Like any entrepreneur, new food truck owners soon learn that some days are better than others. Starting and running a business challenges you in a way you may have never been challenged before. Regardless of how well your food truck is doing, each day is a new opportunity to learn and improve. Here, we’ve included several things that all successful food truck owners have in common.
Dare To Be Great
First thing’s first—get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re a veteran in the restaurant business but only accustomed to managing customer service, as a new food truck owner, you may find yourself wearing a variety of hats, such as inventory; sales; hiring; scheduling; and marketing, to name a few. Food truck ownership requires acute business acumen in all areas of business operations, which sets it apart from typical brick and mortar management.
You may be tempted to shy away from your newfound responsibilities, but it’s important to embrace these challenges as early as you can. Being confident in the wide-ranging responsibilities that comprise food truck management pays dividends (plus, those responsibilities aren’t going anywhere, so why avoid them?). In our experience, the most successful food truck owners are bold in their leadership, even in roles they typically haven’t held.
Learn And Adapt
While there are best practices to observe in starting a food truck business, there is no perfect formula for success. Your food truck may find a different path to success than another food truck, so it’s important to chart your own course. As a new food truck owner, you should regularly review what is and isn’t working for your business. Track as much data as you can and use it to make prudent decisions. Creativity often pays off, but it’s also wise to let your truck’s data drive these decisions.
Empower your employees. Sometimes it can be beneficial to involve them and ask for suggestions. They are working the front lines, and they may see something that you don’t. It also takes some pressure off of you so you don’t feel like you have to generate every idea. Don’t forget to use your customers as well. If you were to look at the back of fast food restaurant receipts, you would see that many of them offer discounted or free menu items in exchange for filling out a customer survey. This is another powerful tool you can use to engage your customers and get beneficial feedback.
Go the extra mile and try to do one thing every day that nurtures this attitude, whether it’s listening to a podcast, reading, or creating a new strategy for your food truck.
Embrace Your Calling
As you’re probably aware, entrepreneurship doesn’t always fit neatly into a predictable schedule — especially in the early stages. If you plan on implementing any of the above suggestions, you will have to do it when the food truck isn’t running. That means that if you want to grow your business, this journey will cost you time with your family, friends, and on some nights, sleep. You will have to be more intentional with your time to ensure that you get the rest and balance you need.
Entrepreneurship also brings financial uncertainty. Catering gigs may fall through, laws and regulations may change, and sales could be low for a time. You can’t control all of these things, but you can control how you handle it. It’s important to look at these instances as lessons instead of failures. If you book your first catering gig and sales are lower than anticipated, instead of looking at it as a failure, look at what you can improve on when booking future gigs. If an employee doesn’t work out, sometimes it’s a learning experience you can use to fine tune hiring processes.
Whether you create a food truck empire or decide to pivot into a different direction, with the right mindset, entrepreneurship will teach you and refine you in a way that will equip you for the future. What has worked for you? Leave any questions or advice in the comments below!
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