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August 13, 2014

Thinking Outside The Food Truck

start-a-food-truck-businessHaving a mobile food business gives you lots of flexibility to literally position yourself where the people are.  But running a food truck also means you also run the risk of coming up empty some days.  With things like weather and holidays all potentially impacting your customer flow and thus your bottom line, it may make sense to diversify your revenue streams.  Today we’re taking a look at what some food entrepreneurs are doing to keep their businesses rolling smoothly both in and outside of their food trucks.   Building Your Catering Business

This is probably a given as it’s something many mobile food businesses already do, but catering can help even out your revenue streams because you know that on certain days you have guaranteed sales rather than simply hoping passersby stop to grab something from you.  What’s more, with catering you also know – more or less – how much revenue to expect so that you can plan accordingly from a staffing and production standpoint.

Selling Products Wholesale

Skillet Street Food was so well known locally for the bacon jam they put on their sandwiches and burgers that they bottled it (jarred it?) and sell it wholesale to independent retailers, supermarkets, and foodservice organizations.  Now if Seattle’s infamous rain keeps people from seeking out their truck, Skillet Street Food can still rely on the revenue their wholesale business generates.

Franchise Your Concept

To date, to the best of my knowledge, no one has yet been able to create a sustainable and successful franchised food truck business but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.  Perhaps you’ll be the first?

Brick & Mortar

You got into the mobile food business because you wanted to be mobile but you may find that sometimes your customers actually want to sit down, inside, to eat or just know where to find you consistently.  That’s what has may food trucks who have garnered a loyal following setting up brick and mortar restaurants in addition to running their food trucks.

The aforementioned Skillet Street Food now has two brick & mortar locations in the Seattle area in addition to their truck.  One of these locations happens to be right next door to another food truck turned brick & mortar – Parfait Artisan Organic Ice Cream who spent years taking their handcrafted ice cream truck to  farmers’ markets, festivals, and busy street corners for years before ever opening the door to their retail location.

Beyond Brick & Mortar

Roy Choi, of LA’s famed Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck (yep, it’s a mouthful alright and just as tasty!), is perhaps the best known food truck entrepreneur thanks to both his food and his consistent pushing of boundaries of ‘what’s expected’ of mobile food truck owners.  In addition to his trucks and several restaurants, he’s now parlayed his brand to hotels with the debut of The Line Hotel in Los Angeles whom he partnered with the Sydell Group to execute.

As these examples show, by focusing on building a strong brand and rabid following you can create multiple revenue streams that provides your business with less fluctuation and risk.  Who knows, perhaps you too will one day be signing a deal with a hotel group to bring your take on ‘street food’ to their guests.

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