Freezing temperatures and icy roads can be very troublesome mobile food vendors during winter. Not only do we have to deal with the snow, ice, and cold temps – but mobile food businesses have the double whammy of lower sales too!
But despite these setbacks, you can use the winter season to maximize the other aspects of your business instead of putting your food truck in hibernation.
The down time during winter months gives opportunity for owners to do maintenance work on their trucks. It can be easy to put off having symptoms looked at and especially when your current sales are down. But a clicking sound now could turn into a broken CV joint in summer – and it could break and leave your truck not running when you need it the most. During winter is a great time to do maintenance work not just to take advantage of the down time but also as a precaution against the drastic effects of cold weather to food trucks.
Work on Recipes
Even if Mother Nature insists on trapping people indoors, you can still push your food truck business forward by creating new or improving current recipes. Test variations of dishes or incorporate new ingredients give interesting twists that attract more customers or enable you to increase prices. Improve or streamline food preparation process to save time and effort. The winter is also a great time to do experiments and test recipes to lower costs without sacrificing quality and taste.
Network and Connect
Some food truck scenes have more of a sense of community than others. Even though you can look at restaurants and mobile food vendors purely as competition, having a relationship with them can also benefit your business. Customers tend to try other offerings and it is highly unlikely that they will only eat from one type of food truck.
During the lean times of winter, make connections with non-competing businesses (like those offering a different category or cuisine than yours) that can compliment your products. Having a relationship with other entrepreneurs can also give you vital information about great vending spots and suppliers you did not know before.
TLC for Family and Yourself
Running a mobile food business year-round can become so demanding that some entrepreneur put all their time in the venture. Though dedication is great and a key to success, even the most hardworking entrepreneurs deserve a time off. Winter can be the best season to spend more time with your family or take a personal vacation. Some people think that taking a break can hurt their business and feel guilty to do it.
Having time off should not be seen as a liability but as an investment. Use the down time afforded to you by the winter season to strengthen relationships and most importantly, recharge your mind and body. Studies have shown that respite activities can improve productivity and creativity. Even if you already do this, don’t feel guilty recharging yourself for the next season.
Hunt for Deals
Another great thing one can do during winter is deal hunting for equipment and supplies. Finding great suppliers can take a lot of time and effort that entrepreneurs may not have during busy months. Price, reliability, stability, and competency are key indicators in finding business partners for your equipment and supplies.
In addition, suppliers can be an important source of information about competitors’ actions, evaluation of new products, and promising trends or opportunities. Strive to create lasting partnerships with great suppliers that can help you cut cost (offering discounts or free shipping), improve your products or services (by suggesting good alternatives), and even spread the word about your business. A great supplier wants you to succeed as it can lead to more business for them.
SPRING IS COMING SOON!!!
As harsh as the winter has been these past months, food truck owners should not be dissuaded by the cold temps and lower sales volume. Just like the seasons with its highs and lows, running a mobile food business can be cyclical. Just stay positive, proactive, and passionate because, whether in nature or in business, those who can adapt are those who will survive.
What tips do you have? We’d love to hear them. Tweet to us or comment below!