By Julie Gordon | Deluxe.com
Minnesotans Deb and Les Wille were looking for an ‘off-season’ opportunity to complement their existing horizontal drilling business. Combining their love of food and motorcycles, they landed on a food truck concept called Wild Wille’s Sandwich Shack. With a passion for quality food, plus a play on fun menu names like “Buzzard Balls” and “Mother Clucker” Deb and Les are now enjoying their 2nd year in business.
We recently had a chance to catch up with the Willes to find out how they continue to spread the word about their business-on-wheels.
Just curious how and where you find new customers?
Our customers come from the events we attend. The first year, I spent HOURS on the internet and phone, mailing out packages, trying to make new contacts and trying to get into events. At first it was really tough, but once we had some events behind us and a little bit of feedback on our website and on Facebook, it has gotten quite a bit easier. We are usually invited back to each recurring event we have done, plus word of mouth from the people who have tried our food gets us into more and more events. This year we have had a lot more ‘company parties’ than in the past— I think it is becoming the trend to have a food truck cater your event instead of traditional catering.
Is there one social network that works better than others to bring in customers? How are you using it?
We use Facebook and Twitter. Being in central Minnesota, I don’t think Twitter is as common as Facebook. We post all of our events to our Facebook page and our website so people can find out where we are going to be any time.
On social media, do you notice different customer reactions to written vs. visual promotions?
Absolutely. I will get hundreds more hits from any picture of food or live action than I would from just posting a comment.
How do you differentiate yourself from other food truck and restaurant competitors?
I have never perceived other trucks or restaurants as competition. I think we all work together. Multiple trucks will always draw a much bigger crowd than a single truck will. When it comes to making choices for people about which truck to eat from, I think we are the easy choice. Our bright orange trailer, professional graphics, fun theme and clean truck (inside and out) attract them to us – but our friendly attitude and delicious, fun and fresh menu, made from scratch with high quality ingredients will keep them coming back time and time again.
Do you utilize any specific food truck-locator smartphone apps?
My web designer created a Food Truck Locator on our website that works also on your mobile phone, so it is built into our website – no need for using a separate app.
Do you proactively seek customer feedback? If yes, what platforms do you use?
I have asked for letters of recommendation from some of our regular customers and they have happily supplied them. We always post these things to our website and to our Facebook page.