Food trucks continue their upward trend, dishing up exciting new ideas that now include something entirely different — namely, research analytics.
What started as a maverick approach to dining now attracts corporate and chain restaurants, too. According to an article in entrepreneur.com, some industry experts expect 10 percent of the top 200 restaurant chains to have a mobile presence in the next 18 months. Probably because 59 percent of consumers say they’d visit a food truck if their favorite restaurant offered it (survey by the National Restaurant Association, September 2011).
This trend has many of the characteristics of the pop-up store phenomenon we covered in a recent blog.
There are important lessons for restaurant owners to learn from food trucks, especially when you dispatch them strategically.
Validate site selection. If you’re an established restaurant chain that wants to expand without committing to bricks and mortar and a food truck is the answer, site selection needs to be spot-on. Predictive modeling based on geo-locating capabilities can help you determine the viability of potential sites, and rule out cannibalization possibilities from other restaurants you have in the area.
Test new concepts. Thinking about deviating from your standard menu? Need a way to test consumer tastes under a new brand? Household-level analytics can tell you which cities to go into, and even which neighborhoods, office parks or community events, based on customer tastes, driving preferences and much more.
Update your brand image. Like retail stores, restaurants are all about what’s exciting and new. Relatively inexpensive, low-risk food trucks let you offer your customers a different experience — one that you can track and market around before you commit to more expensive, cost-intensive approaches.
If you roll out a food truck, the right analytics can help ensure you’re pointed in the right direction.