Operating a food truck business can be quite difficult during the winter season. As temperatures drop, customers are less likely to line up and wait in the cold for food. However, this should not spell doom for your business as there are still several opportunities for profitability during this season.
Here are six things to put on your to-do list to help your food truck overcome off-season challenges.
1. Try Catering
From weddings and birthdays to corporate and other special events, food is an essential need all year long. As a food truck owner, offering catering services is one of the top ways to increase your earnings during the off-season. It particularly comes in handy during the winter months when it is too cold for you and your customers to stay outside. Although there are a few of your customers that may be willing to brave the snow to eat in your food truck, most of them will be keen on enjoying your tasty meals if it is delivered right to them. Pursuing catering clients also gives you the opportunity to get connected with people that might never have come across your food truck otherwise, increasing the chance of converting them into customers.
2. Create a seasonal menu
Most people running a food truck have recipes primarily designed for summer menus. Although it is essential to have specialized meals that your food truck is known for, it is important to become creative with your menu board during the slow season. Make use of this lull to introduce new offerings in your menu that matches your patrons’ seasonal tastes. For instance, you could introduce warm, hearty chocolate drinks or coffee, or hot and spicy meals during the winter months to keep your customers warm. This will make you stand out from other food trucks and give your customers a reason to keep coming back.
3. Look for festivals
As a business owner, landing spots for your food truck at events can have a huge impact on sales during the slow winter months. Despite the chilly weather, you can still find hungry and thirsty customers among the bustling crowd looking for a bite or drink. While there are fewer events happening in the winter months, there are still a few you could find within your community.
Check out events like holiday showcases, carnivals, concerts, and Christmas tree lightings. Remember that your competitors in the food truck industry are also looking to attend these events so stay one step ahead by planning in advance. Start your research early and apply to as many events as you can for a chance to land a spot.
4. Partner with other businesses
Another way to ensure your food truck stays profitable in the winter is to form partnerships with other local businesses. Partnering with bar and restaurant owners by selling your food packaged in their brick and mortar restaurant can help you improve sales during this slow season. It is also an effective way to ensure you remain in the minds of your customers. To get started, find out if there are any local regulations governing this kind of partnership. Then look for food businesses that complement yours like coffee shops, bakeries or any other brick and mortar restaurants that do not share the same menu board as yours. Another option is to pitch your catering services to corporate organizations. They just might allow you to park your food truck outside their office building and provide catered lunches to their staff. You can offer incentives like free drinks or discounts to employees while you are at it.
5. Prepare your truck for the cold weather
Cold weather and icy conditions affect not only foot traffic to your food truck, it can also cause havoc to your vehicle. As a business owner, winter is the prime time to check and update your insurance options. Unplanned events caused by the weather could bring your business to a standstill. So you should consider getting Insurance for Food Trucks.
Here are other ways you can prepare your truck for the chilly months:
Get good snow tires. Food trucks are heavy and prone to skidding off the road when driving in rainy or snowy weather. Snow tires will offer better traction to make driving safer.
Perform general vehicle repairs and maintenance
Ensure the sidewalks and pathways leading to your food truck are snow-free and safe for pedestrians.
Install heating systems in your food truck. Your employees will likely spend long hours there, so ensure they are warm and comfortable during the winter season. Heaters will also prevent your water tanks and cooking equipment from freezing and bursting.
6. Build your customer base
Make sure to develop a relationship with your customers before the start of winter. To pull this off, ensure your customers always get stellar service. Here are several ways to boost the customer experience and keep them coming back, even during the winter.
Offer seasonal discounts and promotions to loyal customers.
Have social media pages and engage with your customers online.
Prepare short surveys asking customers for their locations and when they’re likely to stop at your mobile food truck during winter. You can also offer customers that provide this information free drinks or discounts.
Don’t allow the weather to get in your way! Instead of closing down your food truck business and waiting for summer to return, look for ways to ensure your business stays booming all year round. Use these suggested tips and you will be well prepared to stay profitable even during the off-season.