Friday, August 17, 2012

Give New Food Trucks Some Adjustment Time

The California Love Truck has been out for about 3 months.
A few months ago my workplace agreed to have a food truck a day come to our location. Because of my close relationship with the Sacramento food trucks, I was asked to schedule them. My association also means that I'm able to get the newest trucks as soon as they hit the streets. But like any new restaurant, food trucks need a month or so to learn the ropes and make adjustments.

Any decent restaurant critic will not go out and give a thorough review of a new restaurant until it has been open a few months. Restaurants need to time to tweak the menus, train their servers, and figure out bugs in their system. 

The same is true with food trucks. I would argue that they sometimes have a more difficult first couple of months than restaurants do. After all, not only do they have to deal with the food/menu issues, but they have to learn the ropes of where they can park legally, securing bookings, estimating inventory correctly so they don't run out of an item while on the road, getting quick on order-to-service times, and loading and unloading their trucks each night.

My workplace has about 3,000 workers. I would say about 100 per day hit the lunch trucks. I overhear food truck conversations now when I'm at the gym, crossing the street, or waiting for my order. People know to email me or catch me in the hall to give me feedback. Sometimes I am a little frustrated when they give a truck just one chance.

Yes, first impressions are important, but so is feedback. Like any business, the trucks appreciate feedback before some critical posting on Yelp. Often they end up changing meat or bread supplies because they find out the product doesn't work well once they are in full production. A truck might also be tweaking the spice level - that fine line of having just the right spice level to appeal to the masses.

Starting any new business is risky and yet exciting. My philosophy? Give each at least two tries before you completely write them off.*

*Unless, of course, they are SOOO bad that it's absolutely unforgiveable.

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