Five Things Food Truck Success Says About the Modern Small Business

Food trucks on Kenyon Street NW, Washington DC

By Jay Buerck |

Food trucks on Kenyon Street NW, Washington DC

If you live in a major American city, then chances are you’ve seen a boom in upscale food trucks over the summer. It’s a growing industry that is thus-far untapped by a single corporation. The wave of food truck madness across the country consists entirely of independent entrepreneurs. Thus, take a hint from their collective success. Here are five things that entrepreneurs can walk away with from food trucks besides a quick delicious lunch:

#1 People Love “High Concept”

In show business, they call it high concept: the idea that your story idea is not only simply stated, but that it manages to incorporate familiar themes and elements in fresh and exciting ways. For example, the movie “Alien” was sold simply on the following high concept: “Imagine ‘Jaws’ in space.” Similarly, the success of gourmet food trucks is a result of entrepreneurs reviving the faded popularity of food trucks by using them to offer the public unique edibles instead of grease pit standards. Ideas like these are definite attention grabbers, which is important when starting a business with limited marketing.

#2 Social Media Can be Hardwired Into Your Business Plan

Food trucks wouldn’t be so trendy today if it weren’t for Facebook and Twitter. They wouldn’t be able to continuously send out updates regarding their location to customers if it weren’t for social networking. In fact, food trucks are essentially reliant on social media. Yet their success shows that a small business can safely rest most of its marketing objectives on the shoulders of social networks. Facebook and friends aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

#3 Always Leave Them Wanting More

The success of the ice cream truck in a country where ice cream is available in just about every grocery store relies on the fact that the allure of the ice cream truck is not so much in its offering as it is in its opportunity. The ice cream truck and the gourmet food truck both incite action due to their lack of permanency and the finite amount of resources they possess. The entrepreneurial instinct is often to make the goods or services as accessible as possible. But sometimes it’s worth it to let them wait a little bit.

#4 Maximize Profit by Eliminating as Much Overhead as Possible

Unlike the costs of building, staffing, and maintaining the kitchen of a fine-dining establishment, the food truck demands only a fraction of these costs. Yet, a food truck is capable of making as much money as an equally-supplied stationary diner. The money saved by skimping on staff and equipment can be used to offer cheaper menu options and/or strengthen your brand, as well as go straight to your bank of course.

#5 Remember that Plenty of Opportunities Are Recession-Proof

The thing about food is that no matter how strapped for cash we are, we’ll always spend money to eat. Some goods and services are always going to succeed no matter how the overall economy is doing, simply because people can’t afford to go without them. It can be the food we need to live, the haircut we need to look professional, or the toiletries we need to stay fresh. If you can devise a way to offer such goods or services, you won’t have to worry about economic factors outside of your control.

Don’t watch an industry grow before your eyes on the shoulders of entrepreneurs without learning a thing or two about how that success was achieved. When it comes to food trucks, its all about taking the limitations caused by economic uncertainty and turning them into advantages via the latest technologies available and a little bit of creativity. Incorporate that into your small business idea and there’s no telling how booming your business could be.

Image: Mr. T in DC