Competition in the food truck industry can be fierce, so marketing your brand is crucial to success. With so many food trucks on the market, and likely in your city, you need to make your truck stand out to customers. The goal of marketing your food truck should be to create an instantly recognizable brand with a loyal following. We’ve laid out digital, word-of-mouth, and event marketing tactics for your food truck.
Establish Your Food Truck Brand
The first step to marketing your food truck successfully is creating a brand with a logo, website, and truck graphic. An established brand will help with creating a marketing strategy and a loyal customer following. Take your truck concept and develop a unique brand that distinguishes you from your competitors.
Deciding on a Name
Something that’s often overlooked is the need for your name to be completely unique so that it not only stands out, but is available on all platforms like social media, domain, and ads. If you want to check if a name is available on more than 30 platforms, use the site Namecheckr. This site lets you input your name idea and check on its availability.
A well-designed logo will show your brand off to customers and should be simple while also communicating your concept. It should be included on your truck wrap as well as things like merch, business cards, and food packaging. If you aren’t sure how to design a logo, look for local designers to work with that can make you a logo for a flat rate. There are also easy sites that allow you to work with a designer for a custom logo at an inexpensive price. Try 99designs as an inexpensive and helpful option.
We love these logos that food trucks have incorporated:
Take your logo and work it into a unique and attractive wrap design on the outside of your truck. Paint the truck to coordinate with your brand colors to further the message. A good-looking truck design will make your truck stand out among the crowds.
Customers need to learn about your brand and know your story. You’ll need a website to communicate your concept, display your menu, and list your locations and upcoming events. While your site doesn’t have to have all of the bells and whistles and be expensive, it should look polished and function well. Add your menu for download so that customers can access it any time, and consider adding links to your social media or a blog to make your brand stand out. This is also a great place for customers to get in contact with you directly. Check out a site that offers templated websites that are customizable usually for a small fee, like Wix or Squarespace.
Marketing Ideas for Your Food Truck
Use a combination of digital and word-of-mouth marketing to best reach your customers. Many food trucks utilize social media, festivals, or even loyalty programs to promote themselves. Think about your customer base and location to make your strategy fit your concept. Below are some ideas to start marketing your food truck.
Reach even more customers by offering delivery. Work with a delivery service to conveniently offer some of your menu items to customers that don’t have the time to visit your truck or are on the other side of town. This can expand your service location if you choose to park in a consistent spot.
Cater Local Events
Check out events that happen around your city that you could participate in. This is a great way to gain exposure and get people trying your food. If you’re able, offer to donate food to the event in exchange for some advertising. Or, sign up to be a vendor at an event alongside other restaurants or trucks.
Social media is ideal for interacting with your customers and giving them your location, specials, and other information. Use Twitter to tweet out your schedule for the week, answer customer questions, and show off daily menu items.
Popular City Centers
Park at central locations in your city during lunch hours and on weekends for great exposure. The key to every restaurant is location, and with a food truck, you pick where you’re open! Look for places in your city that other food trucks or carts park as a place to start. Be sure to research sales permits for public areas in your city, as every city has different allowances for this.
Serve at Festivals
In large cities across the US, there are food truck festivals with trucks from nearby cities come and set up. People come to festivals to try delicious food in a unique setting. Festivals are a chance to meet a wide variety of customers as well as get to know other business owners.
Once you have a loyal following, add your logo to a series of apparel and promotional items. Merch is great to build or expand your brand. You can sell things like t-shirts, cups, sweatshirts, and other branded items to supplement some revenue and spread your brand. Look into sites like Zazzle or Custom Ink to create branded apparel and more.
Run ads that appear within a certain radius of your truck during your open hours. When customers are within a walking distance of your truck, run ads to attract them to your business at lunchtime. These ads allow you to reach whoever is closest to you and may not have heard of your business. Start by setting up a Google Business Profile and learn about creating ads through Google Ads. This is an excellent place to start gaining authority and exposure to your business.
Small businesses benefit from encouraging repeat customers. Create a loyalty program that rewards your customers for returning to your truck and keeps you at the top of mind. Have a punch card that gives customers a free product after so many purchases, or set up a tablet that people can enter their phone number or email. This will give you their information for further marketing. Look into loyalty rewards programs for small businesses to find software that’s easy to manage and can keep everything in the same place for use.
More on Food Trucks
Starting a food truck business and don’t know where to start? Check out our content series on Food Trucks to learn more.
Looking to learn more about marketing your restaurant or truck through social media? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Social Media in our Resource Center.