Hopefully, you have read PART ONE and have written your detailed business plan; as well as PART TWO, which maps out the financial plan for your food truck business. Now, for part three of this series, it’s time to start your action plan with a step-by-step walk-through of starting your business.
This is a comprehensive list to help you get your food truck business started:
Identify your target market:
- Choose your menu based on your target clientele. If you choose menu items that are popular amongst your customers in your chosen location, you should have better success.
- Do research, plan ahead, distribute surveys and identify your competition to make sure you are prepared for your new food truck business.
Make your brand unique:
- Create a logo or a slogan to help your customers identify your individual brand. This logo or slogan will help your brand to be seen and heard through several outlets including the internet reviews, word-of-mouth, and social media accounts.
Plan your menu:
- After doing research, apply your findings from your target market customer surveys and plan the menu accordingly.
Purchasing your food truck:
- Research the type of truck that you need for your food truck business. Consult with experts to find the best truck to purchase for your needs. Stay within your budget.
- Keep in mind that it’s best not to skimp on the necessities and required equipment for your specifications. It’s suggested to have the food truck outfitted with everything you need/want in the beginning to prevent dissatisfaction with your overall purchase. A resource to start with would be Gorilla Fabrication located in South Carolina.
- Research and gather all required state/city/county permits or licenses for the specific location(s) for your food truck business.
Acquire vendors for your supplies:
- Research and sign up with different vendors to secure the best price for product supplies for your business. This will help to keep your expenses within budget.
Set up business accounts:
- Set up business bank accounts and business credit card accounts. Think about which cards or bank accounts that you want to set up with each vendor and proceed.
- If you are planning to have employees, interview and hire the qualified people that you need to fill the positions.
- Begin to train your new staff. Keep in mind to take the appropriate time to train them well. This training of staff needs to be added to your files to document expenses for overhead costs.
Purchase starting inventory:
- Contact vendors and begin to purchase inventory. Keep fresh product inventory documented in your inventory checklist to eliminate wasting product. This also helps you to stay within your allotted budget and business plan.
Advertise and marketing:
- Long before your grand opening, spread the word about your new food truck business. Begin by advertising, promote locally and online. Invite local customers to your opening celebration.
Open your food truck business:
- You’re now open for business. Keep track of everything. Just remember that this is your dream and all your hard work has paid off.
Things to Consider
The comprehensive list sounds easy, but it’s a start. It’s a good breakdown of the basic steps required to get your food truck business off the ground. It is suggested that you focus on making a list and checking off each task that you accomplish. This will set you on the path to your goal.
Starting a food truck business entails dedication and commitment to each individual step and task in order to get everything done in order to succeed. There are inherent risks that may occur if steps are skipped. This will cause delays and set-backs. Each obstacle that you encounter will cost money.
Finding a Mechanic
Take your time and do it right. One of the most common obstacles that you may face is vehicle repairs. Before you need one, find a reputable mechanic who will do good work while keeping your expenses within reason.
It is smart to research and locate a local mechanic with experience and knowledge long before you open your business. This mechanic should be qualified in food trucks to do the repairs. This research will save time and money later down the road.
Buying in Bulk
A good money-saving tip to keep food costs down is to buy in bulk whenever possible. Keep in mind, if you are using all fresh ingredients and are choosing new products each and every day that you may run into a hassle of availability and costs. If it is necessary to purchase the food each day, then do so. But, if possible, purchase ingredients that will not spoil before use in bulk to help stay in budget.
Special Events and Functions
For additional income, you might want to consider becoming a vendor for special events and functions. If you haven’t networked within the local business community, it would be a good time to contact them to make the connections.
Catering special events and functions helps to promote and advertise your food truck business. Word of mouth is one of the best advertisements available. Providing excellent customer service, leaving your business cards, and asking for your clients to provide feedback and online reviews can help market your business.
Advertising and Social Media
Another way to promote your business and to get new catering jobs for special events and functions is to advertise on social media. You can potentially reach millions of people through social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
There are also other avenues of advertising at your disposal. Post specialized menus, even if it’s the classics. Advertise special interactive events, allow your customers to vote on their favorite menu items. You can have them name new menu items through contests as well. These are just some suggestions of some of the different ways you can find opportunities to promote and advertise your food truck business online to get new catering jobs.
Growing Your Business
It’s important to market your business for as long as the business is open. Even if you have a good, solid, local following; it is always in your best interest to continue to grow. Create a logo or a slogan and place it on all your items.
Selling promotional items, such as t-shirts, shorts, buttons, stickers, coffee mugs, pens, bottle openers and aprons etc., will help your logo reach a larger audience. The more recognition you get, the easier it will be to approach larger vendors and grocery stores to see if they are willing to sell your products.
It’s sometimes easier to market if you specialize in one type of food. For example, selling Mexican food, subs/hoagies, pizza and other favorites can appeal to a large part of the local community. If you do choose a specialty, then stay with it. There’s a risk to switching up the menu. On the one hand, it could appeal to a wider audience, but at the same time, it may cause confusion and customers may not return.
Get to Know Your Customers
Get to know your customers; word of mouth is a great advertisement. It’s good to be personable. You don’t need to be working behind the counter or at the grill to interact with customers. The opportunity to meet the owner of a food truck business is an attraction to many people. When customers find out that you are interesting, smart and charismatic, they will remember your food truck and will tell their friends. Word of mouth is a powerful advertisement.
You’ve taken the time to get the truck you want, stocked it with all the proper equipment and necessities that you need for your new food truck business. You’ve hired your employees, and you’ve begun to advertise. Remember to make your business unique. Be aware of your competition in your local market.
Remember your checklists. Mark off each task as you complete them. Research and be prepared. Keep to your budget and your business plan.
There will be plenty for you to do and many roles you will likely have to fulfill. Your food truck business will require a lot of attention and determination. This is your dream. You have put forth all the time and effort into getting your food truck business off the ground. Before you know it, you will have everything set in motion, your business will be up and running on the fast track to success.
If you have any more questions about starting a food truck business please CONTACT EntreDot to get proven business advice on how to proceed.