Making it Through Your First Year as a Food Truck

December 14, 2012

Whether or not you have experience as an entrepreneur, chances are that you’ve heard the following statistic: three out of every ten start- ups go out of business within the first two years. What’s worse is that that number climbs to 5 after 5 years.

However, there is good news. There are plenty of ways to prevent your food truck business from going under. But you have to know the ways before you get in over your head. So, here at Concession Nation we’ve compiled a list of “to-do’s” to keep in mind as you launch your mobile food stand.

Get your name out there – At this day and age, you have all of the tools that you need to get your name out into the market. I’m not solely talking about online social media tools either – although those cannot be avoided or foregone – but about traditional media sources as well. When you’re launching your food trailer, contact local and regional news sources. Invite these sources to your grand opening so that they can sample and review the food. You can also find ways into the media through charitable events that you help sponsor. Make sure that your audience knows the great activities that you’re taking part in.

Talk to your customers – Talking and interacting with your customers is no longer something that only occurs at the point of sale. As a mobile vendor, you should be in touch with your customer base several times a day – on both a personal and a broader level. How? With social media, it’s easy to respond to customers’ comments or feedback about the truck; for instance, take the time to respond back to customers who mention your mobile food stand in a tweet. Whether the customers’ tweet is positive or negative, your response will be appreciated. Especially if the customer is giving you negative feedback, your response may alleviate the situation.

Minimize your expenses – This seems like an obvious piece of advice for surviving for the first year – but it’s neglected more often than not. It’s easy to get carried away with spending when you were just “handed” tens of thousands of dollars through loans or from investors to spend on creating a great food truck business. However, you are required to pay back these limited sums of money within an allotted time frame – and with that in mind, you cannot spend as if you are going to recoup all of your losses within that period of time. To start, look for every possible way to save. This will allow you to keep your business going for longer until revenue starts to cover your initial investments. Here’s our biggest piece of advice: Do as much as you can by yourself for as long as you can. This includes cleaning, doing your accounting, managing and scheduling your work force, and cooking as frequently as possible.

Plan ahead for setbacks – As with anything, you can only be so careful in the day-to-day management of your mobile food venture. There are going to be issues that creep up that will be both in and out of your control. So, make a plan to follow if anything in your food truck business goes wrong. Imagine all possible scenarios in order to be as prepared for problems as possible. Make your employees aware of these issues and solutions, as well, since you will not always be around to monitor the well being of the mobile food cart.