During the warmer months, you can all but count on there being a line of hungry customers at your food truck. But as the weather changes and cooler air sets in, you may find that your customer base starts to dwindle and the lines you had weeks ago are no more. While cooler weather will impact the number of people outside, and therefore the number of customers that come to your food truck, less than optimal weather doesn’t have to end your quest for providing delicious food to the community.
The decision to buy a food truck is likely one that you made after a lot of thinking and budgeting, but did you ever consider the weather factor? The good news is that you can triumph over Mother Nature. Here are 5 tips to ensure your food truck is successful all year round, even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate.
1. Pick a Spot & Stay There
Less foot traffic is a valid concern, but the first step in ensuring the success of your food truck is to park your truck in at a regular location. During the nicer months customers are much more likely to go for a walk to find their lunch, but when the weather is cold or rainy, chances are customers aren’t interested in being outside for too long. This means you’ll want to find an area with heavy foot traffic and park your truck there during the week.
Share your location on social media so that past customers can find you. Posting location updates on social media is also a great way to create buzz around your food truck. By finding a good location and returning to it, customers are more likely to be willing to brave the weather.
2. Add Seasonal Menu Items
Make the most out of slow season by trying out new food options on your menu. When the weather is chilly, chances are customers aren’t looking for something light and refreshing. As a food truck owner, you have the flexibility to change up your menu and offer seasonal dishes that your customers desire. For instance, in the colder months, you’ll want to offer warm comfort foods. Some options that are sure to be popular among customers include:
- Thick and hearty soups or stews
- Mexican hot chocolate
- Hand pot pies
Burgers, pizza, and other common American fares should also do quite well during the cooler months. By offering seasonal menu items, you can provide comfort food that customers want while also trying out new recipes.
3. Partake in Local Events
Winter events aren’t as popular as those hosted in the summer and spring, but community events don’t stop just because the weather is a little chilly. In fact, most towns and cities host a variety of events such as holiday showcases, tree lightings, fall and winter carnivals, and more. These events always draw a crowd, which means you’ll want your food truck to be in the middle of all of the action. Local events are the prime place to find hungry and thirsty patrons.
If your community doesn’t offer many fall and winter events, check out neighboring towns and cities to see what they have to offer. You can also browse social media sites to learn about upcoming events.
4. Winterize the Truck
Just as low temperatures and icy conditions impact your clientele, winter weather also affects your food truck. To prepare your mobile restaurant for the cold winter months, there are some essential items that you’ll want to have. First, because food trucks are heavy, it’s important to invest in snow tires. A good set of snow tires will keep the truck from slipping and sliding by providing more road traction. Most used food trucks for sale don’t come with winter tires so be sure to purchase these sooner rather than later.
Another must-have item is a heater. No one wants to work in a cold food truck! Make sure that your employees are comfortable and warm by installing heaters. Be sure to also have plenty of de-icer on hand just in case temperatures get super cold.
5. Offer Catering
Instead of just relying on foot traffic during the colder months, advertise your food truck as a catering option for parties, weddings, and other local events. By offering catering services, you not only are able to make good money, you’re also able to expose your menu to dozens of new people. This means that when the weather turns nice again, you can expect to have plenty of new customers.
As an added benefit, when catering, you have no competition! People at the event won’t have to choose where they want to eat. Instead they simply have to pick a delicious offering from your menu.
Catering definitely requires a bit more prep work than normal food truck operations, so be sure to plan ahead. Keep a close eye on your schedule and be sure to find a balance between catering events and parking your truck in the local town center.
The winter months will always be the most difficult season for food truck owners simply because there is much less foot traffic. While this means a lower amount of potential customers, winter time doesn’t have to mean that your food truck is closed for the season. By using these tips, you can winterize your company and continue to make profit throughout the year.
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