Some days are just bad days and you just can't control how they affect you or your staff. Bad attitudes can and typically do affect customer service. It's hard to grind through a bad day with a smile. It even harder for your employees to when they don't have as much riding on the success of your truck.
I have the pleasure of eating at many different food trucks. Mostly around the Bay Area, but at times other cities and states. I've seen the gamete of customer service and would wager that the customer experience is just as or more important that the food. No one wants to patronize a food truck where they feel they were either given poor service or a poor attitude. The food would have to be otherworldly to return for bad service. Granted, there are probably some "Soup Natzi" type trucks and owners that know their food is that good that they do and say what they please, but most trucks should not have an attitude even with excellent food. Some questions you might want to ask yourself when considering how well you approach customer service are:
- How approachable is my truck? If customers like the appearance of your truck and staff they are more likely to approach the truck review the menu and ultimately order!
- How friendly are my staff? Most food truck customers don't care how cool your truck or staff is. If they don't feel comfortable and welcomed they probably won't do business with you or won't do repeat business with you. Make sure your staff know the importance of a smile and try to make guests feel welcomed. They are doing you a privilege.
- How do I personalize my eater experience? Are you taking names, writing names on boxes/bags? Eaters like the experience as much as the food. Make it a personalized experience and they will probably want to keep coming back.
- How do I use social media to take customer service to the next level? Are you re-tweeting positive posts from customers, are you following them back? Are you inviting them to events ans recognizing them for supporting you? Chances are good you are already doing this, but you would be surprised how many food trucks are not. There is no excuse for not using social media, if you're busy hire it out. Get staff on board and helping monitor and post for you.
So, is customer service more important that your food? This is still a tough question. I suppose it depends on the customer. Some customers are willing to put up with horrible customer service for excellent food. However, I would error on the side that most will not. Work with your staff to implement and maintain a customer service standard. The happier your staff, the happier the customer and your bottom line.