StationEats ♥ Food Trucks!

This website is for food lovers who are trying to turn their passion for good food into a business. We'll walk you through the steps of opening up your own food truck.

When Is The Right Time To Find a Manager For Your Food Truck?

When Is The Right Time To Find a Manager For Your Food Truck?

In this post, we will be talking about the best time to hire a manager when you own a food truck. Trying to get our business up and running we tend to neglect all the business aspects of the business. There are so many details about it all that we just focus on getting it going. We need to recognize the need for a manager.

Your Business Stopped Growing

The hard stuff being things like marketing and growth. These take a lot of work and detail. Advertising and placement of the food truck are integral to the success of the business. As an owner, you need to know where the best place to set up is. Doing some research on the local area and events is a must to be successful. Word of mouth is still one of the best advertisers out there. Putting food in someone’s mouth is the best way to their heart as we all know. So, being at local community events and providing customers with good food from our truck will spread the word quick. Things like “that food truck that was at the art festival was awesome” will be heard around town and soon everyone will be wanting more fare. Which also means more business and more work. This is great however, this also means that you have less time for all this. This is a good sign to look for a manager.

You Feel Overwhelmed

After becoming successful we can get overwhelmed with too much to do. Becoming overwhelmed makes more stress. More stress leads to other issues we don’t want and so that is also a sign to hire a manager.

You Need New Input

Another sign is when you get into a rut. When you always go to the same place to set up and you become bored with the venue you are at or other vendors are there and offer different new stuff. Being able to have the time to research new trends in your area of expertise is vital to keeping the truck going. Having a manager will release you from the majority of the operations and let you focus on new and creative input. New marketing and new food items added to the menu will keep your food truck up to date and busy.

Sometimes as owners of food trucks, we think we are solely responsible for the day to day operations of the business. This isn’t always the case. Our business needs a balance between the front lines of cooking and serving to the business end inventory and paying bills (payroll for sure).

Why You Should Start Your Own Food Truck

Why You Should Start Your Own Food Truck

You’ve been thinking about starting your own Food Truck for a while now. But you’re not sure if it’s a good idea and if you have what it takes to be successful. Your mind is filled with doubts but also a lot of excitement and hope. To help you make the decision a bit easier I am giving you the 5 most important reasons to start a food truck.

Your Love of Cooking Drives You

The most obvious reason of why you should start a food truck is because you love to cook. You have the desire to do something that involves your love of cooking. Your love of cooking will take you far in owning a food truck and can help you rise above challenges when times get hard. When creating, and testing a food truck menu some items will be successful while others fail causing you to rethink, recreate, and test out new food menu’s until you get it right. For the average person this can be a hassle. For someone with a passion for cooking and a drive to succeed this constant change in the menu can be a test of your skills. Challenge your ability to come up with new and better food ideas that you and your customers will love.

You Are Your Own Boss

Not restrained to one location or a set schedule, as a food truck owner you can work the hours you want. Success is more likely if you have a food truck where you can get to know your customers. Learn what kind of people your customers are. By knowing the demographics of your customers as well as their most frequented hangouts you can market better and go to areas where you are most likely to sell daily. If you don’t want to, or can’t work daily, you have the power to choose set days, hours, or even only sell at events.

Keep It in the Family

If your talent, drive, and love of cooking has passed from you to your children having a food truck is a good investment for the future as an established business that can include your children. Owning a food truck can be the perfect family business where you can enjoy your love of cooking with a spouse, or your children. You could even do what you always dreamed of by making a family-oriented food menu. Include secret family recipes. One thing to know about family-oriented businesses is that this type of brand can be more appealing to customers that value family and family owned businesses. As you get closer to retirement age you can pass down your food truck to the next generation keeping it in the family when you decide it’s time to slow down in life.

Life’s Worth of Fulfillment

As a food truck owner, you can fulfill your life’s dream of selling your cooking, and not have to worry about your future retirement. Not having to sacrifice your greatest love for future financial security is great. You can continue your business until it’s time to hire a manager that can handle the business allowing you to work part-time. When you know you want, or need, to retire you can sell a portion of the business to a partner who can run the day to day responsibilities while you still receive business proceeds keeping you financially stable in your retirement. Most people have regrets sacrificing their dream and settling for a different life. As a food truck owner from beginning to end you will have a life of fulfillment knowing you spent your best years doing what you loved, cooking.

Aspiration of Opening a Restaurant or Franchise

Owning a food truck can lead to more opportunities. If your food truck is doing well. you can expand and open more food trucks in other cities. Or you could create a franchise out of your food truck. If your aspiration goes beyond to owning a restaurant, then starting a food truck is a good place to start as it teaches you everything you need to know prior to opening a restaurant.

All of the above are good reasons to start your own food truck. Anyone who loves to cook can have a good life making a living for themselves by cooking and running a food truck. You can pass the business on to your children, strengthening their bond through their shared love of cooking. You gain personal freedom being your own boss working where, and when you want. Serve customers that adore your cooking instead of settling for a nine to five job you have no interest in. Live the life of your dreams by refusing to do anything less than following your passion for cooking. There are many benefits, and opportunities, that derive from starting a food truck. The beginning may be difficult as it is not easy dealing with the day to day expectations; however, with the drive to follow your dream and a passion for cooking starting a food truck can be the best decision you ever made.

Best Ways to use Facebook As A Food Trucker

Best Ways to use Facebook As A Food Trucker

Taking that big step and starting a food truck to sell your food can at first be liberating, but what now? It is great that you are leading a life that allows you to live out your passion. But where do you get the attention, or the number of customers you need to make a living? For anyone who has started a food truck and needs help gaining public attention knows that as a food truck owner Facebook can be your best friend. Using Facebook for food trucks is a great tool for marketing to increase public awareness, establish yourself as a trustworthy business, and a way to give your customers a voice.

Making Facebook Work for You

A food truck is more than selling food, it is a business that can do remarkably well with the right marketing tools, such as Facebook. Knowing how to how to use Facebook as a Food truck owner is something I strongly recommend as it is a free way to have loyal repeat customers while drawing in new ones. For a food truck owner there are 3 important ways you can make Facebook work for you to gain new customers while keeping the loyal repeat customers coming back for more.

1. Building A Reputation

As a food truck owner, you can only have customers if people know about you and the food you sell. There are some that may pass by and are curious enough to stop and look at your menu, while others may pass you by without a glance. Nowadays, there is so much advertising that we try to ignore sights and smells. This is where Facebook can be of help as it is designed around the marketing principle of businesses needing to build their reputation. It is an excellent platform to make your voice heard and letting people know that you exist and what you have to offer. By creating a business Facebook page Facebook will handle the marketing for you by showing ads to those who may be interested in your cooking.

2. Establishing Yourself as a Trustworthy Business

Owning a food truck, I suggest using a Facebook page to your advantage, especially if you already have a regular routine of when and where you will be selling. Having an online presence that can verify what and where you sell your food is more likely to gain you the trust of future customers. It also gives you an opportunity to keep those that have already tasted your food a way to stay informed of your regular business days and hours. That way your past customers will know when you will be around. Not only that, but since it is not uncommon for food trucks to move from location to location throughout the day Facebook is a great way to keep your customers up to date on your regular schedule so they are always aware of where you are. This helps potential customers not to miss you when you are in their area.

3. Customer Service & Feedback

For any business great customer service is a must, and operating a food truck is no exception. Providing each customer with outstanding customer service, and making time to listen to their feedback, can be difficult when you’re juggling several responsibilities at one time. This is why Facebook can be a big help. Having your food truck online using Facebook gives your customers a place to share their feedback on your food, and the service you provide. The feedback they give can encourage others to stop by your food truck. This is especially true if you show that you are quick to address customer concerns, and answer questions. It shows that you care about what your customer thinks, and are willing to take the time to get to know your customers. Without the use of Facebook, you may miss critical information that could help improve your food truck, in turn costing you customers.

These are a few benefits of knowing how to use Facebook as a food truck owner. You can increase public awareness of your business by building your reputation, providing great customer service, while being recognized as a trustworthy business. It can be hard making it as a food truck owner, especially if you’re not getting the attention needed to draw in customers. This is why it is important to know how using Facebook for food trucks can benefit you. Increase the public’s awareness about your food truck, and the amazing food you sell. Gain the trust, and attention, of new customers by having an online presence. Keep past customers coming back by letting them know when you’re nearby. Stay up to date on what your customers are saying about your food truck, and see how their reviews encourage others to fall in love with your cooking as well. As a food truck owner there is a lot Facebook can do for you. Let this platform help you get your food truck the attention it deserves from past and future customers.

Digital Marketing Ideas for Food Truck Owners

Digital Marketing Ideas for Food Truck Owners

Getting the word out is essential for getting hungry people to your food truck. It has never been easier to share updates and news about your business. Social media, digital ads, emails, letting the crowd know where you are and what you are serving. Seeing food makes people hungry. When the food looks good, people will flock to your food truck to fix their cravings.

Market Your Food Truck As Branding

The name of your food truck should be on everyone lips. This is how you will continue to be successful. There are two ways to do this. The first is your food has to be memorable. Your food has to be good. These days though that is not enough. If you think of yourself as a brand you need to have items with your brand name on it. You need a great label and a great slogan. These things will be what you can spread across the digital landscape. If you do not have time to do media yourself for your food truck just hire someone to help you. Facebook posts, emailing, Instagram, Twitter, and more are all in your favor to get your food truck brand popular. You have to have some form of digital advertisement these days or your business just might not last.

Mobile Location

Everyone needs to know where your food truck is. Getting your food truck connected to the proper apps and websites to allow hungry people know where they can get your food is key. Share your time and place on social media and have an email or text notification system in place to let all your fans know where you are. Making sure everyone can find your food truck easily with a mobile location on the phone is really important for food truck success.

Digitally Advertise Your Menu, Food, and Ingredients

” What do you want to eat?” It is easier to decide what someone wants to eat when hungry people are reminded of what restaurants or food trucks are near. Digitally advertising your food across all social media is essential. People need to see your food. Pictures of your dishes will remind people how much they loved your special sandwich or perfect burger when they tried your food the last time. Keep showing the same great foods so people feel familiar with your brand. Most people like having the same good thing over and over again. People like to rely on something familiar.

Do Live Stream From Your Food Truck

The most effective advertisements are videos people can watch on Instagram, YouTube and other channels on their phone. By live streaming your food truck experiences, you can attract attention to your brand. We live in a here and now society. People will want to come out and join the fun. The live experience is very lucrative these days. People who blog about food can easily share your videos on their blogs along with some writing to let people know about your food.

Having fun with digital marketing is the key to getting your food truck known. You can use many food truck digital marketing tips to help you get your food truck at the top of everyone’s favorite food truck list. Every major social media platform is a place for you to advertise your business. The most important marketing a food truck owner can do is to let people know where your truck is serving your delicious food. Take the time to use digital marketing to your advantage to help feed the public.

Time Management Tips for Food Truck Owners

time management for food truck owners

Owning and running a food truck business is fun, hard work, and very satisfying. There is no better feeling in the world than when your customers love the food and come back for more. Every day is a new day in the food truck business, so it is important to have a system in place that feels like you have control over the business you run. Time management for food truck owners is essential for running a good business that thrives. Here are some of the tips to help managing your time for your food truck business.

Set Up A Master Plan

You want to have a master plan every time you open up your food truck. In order for your food service to go smoothly, repetition is key. Not everything can be planned out perfectly, but you still need a plan. From making sure the fuel is ready, to the ovens or machines you need for your service to be in go mode, to making sure you have all the supplies in advance that you need to fulfill orders. It will take a little time at first to make yourself efficient. Someone in your group has to be good breaking down each process.

Don’t Be Afraid To Work Outside the Master Plan

The next food truck time management skill is don’t be afraid to shift the plan to what works. Having a plan is just a framework to start with. The next thing is to find out what works through action. Don’t be hard on yourself or anyone in your group if everything does not go to plan. Be flexible and constantly change to make things easier as you go through the experience.

Stay Healthy

A clear mind makes clear decisions. It is important to keep yourself healthy at all times when running a food truck. By doing this, you will save time and money, because your decision making will be better. Getting enough sleep and regular exercise away from the business is key. Just an hour or 1/2 hour of exercise is all you need. DO this at least three or four times a week to keep your mind in tack.

Prepare Before Hand

Saving time is all about the preparations. Chopping ingredients and getting the food ready, so that you that you can concentrate on your customers. You do not want to cut corners if you don’t have to. This is also something that you may develop over a short period of time through experience.

Keep Your Finances Organized

Save time by making good financial decisions with your food truck business. Having the finances all organized is the first step. Get an accountant if you can afford it. Try to keep your expenses down. Keep everything as simple as you can without sacrificing quality.

There are always small hidden ways to save time. Time Management is all about preparation, being smart with money, good communication, and always being flexible and willing to change when necessary.

5 Mistakes Most Food Truck Owners Make

Mistakes Food Truck Owners Make

Being drawn to the food trucker business means you’re incredibly passionate about food, hard work and building something of your own. You’re more than willing to work those 10+ hours days to make good food and build a thriving small business. However, it takes more than just sheer effort to make a restaurant on wheels successful. I have known failed food truck owners, and maybe you have too.

So, why do so many food trucks fail? Some of them had fundamental problems, such as the food wasn’t good or the owner wasn’t passionate enough. But many food truck failures are actually the result of strategic mistakes made by someone who didn’t understand this business well enough. I want to share what I consider to be the 5 most common food trucker mistakes so that you can take note, reflect, and hopefully avoid them.

Mistake 1: Not Making Sure The Quality Of Your Food Is Consistently High

Most food truck owners enter the business out of pride in their delicious food. But the excellent dish you make in a small batch in your home kitchen will now have to be recreated in a different environment and at a larger scale. Many food truck owners overlook the importance of developing the recipes and standard procedures needed to deliver the same restaurant-quality food every single time. If customers cannot trust that the quality of your food will be consistently high they’re not going to come back and they’re not going to recommend you to their friends. Each bad meal is a lost opportunity. Food is the heart of your business and you need a system to deliver the highest quality every single time.

Mistake 2: Not Properly Training And Managing Your Employees

Every single aspect of the business, including the quality of the food, is going to be affected by the people you surround yourself with. Although you’re the owner and this is your baby, it’s inefficient to not build a good network of support. People are your most important resource and you need to delegate important tasks to make this dream come true. Make sure you have the right people with you. Employees will often be family and friends but this doesn’t change the importance of training them, communicating with them, and carefully managing their performance.

Mistake 3: Not Having Enough In Savings To Handle A Sudden Emergency

The relatively low costs of opening a food truck business are part of its appeal for many aspiring entrepreneurs. But you can easily find yourself in a crippling situation if you make the mistake of opening the business without enough savings tucked away for emergencies. What will happen if your generator or some important cooking equipment breaks down? You may also just have some lean months while people are still discovering your food. If you don’t have enough in savings to sustain you during these bumps in the road, you’re probably not ready to open that service window yet.

Mistake 4: Not Writing An Actual Business Plan

You may be hard-working and you may know about good food, but do you understand the business side of things? Having common sense is an excellent start but you do need to sit down, look at the larger picture, and create a plan. This writing process forces you to ask and answer 1001 important questions. How much cash do you need each week to manage your inventory? Will you finance large expenses? How? What does the competition look like in your area? What are the top 5 best locations? How much will fuel cost? Many food truck businesses fail because they didn’t have this guidance, couldn’t get an in-depth handle on the business, and did not recover from the factors that had been overlooked.

Mistake 5: Not Taking Advantage Of Social Media

It’s safe to say that you want people to hear about your business, get curious, and then take a stroll over to your service window. Social media is a phenomenal tool, especially since your customers would be more than glad to help you with your marketing. If they like you and you create some interesting content, they’re very likely to “share” it with their friends and family. Neglecting your social media presence is one of the most easily avoided food truck owner mistakes. Your content can be very simple and just feature your food with a lighthearted tone. What matters is that you’re consistent with at least two or three platforms. There’s almost certainly a family member or employee that would enjoy having this task.

What makes the mobile food industry such a bumpy road is that there are so many different factors to navigate. While these food truck owner challenges do require that you pay attention, it’s all part of the great adventure you’re signing up for. Embrace it, enjoy it, and work hard to make all your food trucker dreams come true.

Creative Ideas to Advertise Your Food Truck in 2019

How to Advertise Your Food Truck in 2019

You need customers to run a business. And you won’t get customers if nobody knows who you are. That’s where marketing comes in.

When you run an advertising campaign, you reach out to the people around you. You tell them about yourself and give them a reason to buy your product. It helps to build trust in the consumer; To give them a reason to say yes to your offer.

As a food truck owner, marketing is essential in getting customers to keep coming in.

Starting Out

So you want to know how to run food truck ads. You want to know where to start, “what” to start and how.

The quickest way is with social media. It gives fast results, is easy to do and it’s free. Plus, you probably already have a social media account . With how important networking is, there’s no reason not to have one.

OK, so which one should you use? These days, there are more and more social media platforms popping up all the time. And a lot of them fail no sooner than they started – looking at you, Google+!

Unless you want to waste your time, you need to do some research.

You have to look at your demographics – figure out which platform your customers use. When you know where your customers hang out, it’s easier to know where you need to focus.

Do most of them hang out on Facebook? Twitter? How about Instagram? When you know what to focus on, you can angle your marketing strategy to focus on the best way to get results from that specific platform.

Different sites require different solutions.

Unfortunately, figuring out a strategy isn’t as easy as going to Google and typing in “Ads for food trucker” or “marketing ideas for food trucker”.

You need to get creative.

Using Facebook

A lot of your customers are probably on Facebook. It’s one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. Nearly 2.3 billion active users regularly use the site.

That’s a lot of potential customers.

Of course, most of those will live too far away from you. Others won’t give you any of their attention. But that’s fine. Attracting new users is only one benefit from a social media presence.

What makes social media shine is its ability to get people talking. When you drum up interest, you drum up customers. And how do you drum up interest?

With Facebook it starts with having an active Facebook page. An active page lets you give your customers updates. You give them notifications on your current location. Not just that, being active helps you build a relationship with your community. When you become known in the community, you become the first stop when they’re looking for food.

But you can do more than just give notifications. You can upload videos that shows the world who you are and what your business is. Testimonials from satisfied customers can be used as a way to create trust between the customers and you.

When you’re known as a pillar of the community, people will flock to your truck.

With Facebook you also have the option of targeting specific locations with your ads. In other words, you can use it to get new customers on top of reminding existing ones of your existence.

Still, Facebook isn’t the only social media platform to pay attention to.

Just One Isn’t Enough

Sure, Facebook may be the biggest. That doesn’t mean it should be your only source of online marketing. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest offer just as much benefit if not more.

With Twitter, for example, you can create short marketing blurbs that other people can re-tweet – these blurbs end up spreading throughout the platform, exposing your business to a host of new and potential customers.

Using Instagram, you can showcase the stories that happen behind the scenes of your team. Build a relationship with your followers – show them who you are as a person. When you attach a face to your business, it becomes easier for people to bond with your company.

And with Pinterest? Post pictures of your favorite recipes and the foods you provide. The site recently begun allowing videos so add a quick video to go with it. Show your followers what they are missing out on and make them want more.

When you use social media to put the word out on your business, you create a form of advertising built from the ground up. Today’s world is full of stiffening marketing lingo. Dry and devoid of any life. People have grown to dislike such marketing and social media gives you a way to change it up.

Make people remember you and they’ll keep coming back.

Why Networking is Important for Food Truckers

Food Truck Networking

Most people think running a food truck is very different compared to other jobs. But are they right? Sure, in some ways. Most people don’t exactly spend the entire day making food in a truck. But that’s where the differences end.

At the end of the day, running a food truck is a business. And like any other business, there are certain things you have to do if you want to see sales. And what are these “certain” things?

If you said networking, you’re right. If you want to increase food truck sales, you need to network.

Networking? Why Bother?

Okay, networking. Got it. Now how exactly will talking to other food truckers lead to more sales?

Directly? It wont. But indirectly? That’s where the good stuff is. Those other truckers? They have gone through the exact same problems you have.

Not just the same problems, but problems you didn’t even realize you had. And these problems have given those same owners a truck-load of experience. So if you want more sales, you need to get out there and probe their trucker-brains for information.

And how do you build up your food truck networks? Well, you have to find those other food truckers first.

Social Media: Not Just For Fun

The easiest – and fastest – way is finding other food truck owners through social media. Places like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter make it easy to find other like-minded people.

You’ll be able to ask questions and get answers from other food truckers. Social networks enable you to share your experiences and for others to share theirs. This sharing of information makes it easy to get the answers you need. Answers you might not even know you need.

If you’re lucky, you might even find a mentor.

Social media isn’t the only place to network. Or the best. For that you need to look at where the leaders in the industry are.

Where The Industry Leaders Gather

Industry leaders are at the top for a reason. Their massive amount of experience combined with their skill gives them a perspective that normal people do not have. And the best way to see this perspective is go to conferences.

At food truck conferences, you’ll be able to meet with vendors and other like-mined people. And unlike with social media, it’s a lot easier to find someone whose just as serious about his business as you are.

And who knows, you might just find that one piece of advice that’ll get you to the next level.

Being a food truck owner isn’t easy – and it’s not always like other jobs either. But when you get out there and meet other people, you’re well on your way to being a food trucker networking master.

So get yourself out there and start networking.

How To Stay Motivated As a Food Truck Owner

How To Stay Motivated As a Food Truck Owner

No one has ever become a food trucker because they wanted to take it easy. It’s common knowledge that being successful in this business requires passion, commitment, and a serious work ethic.

While this life can be very rewarding, it’s completely normal to have moments where you’re just worn out and lacking motivation. The daily grind of operations at the truck can be overwhelming all by itself, but the owner also has to manage finances, employees, marketing, and everything else.

A lack of motivation can affect your ability to continue juggling all these responsibilities at the high level that’s needed for a successful business. When you’re feeling this way that means it’s time to step back, take a breath, and find a way to replenish your passion. These are 3 tips for finding your food trucker motivation again.

Take Care Of Yourself, Including Finding The Time To Recharge

A food truck owner is the engine of his business but, as the saying goes, it takes a village. If you’re trying to do too much on your own then you’ll never have time to relax, have a healthy meal, get enough rest, and generally look after your health. A lack of motivation is often the symptom that you’re working too hard and may even be in danger of burnout. You can try to ignore these signs of being overstressed but it will affect you deeply, and that includes taking away your motivation to continue working at that pace.

When you’re hitting a wall it’s time to cut back on your hours or even take a break for a few days. Lean on your employees, family members and friends to help you pick up that slack. Spend that time focused on improving your physical and mental health. Being able to refresh will allow you to come back more energetic, more focused, and better able to meet the demands of running a food truck.

Get Out Of Your Head And Make A Human Connection

The pressures of managing a food trucker business can get in the way of appreciating the people around you, whether they are customers, employees, or any family members that are helping you out. When you find yourself slogging through your day, take a moment to connect with others. Talk to your costumers, especially the regulars, to get feedback from them about why they like your food.

Sharing a few minutes of friendly conversation can be meaningful and can remind you that you entered this business at least partly so that people would enjoy your food. You can also motivate yourself by motivating your employees. Take the time to express gratitude and positivity for all their efforts. A business is like a small universe in the sense that it affects many lives. Reminding yourself of the human dimension of the food truck can help reignite your passion for being a success.

Revisit Your Motivation For Wanting To Start The Business In The First Place

If you’ve lost the spark for your business, try to seek inspiration from your own story. Remember all the significant milestones you’ve been through in getting your food truck on the road and thriving. There’s no greater food truck owner motivation than to reflect on how you overcame some of the many challenges that came your way. Why did you have this dream in the first place? It may have been that you wanted financial independence, to be your own boss, to share your food with others or to feel the pride of building a flourishing business. Looking back is a great way to regain perspective and get inspired to keep working hard for your future goals.

No matter how success-driven you are, it’s not possible to be motivated every single day. The key is to maintain a positive mindset and keep rediscovering your passion for your business. While the food trucker lifestyle has its challenges, you chose this life for a reason. Take pride in your accomplishments and continue doing your best every day.

Welcome to StationEats

There is not much going on here yet, but things are about to change. StationEats is on its way of becoming the number 1 spot to learn about starting a food truck.

We know that the first steps can be difficult, so we see it as part of our mission to support you.

On StationEats we’ll teach you things like:

  • The first steps to getting started with your food truck
  • Ideal and less ideal ways of pricing your food items
  • Marketing your business, both online and locally
  • How to hire employees when you really need to
  • and much more