Americans have embraced food trucks and other mobile businesses nationwide, but is your point of sale marketing turning mobile business lovers into loyal customers?

Why Point of Sale Marketing is a Necessity for Food Trucks and Other Mobile Business Models

It’s a growing and competitive market. To win in this type of environment, food trucks must do more than serve great food. Food truck industry stats speak for themselves:

  • It’s a $2B a year industry – according to Food Truck Nation, the food truck industry grew 300 percent from 2014 to 2017
  • It’s super-competitive – according to Food Truck Operator, food truck growth is outpacing other food service, including restaurants, by 5.4% to 4.3% for the industry overall
  • Low cost of entry – startup costs can be as low as $50K (Food Truck Nation)
  • Excellent revenue to startup costs – a food truck that drives revenues of $250-500K annually can be started for less than $100K (Food Truck Operator)

When the 90 percent who rated the food truck experience as “excellent” or “good” were asked why, more than 8 in 10 used words like fun, exciting, new, different and unique (Mobile Cuisine). Worth noting here, once someone has visited a food truck once or twice, words like new, different and unique may no longer apply.

Startup costs for a food truck or another type of mobile business are generally far less than their brick and mortar counterparts and the startup process is very different. However, to generate repeat business – which is far less expensive than acquiring new customers – food truck POS marketing (point of sale marketing) must adopt many of the same loyalty marketing activities their brick-and-mortar competitors do.

7 Food Truck Point of Sale Marketing Ideas

1. Capture Contact Information

It’s pretty much impossible to do post-sale marketing when you don’t have the ability to email or text the customer. Food truck POS marketing starts with capturing the customer’s email address and/or mobile phone number along with permission to send them information after the sale. This can be done in many cases by simply giving the customer the option of receiving a receipt by email or text, but can also be encouraged using:

  • Giveaways – such as a free lunch next month
  • Surveys and feedback – how was your experience and/or what would you like to see next
  • Notifications of locations – where the food truck will be next or when it will return
  • Online ordering or order-ahead options
  • “Remembering” customer orders and customizations to save time in the future

2. Use Video and Selfies to Turn Customers Into Foodies

You can use video and selfies to turn customers into foodies at the point of sale by asking what they loved and why for a quick video testimonial or inviting them to pose in front of your food truck for a selfie and hashtag your food truck and location on social media.

There are foodies with large followings in virtually every urban and even many suburban areas of the U.S. Discover which foodies are influencing your target audience on Instagram, Snapchat or other platforms and engage them (generally done by paying them to try and then to review your food online) to generate social influencer marketing on social platforms, including a video or selfie done in front of your food truck. Lather, rinse, repeat as you seasonally change your menu or introduce new items to cater to those who used those three magic words: New, unique and different.

3. Adopt a Neighborhood Cause

Show your love for the ‘hood! Adopt a neighborhood cause for a benefit events or proceeds donation (such as, “$1 for every specific item sold this month will be donated to…”) And again, you can cater to that crowd looking for new, unique and different by changing causes monthly, seasonally, with the release of new menu items, etc.

Invite local dignitaries and media to press-worthy events to give proceeds and/or monies or items raised to the charity or cause to receive public relations for your efforts. Make the event even bigger by teaming up with (or issuing a competitive challenge) to a local brick-and-mortar restaurant to increase exposure and make this even more interesting to local residents.

4. Upsells and Add-ons

Like any other restaurant, food truck employees should be asking customers “do you want fries with that?” where “fries” is interchangeable with any type of appropriate add on or a beverage or an upgrade (supersize!)

5. Samples

Give food truck patrons a chance to weigh in on upcoming menu items or create demand for new items before they are released by sampling bite-size items to customers while they wait for their orders. This is also a great way to gather testimonials to use in marketing when you launch the new menu items.

6. Video Display

Use videos at the point of sale to stimulate customer interest in other menu items, reinforce their buying decision through happy customer visuals and videos, notify customers of future appearances, events or promotions, and so on. Customers should be able to take this in while they are waiting for their order.

7. Point of Sale Loyalty Marketing

When asked about loyalty marketing, 73 percent said loyalty programs should be a way for the business to show loyalty to the customer – not the other way around ( Make sure your loyalty program gives customers rewards they actually want, and stimulates action on a frequent basis.

Marry your restaurant’s point of sale card processing solution to your loyalty marketing strategies. Following up with new customers with automated and personalized email marketing could turn that first timer into a long time fan. Reach out to us to find out how it works:

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Use these ten marketing ideas for food trucks and other mobile business models to grow your business by creating brand awareness and demand for your signature menu items.

On the Road Again:  10 Marketing Ideas for Food Trucks and Other Mobile Business Models

Over the past several years, the food truck has transitioned its role in the restaurant industry from sometimes-questionable construction site staples to gourmet fast food restaurants and tourist destinations. Food trucks found their way into the mainstream and even onto movie screens, sending foodies and other local diners out into the streets in search of the specialty foods and unique experience only a food truck could provide.

Some food trucks remain truly mobile while others have taken up more permanent spots; food trucks are now common vendors of specialty dining fare in urban business districts, on college campuses, in residence at street fairs and farmers markets, at music festivals, outside nightclubs and sports arenas and in a host of other locations.  And with menus filled with delicious street eats from hot dogs and burritos to specialty, regional gourmet signature menu items, there’s something for just about every palette. Food trucks also provide restaurateurs with an innovative way to test-market new locations or expand at a relatively low cost.

Consider these food truck industry statistics: 

  • More than 3,500+ food truck businesses in the U.S.
  • More than a billion dollars in annual revenue
  • Employing more than 15,500 people
  • Growing at an annual rate of over 8%.  [Infographic]

Small wonder that an overwhelming 91% of consumers say that food trucks are no passing fad, but are here to stay.  One of the pitfalls of the food truck industry is lack of marketing plan, so we came up with these marketing ideas for food trucks (and other mobile business models).

10 Marketing Ideas for Food Trucks and Mobile Business Models

1. Frequent and timely use of social media, email and text message (SMS) marketing – post a status update on your social network and send an email and/or text SMS with mouth-watering image or compelling offer right an hour or so before the lunch or dinner bell sounds.

2. Get people to look for you by rewarding customers for sightings or holding contests on social network, email and text SMS marketing where customers get clues as to your next location and a reward for finding you there.

3. Tie in to a local charity and donate a portion of proceeds or proceeds from specific menu items or from sales made on specific days of the week to make people feel even better about buying from you, create predictable demand for certain menu items or boost sales on slower days of the week.  Charitable tie-ins are also a great way to get some love from local media!

4. Offer “rainy day” specials and create an instant patio by setting umbrella-covered bistro tables to entice customers to buy from you on bad weather days.

5. Update your website every day and make sure it’s optimized for mobile; people searching mobile devices for a local place to eat usually take action within 1 hour!

6. Offer street samples and a bounce back offer coupon to commuters passing by in the morning to create demand for lunch items later in the day.

7. Send email announcements to the offices of local employers with special offers just for their employees, provide a stack of menus and limited-time-offer coupons for break rooms and seek out listings on corporate intranet sites and employee newsletters.

8. Create signature or regionally-oriented menu items that tie in to local tourist destinations or sports teams.  Send samples to local media and invite them to come and cover your business for use as a web or TV news “fluff” piece with local flair.

9. Expand your capabilities by offering local delivery service or for group orders.

10. Incentivize standing orders and pre-ordering and use pre-orders to help determine where you will set up shop next or on certain days of the week.

food trucks infographic - statistics about food trucks in the US

[Infographic – Food Trucks – Restaurant Marketing Ideas]
source:Mary Beth Campeau via wordpress