As the weather heats up and summer festivals kick off, now is the ideal time time to tap into the $857 million food truck industry and take your restaurant on the road. Food trucks can help to drum up new business and grow your brand recognition. After all, a food truck is essentially a moving advertisement for your restaurant and gives customers a taste of what your restaurant has to offer.
Here are a few tips to turn your restaurant into a business on wheels.
Finding the perfect location is always a top priority when opening a restaurant. The same time and energy should go into locating the perfect food truck. On average, food truck prices range from $25,000 to $125,000. If you have trouble finding a truck in your price range, consider connecting with former food truck owners to browse used trucks at a reduced price. A variety of different size and style options are available, so make sure to do your homework to find a truck that completely meets your needs. For example, do you need to cook on the truck or will all food be prepared at your restaurant location before you hit the road? The type of truck you need will vary depending on how much food preparation is done on the truck versus beforehand.
Similar to running a restaurant, there are certain rules and regulations that apply specifically to food trucks. Regulations touch on aspects of operations such as securing permits to sell, truck size, vending locations, hours, sanitation and more. By taking the time to brush up on rules and staying on top of new regulations in your community, you can set up your food truck for success.
In your restaurant, you have space for an advanced point of sale (POS) system. But it’s going to be a tight fit in the truck so it’s best to avoid cluttering the preparation and cooking space with a bulky cash register. While some food trucks are cash only, many customers prefer to pay with cards. Consider using a mobile POS system on an iPad, tablet or smartphone. Not only does it allow you to accept credit cards, but it’s fast, easy-to-use and won’t take up additional space.
Social media is a great way to connect with food truck diners. Make it a habit to update your location throughout the day or week on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. If you know your schedule ahead of time, drop hints about upcoming locations and turn it into a game for customers to guess where you’ll be during lunch on Thursday, for example. To gain even more traction, you can offer coupons and discount codes to new customers who like your Facebook page, share photos of dishes from your food truck, use hashtags associated with popular dishes or tag your food truck in a post.