The food and service industry has always been a high risk. The enthusiasm of the owner matters little if the establishment fails to attract clients. Every year, thousands of restaurants and cafés open and pass into oblivion. To ensure your food van does not meet the same fate, you will have to put in some effort.
The obvious factors like hygiene and courtesy need to be taken care of at all times and are not going to give you the edge you need. Other common aspects that are passed off as advice are often overused clichés – advertising, free meal coupons, offering catering services, etc. are just some of the conspicuous ways to increase sales. So instead of more of the same, here are some pointers on how to implement these mundane ideas for increasing sales.
- Small Talk, Big Results: Being courteous to your customers goes a long way, but try to go a step further and have a normal conversation with them while they wait for their order. A short and light tête-à-tête goes a lot further than the omnipresent service smile. Customers will always return and recommend you to their friends if you are genuine and show an interest in them.
- It’s All Connected: Take the conversations online. Introduce yourself or make announcements on social media, your website, or tweet about it. You could consider making short videos too. They could be about a wide range of topics – talk about yourself, introduce your staff, talk about how you chose your menu, give viewers an inside look at how you prepare your food, etc. Open a window into how you operate your business and clients will be able to relate easily.
- Adopt Tech: Be aware of what the latest technological buzz is and do some research on how you can use it to grow your business. Common but effective examples are using QR codes as meal coupons and discount vouchers. You could also paint a large QR code on the side of your food van to take customers to your website or social media page. The system is cheap and easy to set up and implement. Start integrating mobile payments. Cash is all good but credit cards are ever so slowly losing ground to modern payment technologies. This could even lead to partnerships with other businesses.
- Do Some Good: Think of a way to be useful to the community. You could put a ‘pay it forward’ plan into action. Consider giving discounted or even free food on special days near a mission home or church. Be sure to share it on your website and on social media. Just remember that it is not a sales pitch but social service. Your message and attitude should reflect that. The goodwill you generate can translate into much higher returns for you