Measure Your Food Truck’s Performance

November 5, 2012

Whether or not your food truck business appears to be healthy, it is essential to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to better manage and improve the areas of your business that require assistance. And what are the aspects of your business that require extra assistance? These are nearly impossible to know without first having your measurement numbers in place.

Having ways of measuring productivity in place will save you time and money. You’ll be able to replace guesswork with actual numbers that will tell you what’s really happening within your food truck business. Remember the old saying, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure?” It’s still true today. Measurement will allow you to find problems quicker, address them, and ensure that every inch of your food truck business is operating as efficiently as possible.

The best way to evaluate how well your truck is doing in terms of measurement is to create KPIs and then develop a comparative benchmark that will show you your food truck’s progress.

First let’s start with the basics. What is a KPI? A KPI stands for “Key Performance Indicator.” It is a quantifiable measure that reflects the factors that you’ve deemed critical to the success of your food truck business. These KPIs will help you define and reach your goals.

So, what are the most useful KPIs for your food truck business? Below are a few that are general. (In order to truly measure the performance of your truck, you’ll need to make your KPIs specific to your business).

  • Weekly sales: This is a simple, standard sales-related number. When it comes to this figure, it is most important to focus on the changes in it from week to week and how it compares to previous years.
  • Food cost percentage: Your food cost percentage is your food cost as a percentage of your total business expenses. It is easiest to look at the KPI on a weekly basis. Most restaurants and mobile food businesses operate at a 15% to 30% food cost. If your food cost is higher than 30%, you may want to evaluate ways in which you can decrease this expense.
  • Inventory value: In your commercial kitchen, you should be storing less than a week’s use. Don’t let freezing your foods get the best of you! Keep these numbers low.
  • Best and worst selling items: Keep track of your best and worst selling items by looking to receipts and your point-of-sales system to determine which of your menu items are sell-outs versus which of your items are merely taking up space on your board.

The aforementioned KPIs are just a few of the measures that you will want to look at when evaluating your food or catering truck’s business model. Keep in mind that there are other forms of KPIs that can be helpful to your business as well, such as staff and customer indicators.