Supplemental Income: How to Expand Your Restaurant With a Food Truck (And Why You Should)

photo of a grilled wrap on a plate on display in front of a sign reading "chicken, spinach, feta cheese"

Photo: Freepik

If you serve it from a truck, they’ll eat it!

It’s true and the numbers prove it. In 2017, food trucks in U.S. cities brought in an estimated $2 billion-plus in revenue. And that market is only going to continue expanding—the industry projects significant growth well into 2020.

If you’ve thought about adding a food truck to your restaurant business, this year could be your year. Still need convincing?

If you’re already in the restaurant business, adding one more element is relatively easy and it’s a way you can increase revenue for your overall business investment.

Here’s how you do it.

The Food Truck of Your Dreams

Beyond a beautiful truck with your logo plastered all over it, your truck must do the job of serving customers quickly.

Efficiency equals success in the mobile food industry. Unlike the customers in your restaurant, food truck customers don’t have time for a full-service sit-down dining experience.

Determine your needs and don’t waffle when it comes to your final purchase. You’ll find a wide range of options but go for the truck that gives you solid performance and doesn’t cut corners.

Your food truck is the backbone of your mobile food venture. Don’t skimp on it.

Don’t be shocked when you take delivery of your truck in a plain vanilla wrapper. You’ll trick it out with the elements of your brand: paint, lighting, and your logo.

Go for Brand Recognition

One reason restaurant owners branch out into the mobile retail food market is that it’s another marketing strategy for the brick and mortar restaurant.

Your truck is a rolling advertisement for your restaurant. It’s also a great marketing tool if you offer catering as another extension of your restaurant business.

Take that plain white truck and make it yours by having it professionally wrapped with a design to complement your brand and showcase your logo. If you plan on serving food at night, install lights on the outside. Make the truck customer-friendly and make it stand out in the crowd.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the truck itself is the only advertising you need. Use social media to let your customers know where you’ll be each day. Post photos of your signature menu items and your daily special.

You may start out on this adventure with the sole purpose of marketing your restaurant and converting mobile food customers to restaurant visitors. Don’t be surprised when you find out how profitable a food truck can be.

And just like with your restaurant customers, it’s about building relationships.

It’s All About the Customers

Foodies want the next best thing in cuisine but aren’t interested in going the distance to find it. You bring your food to the foodies and you’ve just shortened the distance between you and your next loyal customer.

That said, they still want an experience. Of course, you can’t give them the candlelight or the sizzling fajita plate delivered to their table by a waiter in a mariachi suit.

Instead of using the same gimmicky methods as restauranteurs have used for years, you can provide your customers with something even better—building meaningful relationships with local business. Adding a food truck to your restaurant business means you can engage with your customers in ways you can’t in your restaurant.

For one thing, you’re face-to-face with them for the entire transaction from order placement to handing them their meal.

Because customers can watch while you prepare their meal, they feel like the experience is more personalized than what they get while eating in your restaurant. They get to know first-hand the ingredients you use and how you cook with them.

They get to know you!

A lot of customers enjoy the personal side of these types of interactions. Who knows, you may even win over some lifelong fans who will keep coming back again and again.

Ready for Opening Day?

Growing your brand is one excellent reason for adding a mobile piece to your restaurant business. Adding revenue is another good one.

While this is not a comprehensive how-to for adding a food truck to your restaurant business, hopefully we’ve sparked your interest.

If you’re ready for the next step, building the food truck of your dreams, contact us today for a mobile kitchen quote request. We’d love to help you jumpstart your next adventure.