How to Market Meals on Wheels

Posted on January 6, 2012


Business on the Road

The concept of the coveted roach coach has been around since the frontier age, when chuckwagons fed the hungry cattle herders who had no other method of getting their hands on a hot meal. The frontier days are over, but ever since Food Network first aired the hit reality series “the Great Food Truck Race,” the mobile meal experience has been on the rise.

Watching food trucks compete for business across California led to a trending to gourmet fare-on-wheels that has thrived since 2008. But is making a food truck business work really as simple as hitting the road?

Believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of thought behind where these heavy hitting vendors park their wheels. That’s why we’re giving you 7 steps to marketing mobile success

1. Choose the right location

Scope out the places that count. Find the busy and bustling spots in your area and where you can park within those vicinities. Consider which locations have more businesses, specific age groups, etc. It’s imperative that you map these elements out, literally

Demographics are key, when they’re plugged into geography, they come to life.

Come up with a list of your truck’s attributes that would drive customer traffic, such as price, convenience, or appearance.

2. Partner up with a local business

It’s the classic “you scratch my back, I scratch yours strategy,” taking any business i.e. your local smoothie shack, and trading promotions materials or coupons to hand out to customers upon order. This will drive business to their business and yours.

3. Form alliances with other street vendors

This one might sound like taboo, but the reality is that there is going to be plenty of competition surrounding you and your cart. A smart way to avoid turf wars is to set an agreement on reciprocal promotion with a competitor.

4. Tweet!

Almost every successful mobile vendor on the road today uses twitter to post where they will be stationed on any given day. This lets interested consumers find you easier and help to create customer loyalty.

5. Offer free samples

You’ve seen it done in Costco, and at least half the time it works. The guy who tried that piece of orange chicken off a tooth pick is at the checkout line with an entire box of it 30 minutes later. It can work for you too, just make sure that you keep samples warm and give them out frequently- no one likes cold chicken.

6. Use fliers

Hand them out around a two block radius or so around your location. Target cars and pedestrians; looking your best could get some attention…but if all else fails try a costume.

7. Offer frequent buyer cards

One of the best examples of this technique is Starbuck’s rewards card. It might sound odd from afar, but most customers will go out of their way to buy 15 coffees if it means getting the 16th for free. They’re going to buy coffee anyways, why not get if from someone who will throw a freebie their way once in a while?

Those are just a few tips to get the cart rolling. Remember, it’s a food truck, where you park it is the first step to success.

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