If you own a food truck you know how competitive the industry can be. Colorful trucks with mouthwatering images can be found throughout cities, parked on side streets, in vacant lots and outside transit hubs where potential customers pass by. Capturing the attention of passersby is crucial if a food truck is going to be successful.
Text marketing for food trucks
There is a secret ingredient to attracting even more customers—text message marketing. Invite customers to join your subscription list and send them personalized coupons and special offers that they can redeem when they visit your food truck.
Food truck owners get a taste for texting
Texting adds a new flavor to your food truck business. Rather than scouring an area for a prime parking spot, or hoping that hordes of hungry people walk by, food truck operators are taking matters into their own hands with text message marketing.
Food vendors can send text messages with their current location and daily specials to customers using business texting software. Even a simple message to your subscriber list saying, “We’ll be in your area in 30 minutes” can drum up interested customers.
Texting software for mobile businesses
Business texting software includes desktop and mobile apps so you can send messages from your laptop or phone. The messages are sent using texting software, not the native SMS and MMS texting app on cell phones, so the messages are more secure and easier to track. However, customers will receive the messages on the native texting app on their phone so you know they’ll see it.
For more information and best practices regarding texting customers, read our blog post on why businesses shouldn’t use personal cell phones.
Customers are hungry for businesses to text them
Our 2019 State of Texting report found that consumers wished more businesses would text them. Take advantage of this fact and stand out from the crowd by reaching customers with texts that share news about your unique food truck. It just might have them beating a path to your door or, in this case, your window.
Competition among food vendors can be fierce, especially in urban areas where people live and work in heavily concentrated neighborhoods. Not only do food trucks need to legally secure a space to park on crowded city streets they also need to compete against other food trucks, sometimes entire rows of them.
If you’re able to land a prime spot outside a high-foot-traffic area you may not worry about drumming up business. But for most food trucks, finding customers can be a challenge. Neighboring trucks may offer similar cuisine, lower prices or serve exotic foods or fusion flavors that consumers are eager to try.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, over 300 cities across the United States have food trucks in operation, making it a 2 billion dollar a year industry. Startup costs average between $50,000 to $60,000 per truck, so advertising your business is a must. Text message marketing is a cost-effective option.
Let customers know your location
It won’t matter how good your food is if customers can’t find you. Send texts with your location, hours, and a few words about your specials to draw a crowd. If you’re near others, you may want to include a photo of your food truck to prevent customers from stopping by a competitor just because they’re on the way to yours.
What’s driving your marketing efforts?
Using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote your food truck is a common practice and a great idea. But those avenues require users to visit websites or monitor message feeds on their phones to see what you’ve posted. With texting, your business can send a message right to the native texting app on a customer’s smartphone, a place they already check and engage with throughout the day.
Most texts are read within 30 minutes, so if you send a text at the right time (a couple hours before the lunch rush or dinner hour) you can be sure it will be seen. On slow-traffic days, sending a text with an image of that day’s special and offering a discount code or free drink with purchase can do wonders for pulling in more business.
Occasionally sending a “last call” text an hour before you pack up could bring in diners who may be hankering for something but are still on the fence. Getting an alert on their phone that you’re open for business could be just the enticement they need to stop by and satisfy those hunger pangs.
Keywords feed information directly into the hands of consumers
Keywords make it easy for you to share information with consumers. Simply create a keyword that relates to what you think customers will want to know about. For example, you can let them know they can get a list of ingredients and/or dietary information about your menu by texting INGREDIENTS to your text line.
Promoting keywords will let customers know they can get more information. When someone texts your keyword, a message is sent with the information they requested. That frees you from having to answer questions when they’re standing right in front of you while others are waiting behind them.
Keywords provide a unique way to communicate with customers. Say you want to share what your specials will be for the week. As the example below shows, promote the keyword MENU and create a text that lists that week’s choices. When someone texts that keyword to your number, they’ll receive a text with your menu items listed. You can also promote other keywords and include photos in your text.
Scheduled messages let you send texts at the perfect time
When you own and operate a food truck you have a lot on your plate. Aside from preparing the food, managing a staff and maintaining your vehicle, you need to share the news that you’re open for business.
Text message marketing helps you get the word out. But sometimes the best time to send a message isn’t the best time for you personally. By using the scheduled message feature, you can create your text and schedule the date and time for it to be sent.
Text with staff members and your suppliers
You can also use texting for internal communication. You could call or email the people on your team, but a text message is the best way to reach them fast. Did an employee call in sick and you need to find a replacement pronto? Send a group text.
Texting your entire staff with a single group message is the quickest way to find out who’s available. Texting is also an effective way to reach out to food suppliers or vendors you rely on if you have an urgent request.
Respond to messages automatically
When you’re busy prepping for the day, you don’t always have time to respond to a text in that moment. With auto replies, you can compose a message in advance that lets others know you’re unavailable but will respond soon. The message is sent automatically which reassures the sender their message was received.
Ensure customers opt in to receiving texts
Before sending texts to customers, it’s important to make sure they have opted in to receive messages from your business. According to TCPA regulations (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), consumers willingly provide consent when they initiate a text conversation with you.
When you advertise your text number and a consumer texts it, they have automatically opted in to receiving texts from you. But you should only send texts that are in line with why they texted you in the first place, which is to get information about your food truck’s menu, location, etc.
For more information, download our handy e-book on TCPA compliance.
Zipwhip is the leader in Texting for Business™
Learn how business texting software can help food truck owners engage with customers quickly and affordably. Our easy-to-use apps for desktop, web and mobile allow you to text customers from wherever you work. Simply log in, upload your contacts and start texting customers using the intuitive automation tools.
Our direct connections with top-tier wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint set us apart from other texting platforms. For more info, visit Zipwhip today!