Continue to Site

    How to Leverage Technology for Food-Truck Success

  • Paying attention to the back-of-the-house operations is important for mobile operations as well.

    thinkstock
    Food trucks need to be tech savvy to survive in today's competitive field.

    In 2017, The Economist reported that the American food truck industry was worth $1.2 billion. Despite obstacles like varying state or local regulations and unpredictable weather, there are more than 4,000 food trucks operating across the country slinging everything from fusion tacos and barbecue sandwiches to pizzas baked right inside their mobile outposts. The appeal is obvious—by their nature, food trucks have lower overhead (since they operate out of a small space), generally need fewer employees, and they have the flexibility to follow the demand.

    Fast service is a food truck specialty, and quick-paced food delivery from the kitchen to the customers is necessary to keep up with the high demand. However, food trucks shouldn’t only be fast on the customer end—they should follow suit in their back offices, as well. Food trucks can improve the speed of business by adopting the right technology to increase efficiencies, expand operations and drive sales.

    A Mobile POS System

    Mobile POS systems offer myriad benefits to those operating food truck businesses. First, these systems allow customers to easily swipe their cards through a mobile device—a much simpler solution than trying to fit (and operate) a large computer or register in an already tight space. The quickness of a mobile POS system also keeps transactions speedy so lines don’t clog up your flow during peak hours, potentially causing people to reconsider patronizing your truck. Features of many of these systems include the ability to process transactions online or off, tracking sales in real-time, easy management of inventory, and more. TouchBistro is one such system—it features automatic upsell prompts for employees, customizable receipts to encourage repeat business, and a self-ordering kiosk option to boot.

    Interbusiness apps

    Developing apps for customers is great, but food trucks can benefit by using interbusiness apps that can help streamline business processes. FreshCheq, for example, is a cloud-based platform that eliminates the need for clunky reporting and paper logs. It also helps easily monitor food safety when it comes to things like temperature checks, so your team doesn’t have to worry about frequent manual checks or unexpected health inspection visits. For all things financial, you’re likely familiar with (or have at least heard of) the business app Mint. This app is great for tracking business finances, particularly for food trucks looking to analyze profits on a day-to-day basis. Mint allows for easy expense tracking, automatic bill pay, budget setting, goal planning, easy purchase categorizing, and can easily sync with a brick-and-mortar location if need be as well. Level Money and LearnVest are similar products favored by food truck professionals for money tracking.

    Food truck locators

    Your food truck offerings can be the best around—but it won’t do your business any good if customers can’t track you down. Locator apps allow your staff to work smarter, not harder, by taking out some of the manual tasks associated with constant marketing and updating about where your truck can be found. Apps like Food Truck Fiesta, Food Trucks In, and Roaming Hunger boast offerings like a curated map of social posts for certain cities, email updates for fans, and a vendor portal for easy locating. 

    Event management software

    Managing catering, festivals, and company gatherings can be tedious work with a pen and paper. Not only are manual processes more time-consuming, but they often leave more room for human error, whether it’s a misplaced sticky note or an incorrect invoice due to an accounting mistake. Moving this process to a digital platform can instantly simplify this for both the customer and the company. Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe, a food truck brand out of Dallas, Texas, began using cloud-based event management software after realizing they needed a program that would help them stay organized while allowing them to manage growth and expansion to other cities. With this type of software, they were able to respond to lead inquiries more quickly (people often rent out their trucks to cater events), streamline their current booking process, and better analyze how their business is performing.

    Food trucksare a booming business trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. For those looking to hit the road with one of their own, these platforms and apps can help streamline processes, provide transparency, and help ensure success.

    Alex Lassiter is the co-founder and senior vice president of sales at Gather, an event management software company. Thousands of restaurants, venues, and catering companies use Gather to manage and grow their events business, serving as the anchor between management, events teams and their customers.
    Read More