It’s estimated that up to 30 percent of all new restaurants fail within the first year of business. Furthermore, it’s estimated that of the restaurants that are still operating after the first year, about 30 percent will fail within the second year of business.
Knowing these alarming numbers, many would-be restaurateurs have opted to own a different type of service business — a food truck. Low overhead, comparably low up-front costs and the ability to pick up and literally drive your business to your potential customers are all big draws to owning a food truck. Yet food truck owners shouldn’t be fooled — operating a truck is hard work. There are the long hours, the paperwork and permits to legally operate your business and, most importantly, ensuring your product is quality.
$1 Billion and Counting — What’s Your Competitive Advantage?
While the food truck business is currently a $1 billion industry — and is growing fast — even with the fast growth, owners still need to go beyond just offering an exceptional product to survive and thrive. Here’s a look at five ways food truck owners can go the extra mile for their customers, thereby gaining a larger competitive advantage over their competitors:
- Offer mobile catering: If you’ve established your food truck business to the point where you have regular customers and are experiencing significant revenue growth, it may be worth exploring mobile catering. Your food may be ideal for the likes of graduation parties, family reunions and group picnics. Consider asking your regular customers to fill out a short survey to get a better idea of whether it would be a viable add-on. If it is, it’s just one more way to be there for your customers while profiting yourself.
- Porta potties: Food trucks are typically parked near campgrounds, on county fairgrounds, on downtown streets or in business parking lots. And while people likely enjoy the convenience of your product, they likely don’t enjoy having to walk back to work or to another public lavatory to clean up. A solution – brings in a portable restroom or portable sinks for customers to conveniently and comfortably wash up in. Portable sinks and restrooms especially make sense if you’re planning to be parked somewhere for an extended period of time.
- Creature comforts: There are the dog days of summer and the cold days of winter. And if you own a food truck, you need to be prepared to work in either environment. But you also need customers to sustain your business in both environments, so consider bringing in portable heaters in the wintertime and portable air conditioners in the summer. Place them around your food truck to make the conditions more pleasant for your guests.
- Reward points: It seems that every business these days offers reward points to their loyal customers, thereby allowing guests to cash them in for free products when enough are accrued. Why not offer a similar type of system with your food truck? Just make it easy and convenient for your customers to follow, and they’ll have even more incentive to continue to do business with you.
- Offer something for everyone: Don’t just offer your premiere dish and side items. Why not offer vegetarian and vegan options as well? By doing this, you’re opening up your business to a whole new group of customers.
The food truck industry is on the rise, as people prefer fast, convenient and inexpensive food as opposed to traditional sit-down restaurants. But it’s not easy running a food truck operation. It takes hard work, creativity and the will to work long hours. So how are you going the extra mile for your customers?