S-A-L-E-S. You're in the food truck business, but first and foremost you're in the sales business. It seems that many food truck operators underestimate the importance of sales. I've eaten at trucks with average food, yet amazing branding and sales staff. I've also eaten at trucks with terrible branding and customer service, but some of the best food I've ever tasted. You can be successful somewhere in the middle, but why not be great at both food and sales? I can't help with your food, but here are some tips to be better than average in sales:
- Get attention. If your brand and wrap are uninteresting, people may think your food is also uninteresting. Pick your brand and colors carefully. First impressions are everything. What you say about your truck you're saying about your food. Have a half-rate wrap and a dirty banged up truck? Guess what people are thinking about your food...?
- Prepare well in advance. Use social media to get your followers to, well to follow you to where you're serving. Be sure to keep a schedule on Facebook and your website, then constantly remind people where you'll be serving. Don't forget to add a reason WHY to come. So many posts miss this vital nugget. You may be telling people how to find you, but are you telling them WHY to find you? A daily special, new menu item, special side, promotional price, a fabulous photo of what you're serving... The reasons are endless, just don't forget to add one.
- Use a wrangler. If it's slow or you have too much competition, put your best sales person (or yourself) outside the truck to take orders and pull customers in. We've all seen The Great Food Truck Race and their need to get into the crowds, bars and do whatever it takes to make sales. I'm not saying to grab eaters out of lines from other trucks, but you do need to generate interest.
- Find your magic price point. There's a sweet spot of charging the appropriate price for your quality food. $14 for burrito sounds expensive to a prospective customer, but have they tried YOUR burrito? If you're getting repeat customers at $14 you know you're food is worth it. You'll get several people that see the price and walk away which is fine, but if you're seeing too much of that it's probably an indicator that your price point is too high. Know your market and find your sweet spot.
- Make it clear to your staff that they are in sales. Every order is an opportunity. If the customer doesn't have an amazing experience, they will probably not return, even if your food was great. Find you're crew's talents and put them where they are most valuable.
You're never going to be able to share your food and your passion without customers and it takes SALES to get them. Get their attention and get them as long term customers and fanatics who will be your new sales force tweeting and posting for you! Sales are necessary for any business. Remind yourself regularly that you're in sales. Balanced with good food and great staff, you will be unstoppable.