#FoodTruckFan: Getting Unstuck & Finding Your Next Big Idea

Running a food truck is an inherently creative endeavor, from the crafting of the recipes, to creating a visual brand for the truck, and especially to conjuring money for truck repairs out of thin air. Creativity, as we’ve all experienced from time to time, can be exhausting. We spin our creative wheels, but like a truck stuck in mud, we just can’t seem to get anywhere.

How do you find creative traction when you get stuck?

As I prepared to write this post—and as my own creative wheels were spinning a bit—it occurred to me that it can be hard to find new ideas in an insulated environment. I think about food trucks a lot, and so do you—and consequently some of my ideas for you may have a certain sameness about them. (Or perhaps I’m just ready for enough snow to melt so that my favorite trucks will come back to my street.)

In an effort to bring you new ideas, I conducted an informal poll of a group of my friends who don’t think about food trucks all day, to get their impressions on food trucks. The hard part about leading a focus group, formal or informal, is learning to be quiet and listen. It’s challenging, when you’re the group “expert” on a topic, to have the humility to let other people talk, too.

I’ll admit to you—I nearly blew it. My friend Katie brought up event catering (Did I know that food trucks can cater events?), and immediately I launched into a bunch of facts about the catering side of a food truck business.

You May Also Like...  #FoodTruckFan: Guilty Pleasures

“This is a dead end,” I thought after five minutes. “I don’t have any new ideas.” Of course I didn’t have any new ideas! I was the only one talking! I needed to hear Katie’s opinion, not my own, and so I asked her to tell me about the wedding she had been to, and then I shut up and listened.

Over the next fifteen minutes, my friends gave me great insights into how they, as casual consumers, view food trucks. I learned about:

  • Their concerns as parents (“I’m looking for food that my kids will find fun but isn’t so sugary they’ll be hyper the rest of the afternoon.”)
  • Their fear of the unknown (“The first time I tried a food truck, there were so many trucks with really long lines that I felt anxious about choosing.”)
  • And why they love events with food trucks (“I get to choose what I want! It’s much more exciting than a buffet!”)

And then, right at the end, Kristin gave me the gem I was looking for. “When it comes to weddings, food trucks are the new photo booth.” That statement, right there, is marketing gold—and I never would have come up with it on my own.

The next time you get creatively stuck, conduct an informal focus group.

  1. Find a group of non-experts. Talk to your book club, your PTA or church group, or even your extended family at the next holiday.
  2. Start the discussion with a question. “Have you ever eaten at a food truck?” “Have you ever been to an event with a food truck?”
  3. Don’t talk except to ask clarifying questions. Focus on any mentions of emotions—this is where you’ll learn why people do what they do. “What about the long line of food trucks made you anxious?” “Why were you excited to see food trucks at the wedding?”
  4. Write down any brilliant ideas you have. Trust me, you won’t remember them later.
You May Also Like...  #FoodTruckFan: How to Sell the Cost of Better Ingredients

Now go forth and get unstuck!

(Oh, and you can use that line about photo booths.)

###

Image from SteveInTheUK

Recently on FoodTruckr

3 Key Ingredients Food Truck Entrepreneurs Should Focus On This Summer 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...
FoodTruckr Heroes: Stripchezze We’ve talked before about how important it is to get involved with your local community—and today’s FoodTruckr Hero is a great example of how you can attain success by embracing the people, places, an...
Ingredients That Foodies Can’t Get Enough Of We all love food -- that is just one of the facts of life. However, what are some ingredients that foodies can't live without? While everyone's tastebuds are different, there are certain ingredient...
Food Truck Business Advice Galore For The Month Of August The month of August is among us, which means the busy season in the food truck industry might be going strong ... but it will also be over before we know it. That might be music to your ears, and i...
The Importance Of Having A Website For Your Food Truck Business When you are just breaking into the food truck industry, the amount of worries are endless. For example, you have to be an expert when it comes to inventory, customer service, sales, social media, etc...
How A Food Truck Owner Can Stay Ahead Of The Schedule Whether you are a food truck owner or a 9-to-5 worker, it is crucial to stay ahead of your schedule. This isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially if you are a food truck owner and find yourse...
Let There Be Food Trucks: Why Cities Need to Relax Their Food Truck Rules Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to present a brand new guest post from Emily Farnan. Emily is one of the writers at MakeItCheaper.com, a UK-based website dedicated to helping business owners find n...
FS011- A Successful Start (and a Cold Winter!) With Tony from Rig-A-Tony’s In this episode of FoodTruckr School, we're very happy to welcome Tony Fumarolo, owner of Rig-a-Tony's, a relatively new Italian food truck that serves the community of Fort Wayne, Indiana. As ...
Flashback Friday: This Food Truck Serves Up Pizza In Alaska Year-Round This week's edition of Flashback Friday is about to get frigid, because it takes us all the way back to Oct. 20, 2016, a day in which FoodTruckr interviewed a mobile kitchen that makes pizza in Alaska...
Business Quotes That Are Perfect For Food Truck Owners 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...
Unique Ways To Increase Food Truck Sales 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...
Breakfast Food Truck Items That Will Turn You Into A Morning Person There are morning people, and then there are ... well, non-morning people. With that in mind, there are things that help people manage the pains of waking up early in the morning, such as a nice cu...
3 Ingredients To Create The Perfect Environment For Your Food Truck Employees 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...
What One Ingredient Would Make Your Food Truck Business Better? 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...
Ingredients You Should Incorporate As Your Food Truck Business Grows Achieving success is not an easy feat in the food truck industry, yet here you are ... doing exactly that. Now that you're starting to see success, you might be wondering how you can sustain said s...

About the Author

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