6 Tips For Food Truck Winter Survival
Our friends at Webstaurant put together this great article for Food Truckers to survive the winter season.
Here in the Northeast, the cold is beginning to set in as the seasons shift from fall to winter. While most customers are willing to stand in line for your food truck’s tasty creations during the mild autumn weather, you may begin to notice a decline in business as temperatures drop. Follow some of the tips below to reap some extra profit from these colder, slower months.
What Are Your Strengths?
Whether you bake the best cupcakes in town or have exceptional customer service, it’s important to recognize what makes your food truck unique. Finding out what makes your truck special is the key to figuring out what your winter strategy will be.
How Are Other Food Trucks in Your Area Preparing?
One of the best things about the food truck industry is the strong sense of community among owners. Talk to your fellow truckers to find out what they plan on doing in the winter months. This could provide you with additional ideas and inspiration as to what decisions your business should make.
Talk to Your Guests
Since your guests are the ones waiting in line for your food, talk to them and find out what you could offer that would make braving the freezing temperatures worth the wait. This can be done simply by having a conversation with your regulars or by sending out a survey via email or paper and offering an incentive for completing it.
6 Tips to Preparing for the Winter
1. Look Out for Your Employees
Your customers aren’t going to be the only ones exposed to the winter elements. Employees make a lasting impression on new and returning guests, so it’s necessary that they’re comfortable and happy during these colder times. While your employees may be feeling the warmth from different appliances inside your truck, they’re still going to feel the chill from the winter air. Consider outfitting your crew with some branded winter gear like coats and hats, or ask them for their suggestions on other ways to keep the truck warm and comfortable to work in.
2. Consider Catering
One way that people can still have your delicious burritos, burgers, and other food items is by using your food truck at catered events. From weddings and holiday parties to school dances and birthdays, there are many opportunities for your business to serve up your signature food items. Since there are a few differences between running your food truck and a catering company, it’s important to research what additional skills you and your employees will need to learn before offering these services.
3. Take Your Truck to Local Events
While events in the winter months aren’t as plentiful as they are in the summer and spring, that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. Local gatherings like winter carnivals, tree lightings, and holiday showcases can be valuable business opportunities as they generally draw in hungry and thirsty crowds that are looking for something to eat on-site. You should also find out if neighboring towns and cities host monthly events like “First” or “Fourth Fridays”, since this will also bring in large groups of people despite the cold temperatures.
4. Partner with Local Businesses
One way you can boost the number of customers at your food truck is to team up with a local bar or restaurant and sell to their customers. For example food trucks that offer savory items like tacos and barbecue are a perfect fit for bars that don’t serve food. Trucks that serve sweeter options like cupcakes and crepes should look for restaurants and cafes that don’t have any dessert options on their menu. However, you should learn the local laws in your area before partnering with another business because there could be restrictions.
5. Add Seasonal Options
The weather outside may be frightful, but that doesn’t mean your guests shouldn’t be feeling delightful. Offering customers seasonal dishes like Thanksgiving-dinner-themed burritos and crepes or warm peppermint drinks will lure guests to your truck. Some trucks have even found it beneficial to sell items like mittens and gloves at a low price for guests to stay cozy while they chow down.
6. Find a Regular Stop
When your truck isn’t traveling from one event to the other, you should have a go-to stationary spot to sell your goods. This will save you time trying to find a new daily spot and will give you a more consistent routine that will provide your business with a steady stream of sales. Try talking to local businesses to find out if they’d be willing to let you park your truck in their lot at lunch time. If they’re interested, offer some incentives like a free soda with meal or discounted menu items for their employees.
Instead of closing your truck or falling into a slow period during the colder months, try using some of our tips so your business can stay steady all year long. Also, don’t forget to stock up on all your food truck supplies like serving utensils and paper food trays.