December is truly a whirlwind of events, business and strategic planning, gift giving, company dinners and parties, and of course scheduling in family time. Many industries are exploring ways to remain top of mind during the retail flurry of activity, just as food truck owners and operators are constantly exploring ways to drive food truck sales during the holidays. Many factors can affect the success of a food truck during the holidays, notably the location, menu, event schedule, and weather. Below we will outline Ways to Drive Food Truck Sales During the Holidays while spreading kindness and positive energy!
Ways to Drive Food Truck Sales During the Holidays
- Freebies/Holiday Giveaways
- Create an Experience
- Social Interactiveness
- Seasonal Ingredients
Let's explore these in further detail. The first way to drive for truck sales during the holidays seems to be counter-productive. One might ask... how can we give away free stuff and still make money? As the saying goes... you must spend money to make money, and in this case, give away a bit of your product to generate excitement, and retain new and existing customers. As an example, create a social media contest for a free meal at your food truck with anyone who records a review about your business while onsite. This will offer a free way to generate video content, and of course, organic SEO and impressions. The review is worth more in this instance than the $2 in ingredients spent on the meal. Another idea is to offer a free holiday treat (hot cocoa, cider, Christmas cookie, gingerbread snaps, etc.) with any purchase during the month of December. It's an extra little incentive that sets your food truck apart from others and an experience that the customer will remember.
Speaking of experiences, why not create an experience that your customers will remember? With over 20 food trucks at any one event, the competition is steep, and you must set yourself apart from the other food trucks. When it comes down to it, customers want great service, good food, and something positive they will remember. This could be Christmas songs playing from your food truck speakers, Christmas lights strung around the vending windows, a cool Polar Express backdrop for kids to snap pictures in front of, or even a stop in from Santa! Adding a little flare to your existing December marketing strategy will not only add ROI, but will also create a fun and inviting atmosphere that customers will remember.
Socially speaking, you need to have a social presence. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are all imperative for posting, engaging, and remaining top of mind. Should you decide to offer a giveaway, why not create a hashtag and share this socially. Work with a few local talents and ask them to share the posts. Step outside of your social level and go live.... customers love to see authenticity. The posts don't all need to be business related.... if the food truck employees or owners have kids, post pictures (if they are OK with this) of them throughout the holiday season, post pet pics (even a pet costume contest?!)... relate to the customers as friends!
Your food truck menu will likely transition from summer menu items to fall, and now to winter/holiday features. When thinking of the holidays, one might associate comfort food with the traditions and family gatherings. Some ideas to incorporate into your menu could include:
- Twist on holiday favorites (mashed potatoes, ham, turkey, cranberries) to include menu items that offer traditional foods in untraditional pairings
- Warm beverages - in addition to traditional beverage offerings (soda, water, tea, etc.), how about consider adding in hot cocoa, warm tea, apple cider, or eggnog?
- Desserts - who doesn't love holiday desserts? Now is your time to add cool whip to any dessert item imaginable!
According to foodtruckr.com, here are a few suggestions that you should consider when running your food truck during the holidays.
- Come up with specials to lure customers to your lunch truck, especially customers who have never been to your truck.
- Give away free food. You know, like samples.
- Have an amazing environment that screams you and your employees are in the holiday spirit. Side note: People love being around happy people, it’s the negative ones who are toxic. If you are really feeling up to it, you can decorate your truck as well.
- Let people know where you are going to be on social media. You, of course, let your customers know where your truck is going to be during the winter, but really get creative with your social media post. For example, say something along these lines, “While you are out shopping for presents, make sure to stop at our food truck. If you mention this Facebook post, we will give you a free cup of coffee.” Of course, you don’t have to give anything away, but the point is to attract customers.
Holidays will be here and gone before we know it, so take some time to engage with your customers, test new recipes, and have some fun! Before we know it, we'll be in the spring season ready to hit the next round of events and festivals!