Starting your own mobile food vending business can be both very rewarding and enjoyable. The following tips may be able to help you to be more successful.
Introduce your new business to the area
As soon as you get your permit and set up your new hot dog vending cart in the area, start advertising. This will get the ball rolling for your new business.
Design and print out some high quality flyers. Take them around to the local businesses in the area. This will familiarize them with you. You might even want include a picture of yourself with your new hot dog vending cart. This will allow your new potential Customers to recognize you instantly. There are several places you can hand off these newly printed flyers:
- Business Mailboxes.
- Community Information Boards.
- Delivered Directly to Business Owners, Managers, Receptionists, or Employees of local businesses.
Be sure to dress neatly and maintain professionalism while visiting your neighbours as you are making the important first impression of your mobile food service. The flyer should be simple and quickly attract the eye. It is widely known that you only have a few seconds to attract a potential Customer’s attention before they discard the flyer. The following are tips in designing a high quality flyer:
- Print out the flyers on bright, colourful quality paper.
- Keep the flyer one page in length and single sided so as to be easily posted.
- Include all pertinent information such as a menu, location, hours of operation, and a mobile number for phone orders.
- You may want to include that your hot dog vending cart is fully licensed and meets all the local regulations.
- To jump start your business offer an introductory special such as free pop (with purchase), free snack (with purchase), or even a buy 1 get 1 free deal.
Be dependable to your Customers
Your Customers will rely on you. Become a part of your Customer’s daily routine. You can build a loyal customer base by being there on time and ready to provide food during your busiest times of the day.
Be friendly to your Customers
Greet each customer with a cheerful smile. A smile can be the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity, besides it costs you nothing. Get to know your regular Customers by their first name. You can even take this a step further and remember their favourite food and drink. This allows you to build a good rapport with your customer. Theses Customers in turn will spread the word about your quality service and draw new customers to your business. The best advertising is generated by word of mouth.
Keep a clean work area and uphold a good appearance
It’s not surprise that people are disgusted by a mess where they buy food. Clean your hot dog vending cart daily. Begin a routine to clean the cart with mild soap and water before and after each day. Make sure to clean all your equipment including the condiment holder and trays. Keep your clothes and personal appearance clean and tidy.
Maintain a high quality product
A good reputation is priceless. Don’t risk your reputation by cutting corners and selling old product. The rule of thumb is that if you are not willing to eat it, don’t try and sell it to your Customers.
Know what your Customer wants
Choose foods and condiments that reflect the local culture. This may include grated cheese, onions, hot peppers, relish, spicy sausages, chilli, hot mustard, etc. Some Customers may also be more health conscious than others. Talk to your Customers, ask them if you are missing anything such as food items or a condiment. Take note of their responses, and update your menu accordingly. They will be pleased to see that you listened and this will build loyalty with your Customer.
Post a highly visible easy to read menu and include a price list
Most people need to see a complete menu and prices before they are willing to buy your product. This menu will save you time from repeating and explaining your menu, especially during the busy hours of your day. It allows your Customers to be prepared before they order. It is known that most Customers decide their purchases while waiting in line.
Mount your menu to a highly visible spot. If your hot dog vending cart has a roof, you may want to hang it so as to be visible even from the end of a long line-up. If mounted to the body of the hot dog vending cart, use Velcro and a Plexiglas cover (to keep your menu clean and dry). Make sure to have it made professionally. It shouldn’t cost you much and it will keep your business looking professional.
Get in touch with a vinyl graphics company. Ideally you will need a few large high quality signs for your hot dog vending cart. These signs will help attract new Customers and identify you and your business.
In the big city you may have numerous competing mobile vending businesses. In order to stand out from the rest you can utilize some of the following techniques:
- Setup a radio and play some catchy music.
- Tie a bright colourful helium balloon to your hot dog vending cart.
- Use any talent you may have to attract people to your hot dog vending cart (ie. playing drums, playing a guitar, juggling, etc).
- Hire someone (even a trustworthy passerby) to hand out coupons or simple menus down the street from your location.
Be humble to neighbouring businesses
Do not interfere with your neighbours business, instead make it compliment and enhance their business. Be respectful and polite. Include a trash can for your Customers and clean up the surrounding area at the end of the day.
Take phone orders
Post your cell phone number on your hot dog vending cart and keep a phone order log sheet. Have business cards made up that you can give to customers for them to have so they can call their orders in ahead of time. Print off some simple page menu sheets like take-out restaurants do.
Many workers are so busy that they prefer to call their food orders in ahead of time and just pick them up.
Often one person will pick up lunch for many. They save time not having to wait. You avoid long line ups and generate more business. Its another way to adapt to your customers needs and develop a loyal customer base.