What do successful food trucks, brick oven manufacturers, and restaurants all have in common? A desire to produce what customers want and need is at the top of the list. With the rapid increase in food truck start-ups, we’re constantly being asked for tips on how to do it properly. For this post, we decided to talk with our friends atConcession Nation, a food truck fabricator that is at the top of its game, consistently creating gorgeous, highly functional, and successful food trucks. We’re proud to have them feature our portable pizza ovens, and here’s what they had to say:
The top 5 tips for running a successful food truck:
Create a product that your customer wants
It may sound like a no-brainer, but many businesses were started on the basis of offering the same product, the same way, to different customers. While this approach can have success within a certain niche, being able to provide what your customer wants in the way that they want it, is a win-win solution for everyone. Operations Manager Larry Altavilla confirmed that like us, Concession Nation focuses on designing products specifically to meet their customers’ needs, whether they need a truck that is geared for left-handed operators, or want to fulfill a particular design dream, their customers know that they can rely on Concession Nation to deliver quality while making their visions come to life.
Foster a friendly environment that feels like “family”
When we interviewed Larry he said that “Marra Forni is more than just a partner, they are a close business relationship.” He went on to say that we are one of the top places that they recommend for brick ovens – especially when customers have specific needs. Concession Nation also puts a paramount on treating clients as part of a family and believes that their support and service is what has made them so successful for the past 16 years. Just like with our ovens, it is nice to know that if you have concerns and questions, someone will be there to effectively address them for you.
Eliminate the need for extra labor when possible
Whether it’s standard or tile, rotator or static floor, gas or wood-fired oven, they feel that there is a Marra Forni oven to fit mobile pizza oven clients’ needs. One of Larry’s favorite pizza ovens is our rotator pizza oven which he says, “is amazing and works well with mobile businesses.” Many customers prefer the rotator because it makes it easier for a small staff to make pizzas, or whatever they are cooking and run their business. With a static oven floor, for example, if you are making pizza, a skilled pizza maker needs to be twisting and rotating the pie to perfection in order for it to turn out properly. With the rotator, on the other hand, the oven takes care of that for you. In a trailer you usually have 3 people working. One usually takes the orders and handles the money, another will prep the food and a third will cook it. With limited space and staff, being able to eliminate the need for more hands-on deck is a great advantage, both because help is hard to come by nowadays, and because you need skilled pizza-makers to run regular ovens properly. As brick oven food trucks continue to grow in popularity, this is an important factor to consider.
Do as much as possible in-house
Larry told us that doing everything in-house – even their graphics is one of the keys to their success and a factor that really distinguishes them in the marketplace. In addition to cutting costs, doing the work in-house helps companies to offer smoother operations, better quality control, and exceptional service. This is a philosophy that translates well into the world of both commercial pizza ovensand food trucks.
Stand by your customer’s side
Concession Nation prides itself on being by its clients’ side until they are completely comfortable and confident with its products, and pizza oven trailers are no exception. While this is another credo that we share, you may be wondering how that fits into running a food truck where customers simply grab their food and go. Well, there are actually several ways that this is still relevant. Making sure that the food is presented to the customer in the way that they can most enjoy it is one. Another way is by “accompanying” customers through life events that translate into additional business opportunities. A satisfied customer with a small, simple purchase could invite the truck to cater an important event, or offer them a fixed time in front of an apartment building complex, business office, or residential neighborhood and advertise for them. This additional endorsement, coupled with word of mouth from satisfied clients, will set you up for success.