Having been in the food truck vendor for many years, I’ve seen many struggles, failures and success. I’ve seen lots of common issues but if you are able to scale through the startup mistakes you can find success. Here are 7 of the most common food truck startup mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. Questioning yourself
The very first of the startup mistake is to question yourself so much. Experiencing difficulties in starting a food truck business is almost inevitable, most especially because of the uncertainty involved in planning your mobile food business. You can easily begin to doubt yourself when the food business challenges begin to pop up, but it is advisable that you stay on track and maintain your ideas. If you can’t be so confident about your food truck business, why would anyone else be?
In most cases being so over confident can get you into trouble but you should be confident enough that your concept has the potential to make a huge difference in your local community. Whenever doubts pop up in your mind, always remind yourself that you are not the first to start the food truck business and you won’t be the last. If others manage to be successful there should not be a reason for you not to.
2. To take on too much
This is applicable to every business. You should always maintain and keep your food truck’s growth at a pace you are very confident about, never push for quick growth when you know it can’t sensibly happen. This mean you should always have a food truck business plan in place before you begin the business, so as to remain guided and on track. If you have a solid plan for the growth of your business with measurable goals, you will be certain if you are heading for the right direction or wrong. If you are aware of your limitations as a new food truck business owner you will quickly and easily get to the top in the business.
3. Not having a social media presence
It is always a good feeling to see a new food truck business owner avoid building a social media presence. This is a good medium to reach out to potential customers, yet many food truck owners find it hard and take long to join the race. There are lots of social media platforms out there but you should at least have a business presence in the most popular once.
You have to create an account for your business and utilize each platform to engage potential customers. However, you should be very consistence in doing this and always provide value for your customers. This two things are very important if you want to grow your business online presence. Not having a social media presence is one of the greatest mistakes anyone can make at this point in the evolution of the mobile food business.
4. Don’t expect everything to be handed to you
Starting a food truck business and being a food truck owner requires you to get help from others. No one in history has built a food truck business empire alone, so feel free to seek help but don’t feel relaxed and expect everything you need to be giving to you. More work is requires in starting a food business and a very strong work ethic is mandatory.
5. Not listening to others
Just as I explained earlier that you have to do a lot and not expect everything be giving to you, it is an obvious mistake to try to do everything on your own. You need a mentor, even if you have no idea who that will be, just keep networking, reach out to people and make connections with other people in your local food truck community. It is easy to build a wealth of knowledge and insight of how to manage and run the business over time.
6. Giving a discount that is too high or too low
Giving discount is an awesome way to increase your short term sales and also to attract some new customers. Giving coupons can produce a great result but it can also hurt a food truck business badly if done the wrong way. If you run discount too much, you will easily attract new customers and at the same time easily turn the old ones away. This can also devalue your food truck business by giving people the impression that your business might be in trouble.
Listed below are few tips on how to properly use discounts:
- Give out coupons only during slow parts of the year
- Always use a punch card
- Use a loyalty reward program
- Create the type of discounts that offers free drinks, side dishes and desserts when a customer purchases a meal
- rather than discounting the entire meal.
7. Underestimating the cost of food truck
You may underestimate some costs when planning a food truck budget, some might even be forgotten completely. This costly mistake can jeopardize the future of your food truck business. A vendor has to take cost into account when planning the budget for the food truck. If you will need to hire staff members, your estimate cost should cover their salaries as well as all the equipment they will require to effectively carry out their respective duties. This should include their uniforms, cooking tools, equipment and many more. Food truck business is a very lucrative business but it requires hard work on your path especially when you are starting out.
Image by Paul Sableman