You’ve got a great recipe. And you even have a crazy cool name for your eatery. You just need a food truck and customers, and then profits are in the bag, right? Well, almost. You still have a few steps to take and decisions to make. And top of the list, right alongside your soon-to-be-famous sauce recipe, is your food truck design.
It takes about $55k to get a food truck business up and running. But compared to a brick and mortar restaurant, setting up shop in a food truck is a lot easier, the design decisions are much smaller, and the risk is much lower. Plus, you get to take the food to the people instead of waiting for them to come to your side of town. It’s a popular choice: the food truck market size in 2020 surpassed 1.2 billion dollars.
We’ve all felt the squeeze of pandemic uncertainties and have learned to stock up on flour and yeast and canned goods. The toll has been high in the Portland restaurant industry, but food trucks have been the saving grace of the restaurant community. In these almost post-pandemic days, people are eating out more. And the even better news is they’re also hyperconscious of supporting local businesses.
According to a March 2021 study, 40% of the average household’s food budget goes towards eating out. So bottom line: you know they’re coming with their wallets out, but will they choose your food truck or the one next door? Here are 3 tips to make sure your food truck design stands out in the crowd:
Plan Strategically for Their Return
Yes, you should ask yourself this before anything else because a customer loyalty plan starts before you fire up the grill. WHY should a customer come back? You could be leaning on your magic burger sauce and great fry smells, but you also need to beef up your customer experience. Ask yourself the following:
- Does each customer feels seem, heard, and appreciated? Greet each person in line. Get to know their name. Learn their story or what they’re doing today. After a year of being sequestered indoors, relationship building and cheerfulness are gifts to each and every customer.
- Do they leave with a smile? Make that last impression be a good one. Don’t let them trip over sauce packets on their way back to work. Of course you’ll send them off with a full belly, but send them off with a smile too, and they’ll carry it with them far and wide.
- Do you have a way to consistently reward your customers? This might be a shout-out on social media, a random drawing every month for a free burger, or a birthday up-size on their falafel.
Make It Obvious What You’re All About
Are you all about the throwback nostalgia of PBJs in all forms possible? Maybe you’re a donut hole queen. Whatever you’re about, make it obvious to everyone around your food truck. Wrap your truck in oodles of noodle happiness if that fits your brand. Or cover it in the sophisticated elegance of Paris crepes. Your truck design needs to match not only the food you ‘re selling, but the vibe and experience you provide.
Make Their Experience Photo Worthy
People are passionate about food, and stubbornly insistent about particulars of the flavors and textures. They know what they want and they’ll search until they find it. And when they find it — ie, your fantastic food truck that stands out in that food truck pod around the corner — make their experience one that they can’t help but share on social media. From the food to the truck to the people who crafted it all, be instagram worth every step of the way. Print a hashtag on your truck. Give them a scannable code so they can grab your menu online. Make it fun, easy, and oh-so-tempting for everyone reading their post.