A food truck business not only serves delicious edibles to consumers. It also forges lasting connections with customers. For example, a custom food truck with a unique menu and strategic location may build a base of customers who come back as frequently as every weekday. Owner-operators and staff who exchange stories and personal details with customers while prepping food deepen those connections. Often, customers begin to think of their favorite food truck as an indelible part of the community.
Embrace that perception through donations, volunteerism, event organizing, local sourcing, sponsorships, or other efforts. But don’t just think of it as a marketing strategy. Genuinely give back to help others, and you may be surprised by what happens next.
During the pandemic, some food truck businesses have been compelled to help out. Q’s Taco Truck recently made national news by partnering with the Pechanga Tribe to provide free meals to hundreds of frontline hospital staffers in Riverside County, California. Remix Kitchen in New York crowdsourced donations to feed frontline workers at Coney Island Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and Sloan Kettering Hospital. And multiple food trucks, all part of the Richmond Food Truck Association, served the homeless on Christmas Day, in Richmond, Virginia. These owners wanted to give back in part to show their appreciation for the support they received from the Richmond community during the pandemic.
Donating free meals is a fairly obvious way to give back. If you’ve been struggling, though, to keep your own head above water, you can follow the example of Remix Kitchen and crowdsource donations. Or you may be able to find a business or wealthy individual willing to partner with you to provide your meals to those in need. However, that’s not your only option.
You and your staff can volunteer at local nonprofits that support causes you care about. You can also lend the name of your food truck business to those causes. For example, if you support a nonprofit that provides senior services, you can not only volunteer your time to help the seniors under their care. As a small business owner, you can also help them advocate for funding, legislation, and other resources they may need by adding your business name to a sign-on letter or calling a local lawmaker on their behalf.
You can also organize events (incorporating your food truck, of course) for causes you care about or promotions you’re launching. You might roll out a new Christmas-themed menu by providing free Christmas cookies with every purchase and having a Santa near your truck with whom kids can take pictures. Or you might partner with a local food truck trade association for a press conference at your truck on the effects of the pandemic on the mobile food industry. The possibilities are limited only by your available time and imagination.
Buying from local producers is another way to strengthen your community ties. When you buy local, you have the opportunity to build new relationships in your community, who may return the favor by patronizing your truck, referring customers to you, or helping you locate other needed supplies at a discount. With small business food suppliers facing stiff competition from corporate giants like Sysco and Wal-Mart, local producers will likely be happy for your business, which can set the stage for a long, mutually beneficial relationship.
Many of the community events we take for granted, from kids’ athletic leagues to street fairs, are mainly funded by community members. Small businesses are often provided the opportunity to support these kinds of activities through sponsorships. In exchange for a financial or other donation, businesses are provided one or more opportunities to promote their brands at the event. For example, if you sponsor a Little League team, you may be able to have your brand’s signage at your home field and even incorporated into their uniforms.
Getting involved in your community can significantly boost your standing, which can impact your bottom line. By engaging with your customers each day, your food truck business has already become a part of the fabric of your community. But giving back is not only a natural extension of that with positive marketing benefits. It’s good to do on its own merits.
Build Your Own Custom Food Truck
If you’re looking to expand your existing food truck business, or even build a new one, look no further than Legion Food Trucks for high-quality custom trucks for your business. Contact us today or click here to learn more information about your next food truck.