The food truck business has never been more lucrative. After the economic slowdown of 2020 caused by the global pandemic, food trucks have been absolutely massive.
The fact that food truck owners have been doing well has not slipped the attention of those looking to get their foot in the door, bringing even more people to the industry.
- The estimated U.S. food truck industry market size is $1.48 billion.
- The estimated annual revenue of the U.S. food truck industry is $2.7 billion and continues to grow.
- Adults between the ages of 25 and 44 are the largest customer group, making up 43% of food truck spending.
- There are around 36,324 active food truck businesses in the U.S. as of 2023.
Now that the soil is again fertile, food truck owners are looking for marketing strategies to help them reach their target audience. The race is on, and there are plenty of chips on the table. If you’re a food truck owner looking to dominate your local industry, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’re going to explore why you need an effective marketing strategy and provide you with ten ideas to maximize your food truck revenue in 2023. If you don’t need any cajoling and are here just to get some inspiration, then feel free to skip this part.
Does My Food Truck Business Really Need Marketing?
Marketing is simply large-scale sales. You may be the best salesman to ever live, but going door to door and seeking sales will never be as effective as sending an email to hundreds of people at once or regularly posting on your restaurant’s social media. Marketing allows you to reach a far greater number of customers with far less effort. And once you know who your customers are, you’re already halfway there.
Good marketing allows you to turn a large percentage of those customers into actual sales. And that’s what it’s all about. In other words, marketing is crucial for the success of any business, including your food truck. However, to be able to market to the best of your ability, you might want to consider preparing a restaurant marketing plan.
- Building Awareness: Marketing allows you to reach a wider audience and let them know about your unique offerings, menu, and location.
- Attracting Customers: By promoting your business through various channels such as social media, online platforms, and local events, you can generate interest and entice people to visit your truck.
- Increasing Sales: By reaching the right target audience and effectively promoting your menu items, you can drive customer demand and encourage repeat visits.
10 Food Truck Marketing Ideas to Dominate With
To get the most out of the ten food truck marketing ideas listed below, we highly encourage you to review your restaurant marketing plan first. That way, you can avoid a lot of early blunders and poor investments. That said, if you already know what you’re doing and are simply looking for inspiration, we hope that you will find the below marketing ideas useful.
1. Establish an Online Ordering System to Maximize Sales
Save over 30% in commissions and use the money to fuel your marketing!
Building an online ordering system is a natural progression if you’re looking to truly own your business. Food delivery apps like Uber Eats or GrubHub can charge you well over 30% in commissions. When you have your own commission-free ordering system, you’re looking to save thousands in revenue.
An online ordering system includes a website and a mobile app that allow your customers to order food directly from you rather than through third-party apps. This makes it convenient for customers to place their orders ahead of time. This not only increases efficiency but also enhances customer satisfaction and saves you a lot of money.
The money you save on commissions can be used for promoting your restaurant through various online and offline channels. You can also make attractive last-minute offers to attract existing and new customers.
Importantly, starting an ordering system in this day and age is really easy. There are dedicated platforms that do just that without any coding whatsoever.
- Save over 30% on commissions
- Restaurant website and app included
- Own a branded, more recognizable software
- Apply changes at will
- Enhance customer experience
- Scale your business more easily
ordering in 5 minutes
2. Build a Website to Increase Your Online Visibility
Owning a food truck website is one of the best ways to put yourself on the map, both figuratively and literally. In essence, your website is your internet business card. It allows your customers to easily find your location. It also allows you to find new customers through SEO positioning. Most importantly, however, once connected to an online ordering system, it allows your customers to order directly from you.
By listing your website on Google, you’re making it easier for your customers to find you on other Google apps, like Google Maps. This, without saying, is something that can greatly improve customer experience and boost your sales.
You can think of your food truck website as your marketing hub. You can connect it to restaurant analytics software, link your social media, and use it to promote events and special offers. It’s the central piece of your food truck marketing.
Owning a website can bring a lot of new business opportunities and is the best way to develop your business on your own terms. And most importantly, it costs you next to nothing.
If you’re looking to build a website for your food truck but don’t know where to start, check out the 20 best food truck websites for inspiration. Also, when you’re ready to build the website, consider using a dedicated restaurant website builder. That way, you can scale your website by adding more restaurant marketing tools like restaurant analytics or a QR code menu.
- Online presence and visibility
- Online ordering and reservations
- Analytics and insights
- Marketing campaigns and promotions
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Location and schedule information
3. Reach More Customers by Boosting Your Social Media Presence
This is one thing that is absolutely mandatory. Why? Well, it’s free marketing! By maintaining an active presence and engaging with your audience on social media, you can attract new customers, build a loyal following, and keep your existing customers informed about your location and offer.
Social media provides a platform to showcase your food, share updates on your schedule and locations, and interact directly with your followers. It allows you to create a sense of community, build relationships with your customers, and receive direct feedback.
By consistently posting engaging content, utilizing relevant hashtags, and responding to comments and messages promptly, you can establish a strong social media presence that drives customer interest, increases brand recognition, and ultimately leads to more customers visiting your food truck. Make sure you’re being consistent with your social media presence.
Importantly, you can boost your reach and automate your marketing by using proper restaurant marketing software. That way, you can put more focus on the business side of things and make sure you reach your full potential.
- Increased brand awareness
- Expanded reach to a wider audience
- Direct communication and engagement with customers
- Opportunity to showcase enticing visuals of your food
- Ability to share real-time updates on location and offerings
- Enhanced customer loyalty and repeat business.
4. Encourage Repeat Business Through Loyalty Programs
Starting a restaurant loyalty program is one of the best ways to keep your existing customers happy. Create a loyalty program where customers can earn rewards or discounts for repeat visits or referrals. This encourages customer retention and word-of-mouth marketing.
A loyalty program incentivizes customers to keep returning and making purchases, which helps to build a steady and reliable customer base. You can also gather valuable data on customer preferences and buying habits, enabling more targeted and effective marketing strategies.
- Encourage repeat business
- Win loyal customers
- Increase customer retention
- Increase word-of-mouth marketing
- Gather valuable data regarding customer preferences
- Build more effective, targetted marketing strategies
5. Make Yourself Seen With Eye-Catching Branding
Effective branding helps create a distinct and memorable identity for your food truck. It enables you to stand out in a crowded market and make a lasting impression on customers. A well-crafted brand, including a unique logo and eye-catching design, helps you attract attention and generate curiosity among potential customers.
Food truck branding also helps build trust and credibility. A cohesive brand image instills confidence in customers, assuring them of the quality and consistency of your food and service. When customers recognize and trust your brand, they are more likely to choose your food truck over others, leading to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.
One way you can easily use your branding for promotion is by adding branded restaurant gift cards to your offer. By having them in stock, not only do you spread brand awareness but also reach new customers while generating revenue.
- Increased brand recognition
- Enhanced visibility and stand-out presence
- Improved memorability among customers
- Differentiation from competitors
- Professional and polished image
- Positive perception and trust from customers
6. Share Special Offers Via SMS and Email Campaigns
SMS marketing allows you to send targeted messages directly to customers’ phones, creating a sense of urgency and driving immediate engagement. It is an effective way to inform customers about your location, daily specials, or limited-time offers.
Email marketing enables you to build long-term relationships with customers by providing regular updates, exclusive offers, and valuable content. It helps foster customer loyalty, drives repeat business and allows for segmentation and personalization to deliver relevant messages.
Both SMS and email marketing are cost-effective, measurable, and efficient strategies that can significantly boost customer engagement and drive the success of your food truck business.
The best way to carry out SMS and Email marketing campaigns is by using dedicated restaurant marketing software. This kind of software also allows you to set up push campaigns, giving you an opportunity to reach your customers directly from your mobile app for restaurants.
- Restaurant sms marketing allows you to instantly reach your customers and is great for last-minute offers.
- Restaurant email marketing is a great way to reach your customers for free and build confidence.
- Both are cost-effective and efficient
- Both enable you to deliver targeted and personalized messages
- You can build long-term customer relationships and loyalty
- You can measure campaign results and receive data-driven insights
7. Win New Customers Through Reviews Sites
Reviews sites like Yelp or Google Reviews , allow your customers to share their experiences and provide feedback about your food truck. By actively monitoring and responding to reviews, you can address customer concerns, showcase your commitment to quality, and build a positive online reputation. This can attract new customers and increase trust in your food truck.
Restaurant analytics software, on the other hand, enables you to track and analyze data related to customer behavior, website traffic, and sales performance. It provides valuable insights into customer preferences, helps identify trends, and allows for informed decision-making to optimize your operations and marketing strategies. By leveraging review sites and analytics software, you can continuously improve your offer, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive business growth.
- Customer feedback and insights
- Enhanced online reputation
- Increased customer trust and credibility
- Competitive analysis and benchmarking
- Data-driven decision-making
- Improved operational efficiency and marketing effectiveness.
8. Diversify Your Audience by Collaborating with Influencers
By partnering with influential social media personalities who align with your brand and target audience, you can tap into their engaged following and leverage their credibility to promote your food truck.
Influencers have built trust and authenticity with their followers, making their recommendations and endorsements highly impactful. This form of marketing helps increase brand awareness, reach a wider audience, and generate buzz around your food truck.
There’s no need for you to reinvent the wheel. Check out this list of best restaurant digital marketing ideas for more inspiration!
- Expanded reach to a wider audience
- Increased brand awareness
- Credibility and trust-building through influencer endorsements
- Enhanced engagement with target customers
- Creation of compelling and shareable content
- Potential for increased foot traffic and sales
9. Express Yourself With the Coolest Food Truck Signs
Food truck signs serve as highly visible and eye-catching marketing tools that attract attention and draw in potential customers. Well-designed signs with appealing visuals and clear brandings can create a strong first impression and generate curiosity.
Importantly, food truck signs are a great way to broadcast your food truck brand to your customers. Food truck signs may also provide essential information such as the name of the business, menu items, and pricing, making it easier for customers to understand what is being offered. This helps to establish a sense of transparency and allows customers to make quick decisions about whether they want to try the food.
As a side note, keep in mind that the hero image on your food truck website is just as important as your physical food truck sign. Make sure to make it count. If you’re looking for inspiration, make sure to check what the 20 best food truck websites look like.
- Increased visibility and attracting attention
- Effective advertising and brand promotion
- Communicating essential information to customers
- Creating a professional and polished image
- Generating curiosity and interest among passersby
- Encouraging impulse purchases and attracting new customers.
10. Attract New Customers Through Cross-Promotion
Collaborate with other local businesses, such as breweries, coffee shops, or farmers’ markets, to cross-promote each other. This can involve offering joint discounts or hosting joint events to increase visibility for both parties.
You can be creative and don’t have to cross-promote exclusively within the restaurant industry. One of the most prominent examples of cross-industry promotion is McDonald’s and Disney. See what other food truck owners are doing and see if you can do it better.
By collaborating with complementary businesses, food trucks can tap into new customer segments and expand their reach. Cross-promotion allows for mutually beneficial partnerships, where both parties can leverage each other’s customer base to increase brand exposure and drive foot traffic.
For example, partnering with a local gym or fitness studio can attract health-conscious customers to your food truck, while offering exclusive discounts or promotions can incentivize their customers to try your food. This strategy not only expands your customer reach but also builds credibility and trust through the endorsement of trusted businesses.
- Expanded reach to new customer segments
- Increased brand exposure and visibility
- Access to a larger customer base through partner businesses
- Building credibility and trust through endorsements from trusted businesses
- Cost-effective marketing strategy
- Strengthening community relationships and collaborations.
- The food truck industry is going through a post-pandemic renaissance, which can be noticed in the growing number of businesses and industry revenue.
- Food truck marketing is an easy way to enhance sales and improve your business.
- Online presence is key in the era of digital marketing. By owning a food truck website and social media, you can greatly increase your brand’s visibility, ultimately reaching more food truck customers.
- You can now use dedicated restaurant marketing software to automate your food truck marketing for maximum efficiency.
- If you’re not entirely sure which marketing ideas match your brand, you might want to consider preparing a food truck marketing plan.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Even though there are hundreds of different food truck marketing strategies, there are some that seem to outweigh others in terms of effectiveness. Below is the list of the seven best food truck marketing strategies to consider:
- Social Media Marketing
- Eye-Catching Branding
- Participate in Local Events
- Collaborate with Other Businesses
- Loyalty Programs and Discounts
- Food Truck Catering
- Online Ordering and Delivery
Focus on creating an eye-catching and memorable brand identity through appealing visuals. You’re looking for a distinct logo and a well-designed food truck exterior. Next, use social media to promote your food truck on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Be consistent in showcasing enticing food photos, sharing your location and schedule, and engaging with potential customers.
Participating in local events, festivals, and community gatherings can also draw people to your food truck, as it provides an opportunity to connect with a diverse audience and showcase your offer.
Make sure to prioritize exceptional customer service, as word-of-mouth recommendations and positive online reviews are influential in attracting new customers. By consistently delivering delicious food, providing a pleasant dining experience, and building a strong brand presence, you can attract people to your food truck and establish a loyal customer base.
Foods that tend to sell well in food trucks can vary depending on the location, target audience, and specific menu offerings. However, some food items seem to be more popular than others:
- Tacos: Versatile, flavorful, and portable, tacos are a favorite among many food truck customers. They can be filled with a variety of proteins, vegetables, and sauces, catering to different tastes and dietary preferences.
- Burgers: Classic and satisfying, burgers are a staple in the food truck scene. Offering a range of patty options, toppings, and sauces allows for customization and appeals to a wide range of customers.
- Street Food Specialties: Street food items like gourmet hot dogs, kebabs, empanadas, or falafel tend to be popular due to their grab-and-go nature and unique flavors.
- Ethnic Cuisine: Food trucks often excel at offering diverse ethnic cuisines such as Mexican, Korean, Thai, or Mediterranean. These options provide customers with a chance to experience authentic and flavorsome dishes in a casual setting.
Ultimately, understanding the preferences of your target audience, conducting market research, and experimenting with menu options can help you identify the specific food items that will sell the most in your food truck. Regularly seeking customer feedback and adapting your menu to meet their demands can also contribute to the success of your food truck.
While there are various ways to market your food truck, one of the main and most effective methods is through social media marketing. Social media platforms provide a powerful and cost-efficient means to promote your food truck, engage with customers, and build a loyal following. By utilizing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, you can showcase enticing food photos, share updates on your location and schedule, interact with customers through comments and direct messages, and leverage user-generated content through hashtags and mentions.
The food industry is overflowing with high-quality restaurants. In order to get ahead of other food trucks, you’re going to need to follow a couple of principles. To attract more customers and boost food sales, consider implementing the following:
- Serve delicious, high-quality, and visually appealing food. In the end, nothing leads to repeat business as effectively as great food.
- Provide exceptional customer service. People love to feel welcome.
- Encourage and collect customer feedback. Use resources like Google Reviews and Yelp.
- Set competitive and attractive pricing and offer discounts. Understand the market and price accordingly.
- Market your food truck through social media and local promotions.
- Offer a convenient online ordering system and delivery options.
- Implement a loyalty program to reward and retain customers.
- Engage with the local community to build relationships.
- Continuously innovate your menu and adapt to customer preferences.
To effectively market your food truck, you’re going to have to gather data regarding food truck customer demographics, psychographics, purchasing behaviors, and more. However, to collect all the data you need, you’re going to need a food truck marketing plan