FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS IDEAS
Starting your own food truck from the menu up
Food trucks are the next logical step after the fast-food craze started in America in the 1950s; by providing cheap and delicious food to customers quickly, they follow the trend created by early trendsetters like McDonald’s.
Food truck operations are challenging to manage and maintain; in addition to vehicle maintenance, food trucks also have to consider regular expenses. For example, a food truck still has to worry about:
Permits & licenses
In addition, they have to do all this with limited resources, limited staff, and limited space. For this reason, modern POS technology has stepped up to fill the gaps naturally created with food truck operations.
This page details several food truck business ideas that make the most significant impact on food trucks, including:
- Payment options
- Inventory management
- Additional food truck features
When customers walk up to your food truck, the first thing they want to know is “what’s on the menu?” This information essentially informs their decision to eat there or somewhere else. Unfortunately, this is a challenge; a mobile operation often does not have a good delivery method for menus. In addition, large tableaus can be challenging to read, and holding a physical menu (among all your other things) while in line is cumbersome.
Digital menus pose a possible solution to this problem, but they pose a problem themselves; how do you get your customers there? Typing in a web address and waiting for the pdf to download takes time; often, more time than customers are willing to wait.
POS technology seeks to address the flaws in digital menus by increasing their accessibility and functionality. These options include:
QR Code Access
Getting to the menu is one of the biggest problems of digital menus, but QR codes may pose an elegant solution. Placing a QR code along your line path allows customers to quickly access your menu using the camera feature on their phones. This eliminates the need to type in a web address and navigate your website before coming across the menu itself. This is the perfect tool for the modern customer looking for quick and easy access to your menu options.
Why bother with customer lines at all? When customers access your online menu, your POS also has tools to make their payments then and there. The completed order is then sent straight to the kitchen for preparation and pickup, using the customer’s name or receipt number to notify them of its completion.
Another helpful tool allowing customers to place orders directly is kiosk mode; this customer-facing model presents customers with a POS screen at the counter, allowing them to select their dishes and make their payments directly. This reduces the need for staffing and gives customers complete control over their orders. It also provides them with staff, should they have questions about the menu that aren’t addressed in the text or pictures.
In some cases, it may be helpful to have several of these options available at once. For example, a customer scans a QR code to access their online menu. However, they quickly realize that they have questions about the items included. They then go up to the counter and speak with one of the employees there, who addresses their concerns. They then guide them through the process using the kiosk mode.
Whatever configuration your business decides to use, these tools are essential for a food truck operation. Offering instant access to menus and ordering keeps lines and orders moving.
Mobile Payment Options
When it comes time to make payments, food trucks need the tools necessary to meet customer preferences. Modern customers have changed significantly in recent decades; whereas cash made up most payments in decades past, current customers almost universally preferred digital payment methods. This means that modern businesses must adjust to those methods to stay relevant.
This is a more difficult task than it appears on its face; taking cards requires an active merchant service provider that can tackle various payment methods. While this requires typically setting up through a credit card processor, modern POS technology alleviates the manual labor involved using:
Card payments come in all different forms. Modern-day businesses need to be prepared to accept these different forms to appeal to the widest variety of audience members. These forms of payment include:
- Strip & Chip
- Near field communication (NFC)
- Digital Wallets (Apple Pay, Venmo, etc.)
Taking these different payment methods for food trucks on the go is essential. It’s also significantly more complicated since you typically don’t have as much equipment to work with. Interested food truck operations should consider POS options featuring comprehensive mobile features that allow for these payment methods upon payment.
In addition to just taking payment methods, your mobile system should also offer the ability to issue discounts on your promotions at the drop of a hat. This can either be done using preset discounts (for example, a happy hour discount that automatically applies at a particular time of day) or through custom discounts, which the employee sets at the transaction time.
However your operation decides to implement these discounts or promotions, your mobile service must have the ability to do so. These promotions keep your customers coming in and give them reasons to visit your food truck when they otherwise might not.
Updating your POS system to include mobile options broadens your reach, not just in terms of areas you can go to but even in the sense of branching out to additional trucks. As your operations expand, you need to ensure that your technology has a similar expansion capability. More directly, however, mobile payment capabilities also reduce the space that your equipment takes up in the truck. This opens up valuable space for ingredients and prep stations, which you’re at a minimum with any food truck operation.
For most food truck business owners, most of their day is spent doing administrative duties. A recent poll suggested that 57% of small business owners work six days a week. Over 20% of those polled replied that they worked seven days a week. It’s essential, then, that restaurant owners in any industry (but particularly for food trucks) have the tools that they need to reduce their workweek. This will help them create a work schedule that is profitable and sustainable.
The question remains, though; how do you create such a schedule? As the number of staff reduces, technological solutions become increasingly more important. Modern POS systems have developed new ways to handle these administrative duties, including:
|Because so much managerial time is spent handling interactions with vendors, a technology designed to target this particular issue is especially helpful. Having purchase order technology available allows you to automatically keep track of your vendors, maintaining a good relationship with them as you Source necessary ingredients or equipment. This work is typically done manually through a paid employee such as a manager, but automated technology for you eliminates the need for such staffing. In this way, purchase order technology allows you to cut down on your expenses while increasing your overall profit.|
|On average, businesses lose $1.75 trillion per year due to out-of-stock items or returns. In this sense, it's critical to have tools that keep a close eye on your inventory as it depletes or otherwise depreciates. Modern POS systems can set predetermined inventory alerts that notify managers when the stock amount of an item drops below a certain point. The manager presets this amount, and the notification can go to multiple recipients, ensuring its timely delivery. This makes sure that your inventory never drops below a certain point. It also ensures you are not spending too much on Inventory management.|
|Although it's easy to rely on automatic counting for your inventory management, any business owner will tell you these are not always 100% accurate. For example, it's very common to have waited too long to make a reorder with a vendor due to the assumption that you had more of an item in stock than was the case. Modern POS technology helps prevent this by offering tools to manually count through either the vitalik app or via the dashboard. This can increase your inventory accuracy by up to 30%, ensuring that your numbers are always more accurate.|
Together, these management tools cut down on one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a food truck. By eliminating excessive manual counting using automated features, business owners can spend more time doing more meaningful work. In addition, these tools also benefit the business in general; by providing employees and staff with the most up-to-date inventory information, they can accommodate customer orders more efficiently.
Food truck business ideas help you put rubber to the road
Food trucks are an ongoing balancing act; in addition to managing concrete metrics (employee payroll, accounting, inventory, etc.), small business owners also need to consider their customer experience. In addition, they also need to look into necessary things like permits or high-traffic areas to maximize their ROI. The tools presented here do just that, either directly or by freeing up valuable resources that would otherwise be spent doing manual tasks.
That being said, these responsibilities can be difficult for anyone to manage. For that reason, POS systems such as talech offer features designed to help with food truck business ideas. For example, our mobile features and online menus keep your lines moving in addition to administrative tools that streamline your daily operations. Best of all, we offer a free demo where you can try the system out for yourself.
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