Your restaurant business is booming, and you’re ready to expand. The traditional option involves opening a second brick and mortar restaurant location, but the growing food truck trend opens up a new avenue for getting your food in the hands (and mouths) of more people. Weigh the pros and cons of investing in a food truck for your restaurant expansion before deciding how to invest your money.
Built-in Brand Recognition
Opening a food truck as a way of growing a restaurant business gives you an advantage over new food truck startups. Locals already recognize your restaurant name, so seeing it on the side of a food truck gets them excited. Now, instead of going to a single restaurant location, your fans can find you at different locations. A food truck offers greater flexibility than a restaurant because you can target different areas of your city or even nearby towns and cities. People who may never drive by your restaurant location now see your logo on the truck. You get more exposure for both of your locations than you do with a traditional restaurant building.
New Business Opportunities
The flexibility of a food truck opens up new business opportunities and options to go in different directions than your traditional restaurant. You can easily serve up your specialty dishes at local festivals and fairs. The mobility of the truck lets you easily cater private events as well. In some cities, food trucks gather in a busy commercial area during the lunch hour, so office employees have a wide selection of food options. You also have the option to focus on a particular type of food or a few signature dishes instead of offering your entire menu.
Another key reason to consider a food truck expansion is the lower costs when compared to opening another brick and mortar restaurant. Buying a food truck is significantly cheaper than purchasing or leasing a commercial restaurant space. That smaller investment makes it easier to make a profit on the new venture, and that helps your bottom line. Another cost factor is staffing. Food truck dining is quick and casual, so you don’t need servers, hosts and dishwashers. The size of the truck means you can only accommodate a few staff members inside at once, and reduced staffing helps control the overall cost of running the additional location.
Drawbacks to Consider
The overall prospects of adding a food truck to your restaurant are good, but understanding potential barriers helps you make a clear decision and avoid potential problems. One potential issue is working with a much smaller cooking area in a food truck. You’re used to running a restaurant with a full commercial kitchen, so you and your staff may need to adapt your approach to creating food. It’s crucial to maintain the quality of food coming out of the food truck since it’s associated with your brick and mortar location. If the quality doesn’t live up to your reputation, it could hurt your restaurant traffic.
A food truck also requires maintenance to ensure it runs efficiently. You’re spending money on gas and power to run the mobile commercial kitchen, and you need a place to store the truck when it’s not in use. Working out of a vehicle requires you to think about things you’ve never had to worry about with your traditional restaurant.
If you decide you’re ready to open a food truck, you can use it to expand your existing restaurant location in new and exciting ways. Address the potential drawbacks in the planning stages to avoid bumps in the road when you expand your business.