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Your food truck is popular, your menu is perfect, and you have your go-to locations – but have you considered trying out a food truck festival? A food festival is a great opportunity to grow your customer base, generate revenue, try out new menu items, and expand your business.
Here is how to best take advantage of food truck festivals and stand out from the competition.
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How to stand out from the crowd
Keep up with current trends
What consumer trends make a food truck successful? The food truck industry is constantly evolving, and a food truck festival is the perfect place to keep up with current trends and try something new.
Plant-based and vegan options, CBD drinks, charcuterie boards, and salmon and rice bowls all thrived in 2021 – what will the 2022 food truck trends be? Stay up to date with food industry trends, and consider trying them out at the next festival. Part of what makes food trucks so fun and exciting to run is that you have more flexibility than traditional brick-and-mortar locations.
Redesign your truck
When you’re serving at food truck festivals or food truck fairs, your customers have dozens of choices. We eat with our eyes first, and the look of your truck is a huge part of attracting potential customers – so it’s important to get the design right, even if that means spending more money getting going.
Your colors, logo, and overall food truck vibe will be what your customers come to associate with your food, so the design is about more than just attracting hungry diners. Bright colors, clear design concepts, and an appealing logo all work together to create a cohesive look and brand.
Change up (or scale down) your menu
Food trucks already generally work off of smaller menus and a more focused concept, due to smaller kitchens and sometimes working out of a shared space to cook and prep. Take this to the next step, and maximize your revenue and efficiency by building a minimum viable menu (or an MVM) – a condensed menu that balances popular and profitable items. This smaller, more efficient menu allows you to only sell the items that are both easy to sell and cost-effective to make, meaning you’re working both efficiently and profitably, keeping both costs and wait-times down.
Consider changing out your menu every couple of months or every couple of festivals as well, or creating an exclusive item that is seasonally available. Creating an air of exclusivity is a great way to attract customers to different festivals, daring them to try out different items at each one. Keep pricing in mind as well, making sure to strike a balance between affordability and profits.
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Partner with local businesses
Cross-promote your food truck with other local businesses that might be attending the same festival. Consider working with other food trucks that offer complimentary items, like coffee with your pastries, or beer with your pizza.
Many food trucks also work with breweries or bars to offer food to these drinks-only establishments, so take advantage of this customer base. Pass out fliers for local festivals to bar patrons, and remind those customers that they can find you at other locations as well.
Create a killer marketing plan for your food truck
Attract and retain food truck customers through a strong restaurant branding strategy. Use a restaurant marketing strategy, and particularly a social media strategy, to promote your food truck, generate sales, and let all potential customers know that you’ll be at the festival.
Your strategy should include updates to where and when it will be around, quality photos and videos of your amazing food, and promotion of user-generated content from your best customers, and of course, event-specific hashtags. You can also partner with influencers to spread the word further. Learn more about restaurant social media marketing with Toast’s Guide to Restaurant Social Media Marketing, here.
Key food truck marketing methods that are a must-have for food trucks include:
Creating an optimized, up-to-date food truck website
Social media, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok
Email marketing and loyalty programs
Promotional texts via SMS
Grow your customer relationships
As you develop your marketing and promotional plans, keep customer relationship management at the forefront of your business. Any customer that makes a purchase at your business has a 60% chance of becoming a repeat customer, so cultivating these relationships is imperative to a restaurant's success.
Even more, according to The White House Office of Consumer Affairs, acquiring new customers is 6-7x more expensive than retaining old ones. Essentially, keeping customers is not only helpful in creating a healthy brand, but also about financial health. And, of course, this is important for attracting existing customers to your food truck festival.
An integrated CRM (customer relationship management) platform is essential for attracting those repeat customers. Learn more about how to do this for your food truck here.
Streamline your ordering process
To attract and retain a strong customer base, make sure your service is top-notch. This starts with your ordering processes and technology. Invest in food truck technology that allows you to get orders out quickly and with little hassle from your already busy food truck team.
Things like handhelds, kitchen display systems, and self ordering kiosks make this process as streamlined and possible. And of course, make sure your point of sale (POS) system is designed specially for food trucks.
The next big hit
Bringing your food truck business to festivals is an exciting step, allowing you the opportunity to expand your customer base, grow your business, and try new things. For more food truck content, check out these resources.