As a food truck owner and operator, you are always trying to find innovative ways to stand out in the mobile food arena. It can be daunting as you’re competing in a $2.7 billion industry (foodtrucknation.us, 2017) with rapid growth of 300% in three years. The opportunities to lave a mark with your food truck are there, but you need to have a plan in place, implement said plan, and hustle to see results. This article will provide you with some Ways to Stand Out in the Mobile Food Truck Arena leaving you amped up!
Tip 1: Get Social.
Social media is a MUST in 2019 and beyond! Various social platforms are available to market your brand in an inexpensive way while reaching a large targeted audience. Social media has many layers so it’s key to create a social media marketing plan to remain organized. Within this plan you should set goals, measure the results of your efforts, and allow for wiggle room to adjust the direction and push forward.
A simple google search will bring up many templates and suggestions for a social media marketing plan. An educational website, contentmarketinginstitute.com, has a specific template that outlines some great ideas and tips for getting social and demanding presence. Check out the template here: https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2018/11/smart-social-media-plan/. The content on this website outlines the factors to consider when devising a social media marketing plan, including objectives, goals (benchmarks), key performance indicators, trends, audience identification, and call to action suggestions. For anyone starting out as an entrepreneurial food truck owner, and even those veteran food truck owners that need to revamp their social presence, this content is a great resource.
Tip 2: Create an Experience.
Operating a food truck doesn’t always have be a transactional experience. Meaning the customer orders food, waits in silence (tinkering around on their phone), the food is then handed to said customer, and they're on their way. That doesn't quite paint a picture of an engaging experience that leaves a lasting impression. The experience at a food truck can be anything you want to make it and should be memorable for customers. Here are a few examples of ways to create a unique experience, ultimately increasing customer loyalty.
- Stream upbeat music on speakers mounted on the exterior of your food truck to draw attention and excitement to those passing by. It’s a different yet easy and inexpensive way to attract attention to your food truck.
- Add some cool signage outside of your truck that includes specials, social handles, and upcoming events. Add lighting around the signage to add some flare for the evening crowd.
- Set up a little ‘photo op’ area with a simple backdrop with your logo and a few props. Encourage people to post a picture, tag your food truck, and enter to win some swag all on social media. Let's face it, they're already on their phones most of the time spent in line and waiting for food, so why not take advantage of that!?
- Offer samples of menu items, and from recipes you’d like to test. Ask for feedback to engage the customers and for your own market research.
Tip 3: It’s all about the truck.
The food truck is essentially the pulse of your business. When your food truck is out of service, you don't make money. Period. Let's check out some questions to ask any food truck builder... which are also Ways to Stand Out in the Mobile Food Truck Arena! Builders like APEX Specialty Vehicles welcome your questions and would love to provide a design for your concept!
1. What is the company's design philosophy?
The design of a custom food truck or trailer is the single most important element of the project. The design determines the efficiency and success of your future mobile food business. Therefore, it’s important to ask about the company’s design philosophy. How much planning is involved during the design phase? Do you get to see your design before committing to the build? At APEX, we believe design is so important, we provide 40-60 hours of design work prior to our customers spending a penny with us. We focus on our client’s best interest, which is why our building process begins with a 3D design during our quotation process. Yes, you heard that correctly. We staff experienced design engineers who will work directly with you to create a 3D design of your future custom food truck or trailer.
2. What is the customer's experience like?
APEX believes a positive customer experience should be at the forefront of our focus. Throughout the entire build process, you will be matched with a project manager that will be your main point of contact. We want to make sure that every question you have is promptly answered and that you are constantly aware of your build’s progress. Our relationship with our customers is not only important from our first meeting, but through your project build, delivery, during your 5-year warranty period, and into the future.
3. Does the food truck Have a manufacturer's warranty?
At APEX we offer a nationwide, 5-year limited warranty on our workmanship. If you experience an issue with your truck or trailer, no matter where in the country you are located, simply call our support team. We’ll find a certified technician near you to repair your truck or trailer in a timely manner to ensure your business can continue without issue. All equipment warranties are fully transferred to our buyers.
4. Do most builds stay within their proposed deadline?
For most food truck and/or trailer builders, meeting build deadlines can be an unpredictable situation. We have heard from many customers at APEX who have previously purchased a custom food truck or trailer from another manufacturer that the reason they did not use the manufacturer again was because of deadline delays. At APEX, we guarantee a 98% on-time delivery rate. APEX understands that hard deadlines can be extremely vital to a company, which is why we’ll keep you informed throughout every step of the process.
5. Does the company have a quality control system?
Most companies don’t have a quality control system in place.Apex has a Quality Management System and an Enterprise Resource Planning System in place at our facility. This allows us to provide on-time deliveries, be customer-focused, and enables full traceability among all departments from the design, to the engineering, to purchasing and throughout the build process of your food truck or trailer.
6. Can I visit the manufacturing facility?
Absolutely! You want a manufacturer to welcome you. Some custom food truck manufacturers like to keep their processes hidden from their customers and don’t encourage factory visits. At APEX, we feel the exact opposite! We encourage you to come, meet our team of professionals that will support you while bringing your build to life, talk to our associates, and tour our plant. Our 50,000 square foot production facility is climate-controlled and houses our sales team, designers, engineers, graphics staff, custom fabrication team, and more. We keep everything within our doors so there’s nothing to hide.
7. Can I receive a new or used truck?
You can choose from a variety of new and used trucks! Some custom food truck manufacturers are only willing to build on a new truck platform, which can really stretch a budget. At APEX, we work alongside MAG Trucks to offer cost-effective new and refurbished trucks that are readily available to be customized for your business. All vehicles are covered by our warranty.
8. Can I get a list of references?
Yes, we encourage you to ask for references. No matter who you select asyour builder you should be able to talk to previous customers.
9. What are my financing options?
It can sometimes be overwhelming to try to find a lender that is willing to write a loan for a custom food truck or trailer. Because this is such a specialty industry, many banks are unfamiliar with the returns from a typical vehicle and are therefore unwilling to write these types of loans. At APEX, we work with our in-house financing company, Sapphire Capital, to offer our clients easy and convenient financing options. Of course, APEX customers also have the option to pay for a truck and build directly, or finance with your local bank, if that suits your situation better.
This article offers some suggestions on Ways to Stand Out in the Mobile Food Truck Arena which we hope you'll implement. For additional information or to speak with a team of design and engineering food truck experts, call APEX at 800-259-4804.