20 Mar 2018

What Makes A Successful Food Trailer

Here’s some great advice on what makes a successful food trailer / food truck.  It’s from an interview with Alain Bergery, manager of Prestige Food Trucks,  that was posted on Food Truck Empire (follow the link for the full interview)

“FTE: In your opinion, what are the key characteristics between a food trucks that become successful and those that fail?

Alain Bergery: As a manufacturer I know clients talk to me about some of the things that make them successful. I myself have worked a food truck and I can tell you it is far from easy. People need to treat a food truck like any other up and coming business. Those that have been successful have found a great location that can constantly give them revenue. If, for whatever reason they are not making money on that location, they pick up and find a new one. They don’t get stuck waiting for clients to come to them. They are proactive about their business and always look for new locations that can make them more central.

Also, I have found that the owners that have a good system for their customers to follow their food trucks are very successful as well. One of the methods I’ve seen is through the use of Facebook & Twitter followers that can easily allow customers to see where your truck is going to be located and when.

Next, they need to be able to travel to food truck events. This is how your truck gets known and your food gets tried. These events like Food Truck Wars can make you or break you as a food truck owner because it really puts you in the center of all the competition. Not just in your area, but possibly across the state. It gives you a tool to compare yourself against the industry and allows you to make important changes that can make you profitable.

Consistency is another important one. If you are not consistent with your location once you have found a good one. Then, how is the customer going to feel when he shows up to eat and you’re not there? The term consistency also falls under the food you make. If your food is not fresh and consistent with every order then customers will be able to tell the difference. They want to come to your food truck and taste something fresh and unique that no restaurant can match. Low overhead cost allows you to prepare you meals with higher quality food.

The best characteristic I think an owner needs is dedication. When I first started working a food truck with my father, we made minimal sales a day for the first month. But, after word got around that we were the best lunch truck around the area our sales slowly started increasing. By the 3rd month we were making an easy $500 – $1000 a day just working 10AM to 3PM.

Additionally, food Trucks are constrained in space and get very hot. After, a day’s work you’re going to feel tired and might just want a cold beer. But, you have to always clean as soon as you’re done and prepare for the next day. Once you stop cleaning and preparing for the next day that’s when residue starts to build up and your kitchen begins to look unappealing.

What Makes A Successful Food Trailer

FTE: What’s one of the most important aspects of a food truck should you be sure to invest in as an owner? On the flip side, what elements of a food truck can you save money on as an owner without sacrificing overall quality?

Alain Bergery: The most important aspects of a food truck are going to the quality of the plumbing, electrical, commercial equipment and the mechanical condition of the truck itself. The truck is the basis of your business and it needs to be of high quality to maintain efficiency. Prestige Food trucks prides itself at obtaining the upmost quality in each of these departments.

A way to save money is to have a good idea of the types of foods that you’re selling. If your menu doesn’t have fried food then don’t get a fryer. A lot of our clients want equipment in the trucks that they end up not using but want it as a safe guard. I believe that most of them till this day still don’t use the equipment that they wanted in their truck as a safety net, just in case they start using it one day. This drives up startup cost and it can always be added on later.

Another way is to make sure you have people with good driving records listed on the commercial insurance. This alone could save you upwards of a $1,000 per year.

Finally, just treat your business, like a business. Always try to cut food & material costs if possible. Basically, be as efficient as you can without sacrificing the quality of your overall product.”