If you are looking for a food truck marketing strategy to grow your business and increase sales in 2023 then check out these 15 marketing ideas
Whether you are new to the food truck industry and just starting out or are an established food truck business, having a marketing strategy will be an important part of both getting off the ground and growing your existing business.
An effective marketing strategy includes both a mix of online and offline strategies with include leveraging the power of social media and mobile apps to real-world strategies such as branding disposables such as food trays and cups and getting a fixed location to maximise brand exposure.
In this article, I have put together a list of 15 effective food truck marketing strategies that can hopefully help you develop a market plan and not only retain the customers you may already have but attract new ones along the way.
- Host a grand opening
- Build a website
- Create an app
- Leverage social media
- Partner with local businesses
- Get on third-party apps
- Access the wedding market
- Run prize draws & giveaways
- Loyalties cards & Pay-It-Forward initiatives
- Create a business card
- Be charitable
- Brand your products
- Create a “behind the scenes” video
- Create a signature dish
- Get a residency location
1. Host a grand opening
If you are just starting out a grand opening is a great way to get your name out there and give the community and other businesses a sneak preview of what you are all about.
One of the things you can do is invite your local newspaper or TV station to cover the event and partner with other organisations to create more of a community feel. You can also leverage social media to do this (which we will come onto shortly) to spread the word.
2. Build a website
Having a website is not only important for giving the impression you are a professional operation but it also gives you a wider reach by letting customers and businesses know more about you and what additional services you may provide.
Corporate businesses are always on the lookout for interesting and unique food truck companies to cater for their corporate events and the first place they usually search is on google.
And building a website isn’t very difficult or costly these days. If you have a bit of spare time there are a number of user-friendly website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress which all offer good functionality and are relatively easy to use.
3. Create an app
Aside from having a website, creating a custom app is a powerful tool for connecting your food truck business with new and existing customers by leveraging the wide use of smartphones and taking advantage of location-based marketing.
Some of the ways you can market your food truck business on smartphone apps include:
- Sending push notifications about sales, promotions, and other updates, as well as allowing customers to make food orders for collection and delivery and access loyalty rewards.
- Improve your brand awareness by providing a visible and easily accessible platform
- Getting reviews and feedback which can help you improve your processes and procedures.
4. Leverage social media
Social media is another relatively cost-effective and powerful tool for connecting with your customer base and promoting brand awareness.
Some of the main platforms include:
- Instagram – Food pictures are one of the most shared and searched-for types of images on Instagram. This makes your food truck a perfect fit for sharing your eye-catching food on this platform.
- Facebook – On Facebook, you can create a page for your food truck business, and invite people to like and build a community. You can share recipes, and tips and just let people know your plans for the upcoming months. You can also run targeted ads in a specific location. Handy for letting people know where you will be serving your food.
- Twitter – Good for building a community, creating hashtags for your food and letting your customers know where you will be in the coming months. It’s worth noting, managing all of these media platforms to promote your food truck can be time-consuming so it’s advisable to find one or two that work for you and focus on that.
- Tiktok – This social media is a relative newcomer but has taken the world by storm and is now one of the most used social media companies in the world (no. 6 in the world in 2022). It’s based on short videos which makes creating sharable food truck content perfect for this type of platform.
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5. Partner with local businesses
If you are looking to increase your food truck sales, partnering with local businesses is a great way to market your food truck business.
For example, microbreweries or pubs that don’t have the capacity to serve food are always on the lookout for mobile catering businesses that can do pop-ups and serve food to their customers.
Other examples of businesses that may need your type of services include construction sites and shopping mall operators for their large shopping malls.
You not only make additional sales for your business but you also leverage another business’s customer base thus attracting more exposure for yours.
6. Get on third-party apps
Aside from having your own website and mobile app, there are also a number of food truck listing apps that let customers filter for things like food truck location and types of food.
7. Access the wedding market
Food trucks are now big businesses in the wedding industry as people look for something a little different and cut down on the large costs that are often associated with wedding catering.
A good way to get into this market is to attend wedding fairs and contact wedding planners to promote your service. You can also create listings on wedding sites that have a range of wedding services that people book, including caterers, such as The Wedding Planner, The Knot and Wedding Wire amongst others.
8. Run prize draws & giveaways
When you have a social media presence on platforms like Facebook and Instagram running weekly or monthly giveaways is a great way to create a buzz and get people to interact with your business.
It can increase brand awareness by attracting new customers and engaging with existing ones, boost customer loyalty and increase traffic to your website.
An example of a prize draw could be as simple as getting people to like, share and tag 2 friends with the winner getting a voucher for $50-100 to spend at your food truck.
9. Loyalties cards & discounts
Once you get the customers to your food truck you want to keep them returning. One way to do this and increase sales in the process is to create a loyalty scheme, where you give a free meal for every 10 meals that are paid for.
This not only lets your customers feel valued but it also encourages them to make orders more often in order to earn rewards and discounts, which can lead to greater customer loyalty in the long term.
10. Create a business card
We may live in an increasingly digitalized world but there is still room for effective offline marketing strategies for your food truck.
One easy and effective way is business cards where you have your contact details and the range of services you offer. You can give these with each order and place them on the counter for people to take.
Business cards are also good for networking events and let people know what you do which may lead to a private event or wedding later down the line.
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11. Be charitable
These days people like to be associated with companies that have a social conscience so it’s good practice to do things that are good for the community which do not have a direct monetary value.
Things like doing charity events for organisations such as hospices, taking time out to feed the homeless by turning your food truck into a soup kitchen or donating any leftover foods to food banks are not only good for the soul but can go a long way to getting brand recognition, which paradoxically has a net benefit for your business over time.
Another marketing strategy worth mentioning for your food truck is to adopt a “Pay it forward” initiative.
This is a simple idea where you give away a few free meals per day on the condition that a person does a good deed for someone else, like buying a homeless person a cup of coffee.
You can get pay-it-forward cards to hand out to customers along with the free meal, which helps to explain the concept to them.
12. Brand your products
Branding your disposables, such as trays, boxes, cups and napkins is a good way to convey that you are a professional operation and promote brand recognition.
In addition, because Branded disposables are cheaper than other forms of marketing it can be a cost-effective way to promote a business.
You will also find if you are partnering with other businesses or doing corporate events, people will ask you to brand your products with their logo. Whilst you are promoting someone else’s brand you will get more work by “white-labelling” your products.
13. Create a “behind the scenes” video
People like to see what is going on in the guts of the operation, especially when it’s food-related so creating a “behind the scene video” lets your customers see the effort that goes into creating your product which can help to build trust and credibility with your audience.
It also promotes your business by giving it a personal touch and giving customers a glimpse into who is serving up such delicious food.
You can easily create a 2-5 minute video of how you prepare and cook your food and maybe a chance to introduce your team. The video can then be posted on your Facebook page or on Instagram and Instagram stories.
14. Create a “signature dish”
If it’s a signature dish it must be really good right?
Having an interesting signature dish is a good way of piquing people’s interest and drawing attention to what else you have on the menu.
Some of the benefits include Increased revenue, as you may be able to raise the price of your signature dish if it starts to gain popularity and Increased Social Media Interaction because posting a trademark dish on social media can be a wonderful way to increase engagement and content.
If you are a burger food truck, for example, you could do a signature burger that includes avocado, cheese and caramelised onions. That’s definitely something I would buy!
15. Get a residency location
One of the best things you can do to market your food truck business and gain brand recognition is to get a regular spot in a high-footfall area where you trade a couple of days per week.
Being in the same spot each day will not only give you access to a large customer base, thus increasing your sales but you can also gain a loyal customer base, especially if your products are good.