The gap between food trucks and restaurants is undeniably closing with food trucks developing into brick-and-mortar businesses and established restaurants investing in mobile trucks. The National Restaurant Association reported that 6 in every 10 consumers would visit a food truck from their favorite restaurant and with big name chains like Dairy Queen, Sizzler, and Taco Bell investing in mobile trucks, the lunchtime rush is becoming increasingly competitive. However, even if your restaurant can't afford a food truck, take a look at our list of three things that they do well and learn how you can implement these successes into your business.
Lesson #1 Take Advantage of Mobile Apps
Food trucks are mobile in more ways than one. Not only is there new technology that allows food trucks to move to locations where there are more customers, there also are widely used apps that allow customers to find food trucks in addition to others that allow customers to order ahead of time. By pre-ordering if you are short on time, your food will wait on you instead of the other way around.
The takeaway? Convenience is key. Customers love food trucks because they’re quick and easy. Having an efficient kitchen is essential to make sure customers don’t have to wait forever when they’re on a tight lunch schedule. Adopting technology like digital compliance reporting to free up employees so they can focus solely on customer service can drastically speed up the lunch process.
Lesson #2 Use Social Media
Food trucks generally tend to have a significantly larger presence on social media sites than most sit-down restaurants do. Food truck owners take advantage of social media to make consumers aware of their business and foster relationships with returning customers. Keeping diners up-to-date with the latest additions to the menu creates excitement and demand for food trucks.
The takeaway? Stay connected. Engaging customers, both new and returning, is essential in creating a steady flow of loyal diners. Doing this through social media sites can be a great way to foster these types of relationships. Additionally, social media is designed for sharing and is a great way to spread content organically. Having an increased presence on social media translates to the ability to attract more customers and the best thing about it is that it's free.
Lesson #3 Take Creative Risks with Your Menu
Food trucks have the ability to have a flexible menu which allows them to take, “greater culinary risks.” This lets food truck chefs to have freedom from a typical set menu with little variation other than a “specials” list. It also encourages chefs to change up the menu and see what sells and what doesn't. This means that customers can eat at the same food truck every day of the week and experience a different menu each day. Food trucks work because they have the capability to adapt to any of the newest trends without completely changing who they are as a business.
The takeaway? Allow your menu to have flexibility. For most food trucks, the menu couldn’t be easier to change. Literally- most food truck menus are written in chalk. By changing up your own menu, you avoid the risk of customers getting sick of your restaurant. You can do this by taking advantage of a seasonal menu. Seasonal trends are highly attractive for customers who want to eat local and in season and this will create a demand and novelty for limited items.
By taking advantage of technology and developing a social media presence as well as implementing the use of technology to increase efficiency and allowing flexibility with your menu, your restaurant will be able to be competitive in the ever challenging lunchtime market. While it is impossible to fully achieve the mobility of a food truck, by implementing the previously mentioned tips we can assure that you'll stay current and relevant.
What else do you think food trucks do well? Share with us in the comments.