Now more than ever, as the world emerges from COVID-inspired lockdown, food truck owners need solid, smart marketing to entice customers to resume food-truck dining at large. As you take this unprecedented opportunity to get back out there and claim your corner of the market, literally and figuratively, implement as many of the following pivotal tips to rope in those customers and keep them coming back for more.
As a food truck owner, one of your main unique selling propositions is likely the food and beverages you prepare. Many trucks offer highly niched products: for example, there are cupcake trucks, crab cake trucks, macaroni and cheese trucks, and coffee trucks. Typically, these trucks offer a variety of flavors of one dish or beverage. Other trucks focus on regional specialties or even fusion cuisine.
The way your food looks to customers and prospective customers may well be the single most important factor in whether or not they make a purchase.
Whether it's on the counter, on a placard slapped onto your truck or your online and offline advertisements, how your food looks sends a message to customers of what to expect if they make that purchase. That message may include aspects of flavor, ingredient-quality, health benefits, safety and satisfaction, among other value propositions. Some ways to convey those messages include with unique, original, eye-popping toppings or sides and clean, attractive and inventive containers.
Learn how to prepare and present your food for visual appeal and aesthetic impact, and learn how to take high-quality professional photos and videos of your food, or prepare to hire a professional to take them for you.
As more people spend greater portions of their time online compared to out in the world, successful businesses of almost any type, including yours, need to shift their marketing focus from offline channels, like billboards and bus placards, to online channels, like search engines, social media and food service and information sites and blogs.
Web Design and Development
Along these lines, now may also be a good time to reassess your website, if you already have one, and develop one, if you haven't. There's no way to establish greater credibility on the internet than with your own website. But it has to be a good website. Take the time and, if necessary, spend the money on expert assistance to make sure your website is not only attractive, easy to navigate and accurate in representing your business and brand but also current and modern. This means:
- Updating it regularly with fresh, relevant content
- Ensuring your menu always stays accurate in reflecting both your choices and prices
- Incorporating the services that people expect from a food vendor with an online presence, like to order online and pickup in person, support for payment apps like Square CashApp, Google Pay and Apple Pay, and one-click social media sharing capabilities
- Improving the branding on the site, incorporating it in more ways into the site's look and feel
- The ability to contact you using the communication channels your customers use, like text messaging, live chat and communication apps like WhatsApp
Also given current conditions, adding more clear and detailed food health and safety information to your site, including any certifications you hold or inspections you've passed, may be wise.
Social Media Marketing
Must-haves for your social media presence nowadays include:
- Clear and vivid photos of your food
- Opportunities for your customers to post their own pics and vids of them enjoying your food
- Ways for customers to leave testimonials and reviews
- Clear contact information and directions, with a detailed map showing your location(s)
- Frequent and enticing deals and promotions
Food Truck Apps
In the enduring aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, many people may still be cautious about getting back to life as normal. Some may not even be prepared to get outside and return to working on-premises, let alone patronize a food truck. That may be true even as people start rebuilding trust in businesses like yours.
You, therefore, have a ripe opportunity to tailor some of your marketing to target this niche population. The way to do that is with one or more food truck apps. Take a look at what’s available to see which business models suit your needs and which ones best serve your area. Sign up with one or more of these apps to have your food hand-delivered to those people interested in eating your food but still anxious about buying it directly in person from your food truck.
Then, once you've signed up, don't stop there. Incorporate this option into all your marketing, wherever relevant and appropriate, and even consider marketing in new channels where you can focus on this subsidiary element of your main business. Fortunately, these food apps tend to offer an abundance of blogs, tutorials, tips and trainings to help you maximize your results using their platforms and services.
In the world post-COVID, which locations are the best locations to set up a food truck may have changed. Big office buildings or outside subway and train stations where scads of people can be expected to enter and exit all day may no longer be as bustling when many workers now are working from home under either imposed or optional conditions.
Places where you may more likely anticipate potential customers in and with at least similar if not greater abundance and frequency include:
- Medical and health care facilities
- Public parks, riverside paths, wharfs and other public outdoor recreation areas
- Big box stores like home building and furnishing supply stores and grocery stores
- College campuses
Above all, be prepared to adapt and adjust your marketing strategies according to what modern times demand.