How to Research Starting a Mobile Food Business

If you’re planning on making food to sell to people – well, who are they?  What do they want?  Where are they?

You firstly need to work out the market, or ‘demand’ for your intended product and service to make sure you can sell enough to make your business viable.

So you need to start some basic research to start planning out your business.

There a couple of ways to conduct the research for your business plan:

Primary Research

Ideally, when you’re doing research into your potential customers, you should be asking them what they want.  Whether you decide to use surveys or you go to the area where you want to set up, and count cars and pedestrians, you need to be in the area where you want your business to be and then you need to make sure that your business can succeed. Try:

  • Surveys for local companies and workers
  • Counting pedestrians during all times of day
  • Hire a professional marketing research firm (costly, but it can be very helpful)
  • Ask customers that walk away from other food stands what they want from this sort of food

You want to begin to listen to the market before you even begin to serve it.

Secondary Research

There is still more research you can do in order to help your business succeed, and you don’t need to be in the local area to finish this work.

  • Go through local business data, often found at your local library
  • Industry profiles
  • Trade journals
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Census data
  • Demographic profile for your area
  • Retail Goods and Services Expenditures map for your community

With this information, you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to find out how people are spending their money in your area right now. You want to be as specific as possible when you’re drawing up your marketing plan, and this begins with having accurate and timely statistics at your fingertips. You can find resources for data from your local chamber of commerce as well.

Other resources include:

ZipSkinny – www.zipskinny.com

Buy Demographics – www.buydemographics.com

FedStats – www.fedstats.gov

Knowing and learning about your local community will ensure that you have the total picture when it comes to the viability of your product and your business.  Though you might need to adjust your plans later on, you will find that the more you know about your market now, the more successful you will be in the future.

Next : Putting together your Food Truck Business Plan

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