How to Increase Food Truck Sales in Winter
With a few more months to go before spring, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are still ways you can be working on growth opportunities, either actively making sales or doing prep-work that will pay off later in the year. Jim Dowery, owner of Bones Brothers Wings and an active member of the Cincinnati Food Truck Association, shared with us some incredible tips on how to overcome the challenges related to increasing food truck sales during winter time. Take advantage of the following ideas to proactively keep the momentum for your concession sales during cold weather months.
Research and Reach Out
Take a few minutes each day to research potential businesses or events at which to sell your product, and call those places. Make notes about their level of interest and tell them about how they’ll benefit from working with you. If you’re approaching a business, consider offering to pay them a fee for utilizing their space or explain how providing a convenient food source for their employees will save them time, provide additional food options, and could potentially offer more affordable options compared to a cafeteria or other local restaurants. When talking to event planners, you can sell the idea of providing an additional food choice, lower cost, or a larger variety of food and drink offerings for attendees.
Look for an opportunity to find a regular spot by an office building (owners will need an agreement) with a lobby. Owners can offer a discount to employees. If your menu items and food prep process allow, you can set up a table to provide lunch items so employees don’t have to go outside. Depending on your food offerings, prepare menu items in bulk to bring and sell inside, using a warmer to keep items fresh and hot for customers. Consider catering to a smaller assembly type of business, like a call center with 100–200 people.
Reach out to your local radio, newspaper, or TV stations and see if they’re willing to do a story on you or your business. Think about an angle that would be compelling, such as how you started your business from the ground up or if you donate/work with local charities through your business.
Offer Specials and Merchandise
One of the best things you can do to increase food truck sales is to offer specials. This can be a buy-one-get-one (free or half off) deal that’s for a limited time, or perhaps 20% off a new flavor in order to get customers to try something different that you know they’ll love. Combos are always a popular option, such as a hot dog and prepackaged popcorn combo.
Branded gear is another creative way of capitalizing on the winter weather. Beanies, gloves, or scarves with your logo are strategic items to display and sell to customers during the winter. Patrons will appreciate the option of purchasing items to help keep them warm, and you get free advertising.
Consider Offering Delivery
Explore options like delivering food to people in their cars. With an online ordering feature on your website or a custom app, customers can place their order from the comfort of their nearby car, and your staff can provide curbside service.
There are also delivery services like uberEATS and GrubHub that can make your menu available to people nearby for delivery. It can cost up to 30% of the sale, but it gets your business on their app platform for exposure and additional orders. The key is the truck needs to be at a convenient location for delivery drivers to pick up from.
Bonus: Remember that keeping food truck employees comfortable during the winter is also vital. A good hood system that funnels warm air back into your truck can keep the work environment much more enjoyable for the staff. When your employees are happy, your customers will notice.
Trust Gold Medal as your source for all the best in gourmet popcorn equipment and supplies. We know the industry and our concession specialists are here to assist you. To schedule a personal profit consultation, contact us at 800-543-0862 today.