The Don’ts For A Successful Food Truck Business

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Most entrepreneurs already have an idea of what would help a food truck business succeed. It would need great food, attractive prices, and friendly faces. As for the potential landmines in operating a food truck business, the debate rages on. In fact, a common warning mentioned whenever the idea of launching a food truck business enters a conversation is, “It’s one of the hardest small businesses you could possibly think of getting into.” Continue reading »

Reasons Why Food Trucks Can Flop & How To Avoid Being A Statistic

logo-c4bJump on the bandwagon, why not? The food truck business is one of the top high-flying start-up businesses in the United States and other parts of the developed world. Its rise to fame and fortune has been astonishing especially considering food trucks used to be common only in construction sites and country roads.

Today however, there are food trucks on sale on eBay! In fact, there are hundreds of food truck of varying themes and custom designs on sale for less than US$30,000. Just like any other industry, there are food truck ideas that fail and situations that food truck owners are just unable to handle. Here are the most reasons why a food truck business will flop:

Maintenance is High

A food truck that relies on the lunch crowd alone is going to struggle to make ends meet. That is, unless its lunch hour extends from 11 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon with long line circling buildings and non-stop selling every weekday. If not, the problems of maintaining staff, fuel and energy consumption, taxes, licenses, and the cost in perishables could be too much for a business. Get an accountant to help you with your costs and menu so you know exactly how much you need to make in a day, week, and month.

Wrong Menu

It’s really important that your food is not just delicious, fresh, and priced right; it should also be sold in the right place to a specific market. Fusion food, for instance, is a hard sell because not many people enjoy experimenting on their food. Ethnic food also has to be adjusted a little to suit the customers you are planning to attract. The bottom line is your food has to be great; the packaging should be attractive, and the choices should be not too extensive but not limited either to just a few.

Poor Staff and Service

Grumpy people behind the counter are just not going to work. People who perspire a lot are also a little off-putting so a business owner needs to be very particular about appearances and attitude in order to build loyalties.

Wrong Location

The beauty of the food truck is that you can change location easily so always be on the lookout for a new place to set up shop. Also be on top of events, festivals, and weekend markets so you can sign up early.

Finally, keep in mind that last year there were about 100 new food truck businesses that were launched in the L.A. area. Of these new businesses, 35 failed. On the other hand, those that succeed continue on to open new trucks in new locations and in different cities. The amount of press food truck businesses are getting is also helping create that aura of anticipation and eagerness among consumers to find the next sumptuous food truck offer.

Top Reasons Why A Food Truck Business Would Fail

With the trend in the food industry turning enthusiastically for food truck offers, it would seem like a win-win situation to invest in this kind of business. However, not all food trucks are successful and according to food experts and critics there are a few top reasons for failure:

Wrong Menu Selection

Being a copycat is going to doom a food truck within the first year of operation unless it tastes infinitely better than the food it is trying to copy. Another error would be trying to have too much on the menu or having a menu that isn’t cohesive. For example, you shouldn’t mix Mexican with Chinese unless your focus is fusion food.

Wrong Location

Your menu should match your location and your location should be one where foot traffic is heavy. One of the challenges of having a food truck is that local laws and ordinances tend to give food trucks a specific location to operate. This means everyone is in or around the same area and competition is fierce. It also means that there is major jostling for prime spots among food truck owners or if the food trucks are allowed to move, being in the right spot at the right time becomes something akin to a race.

No Business Plan

Enthusiasm and drive is great but without a business plan, the chances of owning a successful food truck business dwindle considerably. A business plan is like your guide; it’s not just a feasibility study. It will be your road map as you go through the first 2 years in operations and you will be constantly updating it as you pick up speed with your food truck business.

The State of the Economy

Although you can’t always blame the government for a poor economy, it is much harder to succeed when people aren’t spending money except on essentials. This is another strong reason for creating a business plan, the right menu, and finding the location with the best revenue potential. Food is an essential need and if you can price your products so it is within the meal budget of a family man or working mom, then you have a better chance of attracting new customers every day.

How To Choose Your Menu/Cuisine for a Food Truck

The trend in the food truck business today is to come up with a menu that looks, tastes, and sounds extraordinary. Selling tacos isn’t just going to cut it unless you put a twist to your tacos by using ingredients such as lamb, all vegetable, turkey, salmon, hot and spicy tuna, shrimp, lobster, etc to introduce new flavors to an old favorite.

Of course, you might want to take it in a different direction by offering better quality of staple food truck food from the time of the original food truck or chuckwagon. During the mid-1800s, chuckwagons were used to sell food to cowboys on cattle runs. Some of the meals served were cornmeal, bacon, salted or smoked beef or pork from an animal that had to be put down because it got injured. This would be a unique idea but only if you can come up with a modern menu to appeal to the food truck-buying customers.

Serve Your Specialty But Be Willing To Adjust

Food trucks saw a revival this past 4 years because there were chefs that got laid off and had to find an alternate source of income. Restaurants weren’t hiring so they went to the streets. And it has been paying off very well. Sales from 2011 from food trucks are over a billion and it is predicted to keep going up as more food choices are made available.

If you are a cook and you have your specialty, conduct a taste test targeting people who buy food from the sidewalks. If the feedback is unbelievable, go with it but if not, be willing to listen and make some adjustments.

Don’t Force Gourmet If You Can’t Deliver

Gourmet food trucks are the rave at the moment but only because they have excellent food. People will not buy gourmet food that is expensive and much worse, not worth their value. High-end food is not easy and the expectations are much more so it would be worthy to give it a great deal of thought before you go this direction.

It Must Be Good, Value For Money

These are the two guiding factors you have to follow when picking your cuisine and menu. Forget the fact that the food truck industry is worth over $1 billion or that customers are spending as much as $300 a week on food truck meals. Your food has to be delicious and as affordable as possible. You have to consider depending on volume sales unless you have a sure shot secret recipe that you can build a menu around. Again, it would boil down to the results of a taste test with your target market.