#FoodTruckFan: How to Sell the Cost of Better Ingredients

On Wednesday in the “How to Start a Food Truck” series, we wrote about the importance of quality ingredients. As a customer, I wholeheartedly second that.

I’m sure that as a business owner, you constantly feel the tension of ingredient prices. Do I buy the cheap grocery store-quality tomatoes, or do I buy the fresh-from-the-local farm, $3 more per pound tomatoes? Will my customers even notice the difference?

To some people, there’s no difference between the two—at least not one they’re willing to pay for. They want your sandwiches to be cheap, fast, and good enough. Essentially, they want you to be Subway.

Let them eat at Subway. You don’t want these customers.

Why? Because you can’t compete—at least, not where it matters to them. You can’t compete with a massive chain restaurant on price. So don’t.

Where you can compete is on quality. The customers you want, the ones who will become loyal, reliable customers, recognize quality and will pay for it. And these aren’t all “foodies” either. Your average office worker will choose fresh over Subway—they just need to understand the value.

This brings us back to my favorite topic, one that I continue to bang on like a cheap drum—tell your story. Tell me why you choose higher quality ingredients.

  • Use your social media to show us the farm stands where you buy your food.
  • Put up a sign next to your menu labeled “Today’s Local Ingredients” and tell us where they’re from.
  • If you use grass-fed beef, tell us! (I will always choose that burger over a regular one.)
  • Cross-promote with other local businesses. If you use a local bakery, include “All baked goods from Awesome Bakery” in exchange for a sign at Awesome Bakery that reads “Proud supplier to Mindy’s Sandwich Truck.” Share a little of the Awesome Bakery story on your social media.
  • Hold joint events with your favorite suppliers—celebrate the anniversary of the Awesome Bakery by parking outside their shop on a busy Saturday morning.
  • It’s okay to get a little frisky now and then! Tweet out a picture of your beautiful $8 sandwich next to a disappointing $4 Subway sandwich with the caption “Your choice: fresh or fast.”
You May Also Like...  4 Ways a Website Brings More Hungry Customers to Your Truck

The farm-to-table movement continues to grow. The photograph above is one I took this summer at Wise Acre Eatery’s farm dinner, an event I have not stopped talking about since August. The event has made me a customer for life, because they did everything right.

  • They educated me about the food and what it takes to produce high quality ingredients.
  • They introduced me to other local businesses, including a brewery and a cheese producer.
  • They told me the story of their business and why the food they produce is important to them.

I connected with the Wise Acre Eatery mission and I now view myself as part of their extended family. Their success matters to me.

Now, there is an equilibrium you need to find. If the going rate for lunch in your downtown area is $6, you can’t jump in with an $18 offering and expect massive sales. Educate your customers over time on why quality matters. Try wording like this:

  • Freshness matters! All our bread was fresh-baked today at Awesome Bakery.
  • When possible, all produce is purchased from local farmers.
  • Because it makes a better omelet, we only use organic, cage-free eggs.

I’d love to hear how you educate your clients on the freshness of your ingredients. Share with us below.

###

Image by Mindy Holahan

Recently on FoodTruckr

3 Things That Are Going To Get You Into The Food Truck Industry Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to present a post from Jeremy Adams. Jeremy is the President/CEO of Prestige Food Trucks, which is the world's leading custom food truck manufacturer. In his current...
5 Things That Are Likely On Every Food Truck Owner’s Mind As a food truck owner, you have a lot on your mind. It's attached to the job description, really. After all, you are a business owner, and business owners tend to have a million different things ra...
3 Reasons Why Your Food Truck Business Should Hire A Social Media Expert Is it finally that time? Is it finally time to hire a social media expert at your food truck business? If so, just know this: You are not alone. So many business owners in the food truck industry (...
How to Run a Food Truck 09: Prepare for the Off-Season Today marks the start of Unit 3 in the “How to Run a Food Truck” series, and we think you all are really going to love these next few lessons. For the next month on FoodTruckr, we’ll be talking about ...
FS027: How to Keep a Food Truck in Business with Yvonne from Brown Shuga Soul Food Warning: Your mouth might water just hearing about this food truck. Brown Shuga Soul Food has been serving up pulled pork, ribs, mac-n-cheese, and more for nearly four years, and Chef Yvonne Ander...
Food Truck Owners Need To Give It Everything They’ve Got In 2018 Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to present a post from Jeremy Adams. Jeremy is the President/CEO of Prestige Food Trucks, which is the world's leading custom food truck manufacturer. In his current...
2 Things New Food Truck Owners Should Add Into The Mix Right Away Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to present a post from Jeremy Adams. Jeremy is the President/CEO of Prestige Food Trucks, which is the world's leading custom food truck manufacturer. In his current...
FS009- How Craig Expanded His Food Truck Business into Catering and Classes In this episode of FoodTruckr School, I'm very happy to introduce you to Craig Barbour, owner of the Roots food truck in Charlotte, North Carolina. Craig's background in the catering industry b...
10 Things That Might Be On A Food Truck Owner’s Mind With Fall Approaching Everyone has different thought processes and everyone's business is different. After all, fall might be approaching and the busy season is coming to a close, but that doesn't mean every food truck ...
Must-Read FoodTruckr Articles From 2018 While FoodTruckr has featured plenty of tips, tricks and motivational pieces in 2018, we encourage food truck owners to check out the collection of articles below. Must-Read FoodTruckr Articles From ...
10 Food Holidays Mobile Kitchen Owners Should Watch Out For In February 2018 Can you believe it's almost February? It seems like it was just yesterday when we were celebrating the new year that is 2018. We hope your year is off to a great start, FoodTruckrs, and we also hop...
#FoodTruckFan: What Makes Food Trucks So Special? I've been giving this question a lot of thought in the last nine months, since Pat first told us about his plans to start FoodTruckr. What is it, really, that makes food trucks so special? It's food.....
How to Start a Food Truck 02: Decide What You’ll Sell Last week on “How to Start a Food Truck,” we explored the business model differences between food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants to help you decide which one best fits your vision for life an...
Being Your Own Boss & Holding Yourself Accountable As A Food Truck Owner Everyone dreams of being their own boss, but not every career allows that dream to come true. The food truck industry does. As a food truck owner, you are, in fact, your own boss. However, that als...
Outside-The-Box Ways For Food Truck Owners To Incorporate Marketing While everyone's food truck business is different and every food truck owner focuses on different marketing strategies as a result, we want to highlight five articles that were published right here on...

About the Author

Avatar

Mindy Holahan is a staff writer and the #FoodTruckFan columnist. Indeed, she’s a big ole fan of food trucks, particularly if they sell fish tacos. She has a background in the hospitality industry, loves working with writers, and gets positively giddy about the intersection between cooking and science. Follow her on Twitter @HolaMindy for daily bouts of enthusiasm or on Instagram @HolaMindy for her adventures and epic failures in gluten-free baking.

Love it? Share it: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter