Food trucks have become increasingly popular over the last decade. While the restaurant industry grew at about 2% annually, food trucks have grown at almost 8% annually. Some aspiring restaurateurs get started with food trucks before getting a permanent location, while others expand their business using a food truck. There are many advantages and also some challenges for running a food truck. These tips and tricks can help food truck owners save money and increase revenue.
9 Tips and Tricks for Food Truck Owners to Save Money and Increase Revenue
1. Make Your Food Truck Stand Out
Your food truck is like a mobile billboard, and you want prospective customers to take notice. Whether you are on-location or en route, customers should notice your food truck. You might use bright colors that match your brand, eye-catching graphics, or memorable slogans to make your food truck stand out. Remember to keep your food truck exterior in great condition, so your customers don’t think your mobile kitchen lacks maintenance.
2. Simplify Your Record-Keeping
Running an efficient food truck not only means reducing costs and increasing revenue, but also simplifying your management tasks. Simplify your record-keeping, including inventory, other expenses, and sales. Use a POS system to keep track of your sales and inventory. Track your inventory and sales electronically to reduce paper receipts and make your record-keeping easy and clean.
Use the ICE2U app to save money on ice and manage receipts digitally
3. Work with Event Planners
Increasing food truck revenue is not limited to your own business practices; it can also be affected by who you know. If your food truck is mobile, you can bring your business wherever people are. For this, it’s helpful to know where events are taking place. Talk to local groups, including municipal event organizers, small business organizations, tourist boards, private event organizers, and others to learn where events are taking place and how you can set up your food truck at these events.
4. Use Long-Lasting Ingredients
Use ingredients with a long shelf-life and you can reduce food waste and expenses. A few clever substitutions can help you dramatically reduce expenses from lost inventory. Ultimately, saving money is also increasing food truck revenue. For example, use canned or dried fruits instead of fresh fruits and focus on long-lasting starches, such as noodles or rice. Instead of fresh vegetables, see if you can substitute zesty pickled vegetables.
5. Simplify Your Menu
Complex menus with many different ingredients are not only more difficult to track, but they’re more difficult to prepare and keep in stock. Limit your ingredients as much as possible and use a few ingredients in creative ways. Limit your menu to three or four popular items using the same core ingredients. Some highly versatile, popular food truck choices include tacos, poutine, hot dogs, pancakes, ramen, gyros, sandwiches, cupcakes, and pizza.
6. Test Your Menu Items
Test different menu items and ingredients to decide which items work best. If you refine your menu based on the foods customers want the most—as well as those that are less difficult to prepare—you’ll be able to maximize food truck revenue and minimize costs.
7. Use a Theme
Some foods are more popular in certain areas. Consider what types of foods people in your area enjoy, and how you might make these in a food truck. Consider a creative twist, such as fusion cuisine. Or, if you have a special family recipe, consider how you might introduce this to a larger audience. Consider how you might combine a regionally popular food item with your speciality, perhaps by using a particular dish that is popular in your area, a particular ingredient, or a particular flavor.
9. Minimize Maintenance
It’s tempting to choose a very affordable food truck to start with and build your business outward. However, this can result in excessive maintenance and repair costs later on. Choose your food truck and equipment carefully to start with, so you don’t end up with big bills later on. Take careful inventory of your equipment needs as well, and only purchase the items that you really need.
9. Research Rules and Regulations
Some areas have very strict rules about food trucks. Health inspections, cooking conditions, parking rules and many more can all affect where your food truck can do business. Talk to a food truck owner or worker in your area first to get a good idea of what to look for. You might also talk to local lawmakers. Be sure to research these regulations up front; if there are no food trucks in your area, there might be a good reason.
A food truck can give you a way to start or expand your restaurant business. Do your research, plan your business carefully, and make your investment choices wisely, and you can turn your food truck into a lucrative business opportunity.