Food trucks are coming to Vancouver in droves, and with them a whole new culinary scene for brand building. Not only do these trucks provide unique food and beverages, they are also a great opportunity for creating unique brand experiences.
Your food truck’s brand will always be a reflection of the quality of your menu and service—no exceptions. By Brand, we don’t mean having a great logo, tag line or food truck design. It more about how your customers feel when they interact with your staff and your food.
How to Brand a Food Truck
When developing a Food Truck brand, you’ll need to ensure that you stand out from the crowd, while drawing a crowd and make sure your brand has sizzle!
Too many times, I’ve made a stop in at a food truck, only to be faced with that soup kitchen scenario from Seinfeld…trying to figure out the truck etiquette—which cue is for ordering and which is for pickup? And where do I pay? The most successful food trucks have a small menu and prepare those items well, this limits costs and allows the staff to focus on their building their brand through customer interaction.
Why Food Truck Branding Matters
Branding is critical in that, when it’s done right, all future communications become much easier. The first questions you’ll want to answer when branding your food truck is, “Who are we, how do we want customers to feel and what do we want to be known for?” By developing a strong brand purpose, your communication will remain consistent, and help guide your customer service.
Communicating your Food Truck Brand
The streets are busy and people are in a hurry, so ensure that what you have to offer is clearly communicated. As I drive or walk by your truck, if I can’t figure out what type of food your serve in five seconds or less, I’m going to the next truck.
There are tons of food trucks out there and in order to truly stand out you can’t just have the best designed truck or the most catchy name, you have to offer something unique. Don’t just tell me your fresh and organic…that’s not different. You’ll need to drive home a great idea!
Consider serving food that is totally unique. Research your competition and look for something that’s currently not being offered in your local area. Find something new by researching local, national or international trends and bring something innovating and exciting to your marketplace.
Advice from the Pros
Allison Torneros, head of Los Angeles-based branding studio Circle Dot, talks about her experience working with The Great Food Truck Race competitor Nom Nom. They worked to to develop a very strong presence in their communities. “One thing that will put you ahead of the game is a strong brand that customers can trust,” she says. “Think of what, aside from your menu, sets you apart from every other food truck and really sell it. For example, Nom Nom’s brand is cute and lighthearted, whereas a truck like Grill ‘Em All is heavy metal. When a food truck’s brand is likeable, followers will go out of their way to find them on the streets. Without a strong brand, you’re simply selling food most people could buy at a regular brick-and-mortar restaurant.
The Socially Savvy Food Truck
Social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook are particularly useful for food truck vendors because it allows you to communicate to targeted, local audience. You can engage fans, get feedback and share your brand story.
Social media also allows customers to engage in the thrill of “the chase” as they track the location of their favourite food trucks. This “chase” adds a bit of old school nostalgia people love – remember chasing the ice-cream truck when you were a kid?
Ultimately, if you want to build a lasting crowd for your food truck, put your time and money into creating a compelling brand before you set out on the road.
Hey we even found a doggie food truck!! Awesome!
Article by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog