In its most basic form, the secret of running a successful lunch truck is locking down a regular route of reliable customers to whom you can serve delicious dishes that won’t undo their diet, drain their debit card, or leave them lethargic for the second half of their day. Sounds simple, but it’s a task easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you apply this secret to your own successful lunch truck business.
Scope Out Locations for Your Lunch Truck and Network the Right People
It should go without saying that vending lunch trucks should park in a place that is convenient to a large number of people in the middle of the day. A great location is heavily populated, yet fairly isolated from other ready-to-eat food sources, like a suburban office park or outdoor recreation area. A key to gaining a firm grip on a prospective location is to make initial contact with the actual property owners, as opposed to the owners or managers of the surrounding businesses. This ensures you have complete permission to do business on the grounds, which can help with access to restroom facilities for you and any employees. Solidifying yourself with the property owner, or management company, also allows you to approach local businesses, and their hungry employees, as a legitimate and symbiotic business addition to the immediate area.
Stay Cooperative in Competition
Depending on your area, other catering trucks can serve as valuable assets in maintaining your profitability at a specific location. Few people want the same flavors and options day after day, month after month, for years. While you want customers to patronize you regularly, you do not want them to burn out on your products, especially since revamping a menu is often costly and time consuming. Instead, engage another mobile food vendor to take your place on certain days of the week, or for a week out of the month. Set up ‘special events’ that feature a few lunch trucks to drive even heavier hungry traffic to your spot. Cooperating with other business owners in this way opens up more locations for you to operate when they trade you established spots, and your customers don’t fall out of the lunch truck habit. If you are finding your business to be successful enough, perhaps starting a second business, run by employees, with a different menu will allow you to dominate an area…it’s a thought.
A key to any successful modern business is a good web presence. As a mobile food vendor, allowing your customers to know where you’ll operate on any given day is a great way to lock in business. Offer discounted or free items for customers when they join you in social media. Once they have made contact, you can send out messages in the morning or the night before to make sure you sell out at high noon. Allowing customers to post comments and pictures of your truck make the interactions more meaningful and allow you to create a community that surrounds your business and helps it thrive.
Maintain Simplicity with Predictable Variation
Keep a lunch menu on the light side. There’s a lot of junk available on the food market these days. If your truck serves food that won’t send your customers to the hospital or give them an ultra-full and unproductive feeling, make sure you communicate that. Keep options few and easy to remember. Consistency doesn’t necessarily mandate that nothing ever changes. If you make it a habit to offer a new special every week, the change will interest customers and keep them checking back with you on a regular basis.
“A lunch truck might not pay all of your bills with just a few hours of operation per day. Try looking into different ways to maximize a lunch truck business.”
Spread Out and Stay Affordable
A single lunch truck might not pay all of your bills with just a few hours of operation per day. Try looking into different ways to maximize your business. Company picnics and private parties are a great way to generate extra revenue, and you can do these gigs during non-lunch hours. Use social media and printed marketing materials to inform customers of your offers. Try arriving to your spot early and visiting the local businesses yourself to raise awareness of your services. Bring samples or coupons, and never forget your menus. Many offices might happily place large orders with catering trucks and pay for delivery before regular hours. Remind clients exactly where your parking spot is by offering tiny maps on a brochure or on your website. Remember, the best businesses succeed when happy customers tell their friends. So, keep a smile on your face and happily promote your lunch truck.