5 Mistakes Most 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.