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Marketing Your Food Truck

by Alan@tbftr.com 20. February 2015 08:00

There is a phrase in the marketing world that says, “When you are talking to everybody, you are talking to no one.” This phrase reminds marketers that, to be successful, you MUST know your audience. You have to know who is going to by your product, where they are, and how you are going to reach them. The message and method a marketer would use to reach the large population of retired Florida residents would not be the same as the message and methods needed to reach the thousands of college students in the college towns across the state. Even if both groups are interested in attending the same event, the means of attracting them to it will be different. The same principle applies to setting up a food truck, as well as marketing it going forward.

 Marketing Your Food Truck

When setting up a food truck, you have to keep the same marketing principles in mind. Having multiple cuisines and a smorgasbord of menu items in hopes of reaching everyone will only serve to confuse your brand’s message and leave you reaching no one. Having approximately five to six items that are laser focused towards one cuisine will clearly define your truck’s branding and, thus, allow you to reach a specific client.

 

If someone steps up to a cheesesteak truck for example, they are anticipating having a cheesesteak, or at the very least, a cheesesteak variation of some sort- not a taco or ice cream or pizza. So, how does having tacos, ice cream, or pizza on a cheesesteak truck benefit your business? It doesn’t. Sure, you may sell the occasional item, but in the end, it will end up hurting your business and your brand because your message is not clear to the consumer and you are most likely wasting time on marketing items that won’t sell, but even worse it wont propel your brand forward. This will likely leave customers walking away confused rather than excited about the experience they just had. That will, of course affect the success and profitability of your business.

 

While the marketing of your brand may not affect the consumer directly, the turn around time on their order does. Having five or six core items that you specialize in and are able to have prepped will ensure you are able to prepare each customer’s meal in an efficient and timely manner. There is nothing more beneficial to the marketing of a brand than a satisfied customer that will go home and tell their friends and Facebook! 

How to start a food truck business


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Choosing The Right Food Truck For Business

by Alan@tbftr.com 17. February 2015 08:57

You’ve been told your recipes are amazing and you should have a food truck. You have a passion for food and have dreamt of being able to make money cooking for people. You have thought about starting your own food truck and have started hitting the local bookstores to read up on the subject. You think having recipes that please the masses is the tricky part, and as long as you have that down you will be a success. NOT SO FAST!

Just like everything else, running a food truck is very much a business and cooking is just a fraction of it. It is a very important fraction- but, a fraction nonetheless. Understanding the in and outs of the business needs of running a food truck is vital to your success. Changing a recipe is much easier than changing your truck for example. Understanding what type of truck, what condition your truck should be in, and not just purchasing the most affordable truck on the market are all things that need to be thoughtfully planned out before making the biggest investment of your business. Consider the following:Food Trucks For Sale

  • The maintenance and general history of the vehicle. Whoever is selling the vehicle should be able to give detailed information on any maintenance performed. When you drop $2,000.00 on transmission work, you don’t forget that. So make sure they provide you with records.
  • Check the cleanliness of the hood and areas not easy to clean (those pesky crevasses behind the stove, counters etc.). It could mean someone just gave it a really good deep clean prior to showing it, or it could mean you find out how serious they were about caring for the truck.
  • Review the condition of equipment, generator and electrical. All of these items can hit you hard in the pocketbook if they crop up on you at the beginning of your new food truck adventure.
  • Take a strong look at the surface of the truck, and how many crazy cracks and hardware are on the outside of the truck. Once wrapped will there be a smooth surface for vinyl to lay flat on? Will there be so many seams in your wrap that a custom paint job would make more sense?
  • Consider the size of the truck and work area. If you plan on reworking the truck, don’t assume things like, “I have a freezer that would work great,” but you don’t realize you can’t actually get the freezer in the truck because it’s too tall. If you plan on running your truck at large events and want to staff 4 people, an 18ft truck is not your friend, you are going to need something bigger.
  • Bonus: Should you buy a truck or a trailer? You can finance a trailer with a builder but not likely the case with a truck unless it’s a build over 50k. Trucks always sell more, are more convenient and have a higher resale value.

While books are handy references, they can only offer so much. Experience is the best teacher, and there is no replacement for learning from those who understand the ins and outs of the business, having an open forum to discuss things, listening to the questions of others who are considering the same adventure, and networking with those who are (or are going to be) in the same business as yourself. Before embarking on your food truck adventure, be sure to attend our food truck seminar and get started in the right direction!

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Food Truck Rally Fan Interview

by Alan@tbftr.com 10. February 2015 07:52

There is no question as to the popularity of food truck rallies and the growth of the industry as a whole. The number of trucks, rallies, the popularity of food truck related features on television (there are entire shows now based on the food truck industry), and the ability of many food truck entrepreneurs to turn their trucks into full time, profitable businesses, speak to booming nature of mobile cuisine. But why? Why are foodies flocking to these events around the Tampa area (and around the country for that matter)? Tampa Bay Food Trucks interviewed a food truck fan to get the scoop!

Tampa Food Truck Fan 

“When did you first discover Food Trucks?”

It really started after I returned from living in China for a year. Street food is extremely popular there – and often better than the restaurants! It was definitely more affordable than the restaurants. I would always get my morning noodles and warm soybean milk in the morning from this nice old lady who always treated her loyal foreigner customer extra special. It really opened my mind to “less-than-traditional” eating.

 

“What do you enjoy most about Food Trucks?”

I’d say it’s a tie between the variety and the value. I am a huge fan of authentic cuisine from a wide variety of cultures from Thai to Mexican. I can almost always find something to satisfy my craving for the night- whatever it may be. More so, I am usually on a pretty tight budget so eating at an authentic restaurant can be more than I can afford. A food truck is a wonderfully affordable alternative. Best of both worlds!

 

“If you had to pick one thing to eat, what would it be?”

If I had to pick just one thing to eat, I would go for anything fusion. That’s how I cook. I love blending flavors, ingredients, and different cuisines. There are several food trucks that are amazing at doing that. So, when you have to pick just one (which, in reality you don’t have to with a food truck rally), my advice is to go fusion!

 

Is there anything you feel is missing from the rallies?”

Other than a seeing more of them on the schedule, not really. It would be great to see more of them in the middle of the week, to help with those middle of the week, “hump-day” blues. 

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Valentines Day Activities

by Alan@tbftr.com 6. February 2015 09:53

Valentines Day is right around the corner…and on a Saturday nonetheless. Clearly, this year’s Valentines Day is leaving no excuse for planning the perfect date day and/or night. The excitement of a Food Truck Rally is the perfect choice to spend your Valentines Day. Here are some tips for creating a great food truck date:

 Valentines Day

  1. Check out some of our events for Saturday like the Wounded Warrior Walk or the Color Guard Percussion Competition. If you want a more of a relaxed environment, try Cigar City Brewing. More information can be found on our event schedule and decide which event you are going to attend.
  2.  Get there early! Our events attract very large crowds of people and the lines can get pretty long. Be sure to get there right when the event starts!
  3. Bring chairs! Seating can be scarce at a food truck event so be sure to bring your own fold up chairs (or maybe even a blanket if you want to make it a more romantic, picnic type atmosphere).
  4. Bring a sense of adventure! One of the reasons food trucks have become the “IT” thing in dining is because the food is far from ordinary! It’s a special occasion so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experiment.
  5. Be sure to bring some cash! Most of our trucks have the ability to process debit and credit cards, but unfortunately, you never know when technology may fail. Expect to pay around $10 per meal so the smaller the bills the better!
  6. Don’t forget the romantic touches! The classic romantic touches never go out of style. So, don’t forget to include the flowers, the gift, and a romantic playlist on your iPod.

 

Valentines Day can be filled with tons of clichés and the same old boring dates. Why not step out of the box and make it a unique evening that neither of you will forget?! This year, ditch the expensive, stuffy, dimly lite restaurant with the same old menu and join one of our events for a fun, exciting, adventurous evening with that special someone in your life! 

Why A Food Truck Seminar?

by Alan@tbftr.com 4. February 2015 08:32

Earlier this month, in the blog post Food Truck Startup we mentioned the Food Truck Startup Seminar and what anyone considering their own truck should take into consideration. This week, we talked to Michael Blasco, The CEO (Chief Eating Officer) of Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally for a little more insight into the seminar: 

1) What was the inspiration behind starting the seminars? 

Those looking to start a truck had no place to go for information on starting a truck, and everyone seemed to have questions. They needed help.

2) What is the intended audience for the seminar? 

The seminar is for anyone considering starting a food truck.Michael Blasco

3) What does a typical agenda for the seminar consist of? What can an attendee expect? 

There are many facets to the business, but we break it down into four sections: 1) Overview of a Food Truck Business 2) Branding your Business 3) Insurance 4) Marketing and Operations of your Business.

4) Should an attendee bring anything with them? 

They just need to bring themselves- we will even provide them with a pen and an agenda to take notes on. They also need to come unfed so they can enjoy the fare of a local food truck for our dinner break at 7.

5) What (if anything) should they expect to leave with? They will leave with way more information about the food truck industry than they came with.

6) How often are the seminars held annually? Every six weeks on Sunday nights from 5-9 pm.

 

Also, if you are not in the Tampa area, do not be discouraged! The seminar will be streamed online so you can attend remotely in addition to those who will be attending in person and have the exact same experience (well, except for the food truck fare at the dinner break of course). So, if you are interested in attending, be sure to register today!

Top Ten Food Trucks to Start in 2015

by Alan@tbftr.com 31. January 2015 10:55

Most often, foodies are drawn to food truck rallies because they offer a wide variety of cuisines in one location. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of having their favorite Asian, BBQ, taco, sandwich, and dessert shop all together for one-stop eating? Of course it’s a food lovers dream come true every single week! But, believe it or not, there is an opportunity for MORE variety in the variety! As the food truck industry grows by leaps and bounds each year, there is a need to expand into different culinary genres and offer an even more diverse smorgasbord of tasty dishes.

For example, did you know that some of the most popular comfort foods such as classic grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, or macaroni and cheese are some of the hardest to come by amongst our food trucks? Or, did you know that that there is a large request for fry trucks and Middle Eastern cuisine? If you run a grilled cheese food truck, make magic with Indian food, can cook couscous dishes and hummus with the best of them, or offer a unique spin on a classic dish of macaroni and cheese, the Bay area needs you!

Here the top 10 Food Trucks needed for the Tampa area:

Top Ten Food Trucks to Start
  • Greek Cuisine
  • Mac N Cheese
  • Middle Eastern Cuisine - Kebabalicous and Middle Peace Bus coming to a rally near you soon! (2/23/15) 
  • Pizza
  • Fry Truck - Heard rumors a poutine truck is on the way but nothing confirmed (2/23/15)
  • Indian - Coming in Marchish - The Twisted Indian - (2/23/15)
  • German- Heard rumors on this too but nothing confirmed(2/23/15)
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Bacon Everything (seats taken - The Bacon Boss - (Josh and his team have been planning this since late last year, they attended on seminar and thy'll be hitting the streets soon! 2/17/15) 
  • Pho Truck

The top 5 we don’t need:

  • Tacos
  • BBQ
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheesesteaks
  • Spanish
**Note this food truck list was created in 2015. Since 2015 the industry has changed drastically, and cuisine demand has shifted. Wondering what food trucks are serving what in your area? Do some research! You can also ask this question at the next food truck seminar.**

If you have ever thought of running your own food truck and are interested in helping us bring pizza, grilled cheese, Middle Eastern, or mac-n-cheese to the Bay Area, we want to hear from you. We have the ability to help you find a truck and set your business up- branding and all!

So, whether you currently have a truck with the offerings our area needs, or you have the recipes that could make a truck of your very own a smashing success, Tampa Bay Food Trucks wants to hear from you so we can put more food truck cuisine variety in our variety and keep customers coming back for more!