ethnicity or social class the customers belong to; they are all eating together out in the open.

Just like in regular restaurants, it pays to know your regulars.

About the Author: Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is also in the process of retrofitting an old van into a food truck, with accessories and installation services provided by American Van Equipment.

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