Monday, June 25, 2012

Fancy Food Truck Tricks, Part 2

Time for another edition of my semi-regular series of blog posts titled, "Fancy Food Truck Tricks: Must-Do Ideas for Your Mobile Food Business." This week's post contains thinly-veiled references to show business because I felt like it. Here we go…

Tracy (@mypinupastries) holds up a 
delectable creation – pound cake, 
strawberries and chocolate sauce.

1. Keep Your Old Stuff Fresh.

There's an old adage among stand-up comedians: when you're working on new stuff, keep your old stuff fresh. Try something new with an established menu item to keep customers from getting bored. If you know you need to adjust things a bit, you could make a real difference.

Tracy of Pin-Up Pastries in Tucson, Arizona, once redid the filling recipe for her creme filled whoopie pie. She let everyone know via social media then got rave reviews. It's still a creme filling. It's still a whoopie pie. It's just better. Tracey also continues to offer variations on the same theme (new flavors), to keep it interesting.

Word of Caution: Avoid pulling a Coca-Cola (circa 1985) and aggravating your customers by totally replacing an obvious favorite. 

2. Work In New Stuff a Little At a Time.

If you're a fan of FOX's Kitchen Nightmares, you've seen Chef Gordon Ramsay trash a restaurant's entire menu and introduce a new one seemingly overnight. That's TV. This is real life. Besides, those restaurants are failing miserably and I assume you are not.

Whether your culinary offerings are new or old, build or rebuild your food truck menu slowly and test, test, test.

@VerdeFoodTruck's cheese crisp
creation debuts on Facebook.

Verde Food Truck of Boulder, Colorado, decided to solicit feedback about a possible new menu item via its Facebook Fan Page. This created buzz for Verde's menu on several levels: (1) the chef actively sought the opinions of real food truck customers, (2) Facebook fans got a sneak peek at something other customers did not, and (3) I can't think of number 3, but you get the picture...or you can see the picture, above.

3. Make Them An Offer They Can't Refuse.

Godfather (1972) movie fans are probably groaning right now. Well, I thought the comparison was apropos. Like Don Vito Corleone, I believe you need to spell things out in a way that makes them irresistible.

Hey, food truck wordsmiths! You may be a pro at describing your menu, but there's always room for improvement. So start polishing up your prose for the crave-inducing captions you'll add to those luscious uploads.

@OzPatisserie teases us with the
lemony goodness of its French macarons.

OMG! Macarons (seen above)! Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, OZ Patisserie Mobile Dessert Truck knows exactly what to do: combine an economy of perfect words with minimal photo styling, and I can't stop wanting these!

4. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

There's a reason tweets are only 140 characters.
"I want to thank my mother, my father, my agent, my 9th grade drama teacher, and the one-eyed puppy who taught me that...," drones on the Oscar recipient. Yep, yep, yep. There is no end to the folks you could thank when you've had a good day.

On its Facebook Fan Page (seen below), Salt Lake City's Chow Truck gets right to the point – no pun intended – about the who and what of knife sharpening without annoying its fan base with a long-winded commercial message.

@ChowTruck reveals the sharpest tool in the shed.

Feeling a long rant coming on? Puh-leez take a break. Huh!? Sorry. I dozed off. As for Twitter, there's a reason tweets are only 140 characters. That's about all your Twitter followers can stand before something else catches their...oh, look, a cat video!

5. Be a Clown.

Sometimes you need to mix in a little light humor. It breaks the ice and tells customers there are friendly people at your food truck. But don't take this advice too far. You can leave the oversized shoes at home.

@BurgermaniaAZ's ability to grill
fresh vegetables is uncanny.

Burgermania in Phoenix, Arizona made me smile with this cute Facebook post (above) touting its Friday specials, including a Vegan Zucchini Burger. Now I want to get in the car and drive to Phoenix just to say "hello."

That's it for now. Five simple ways to become the top banana of food trucks in your community. See you next time.

~ Kim