Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to bring you a guest post from Brian Casel, the founder of RestaurantEngine.com! You might remember Brian from last week’s podcast episode where he and Pat talked about why websites are so important for food trucks and the best practices you should follow to get the most out of your page. Good websites are truly an essential ingredient for successful FoodTruckrs, and we support what Brian’s business can do for yours. We’ve partnered with him to bring you this post, so all links to RestaurantEngine.com are affiliate links. If you sign up for Brian’s Restaurant Engine website service via those links, we will receive a small commission, which supports all our hard work here at FoodTruckr.
Brian’s here today to talk about the five essential elements every food truck website should have to turn online visitors into in-person customers. Take it away, Brian!
Your food truck may always be on the move, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a presence on the web. The fact that your restaurant is on the go means it’s even more important that your website keeps up!
In fact, it is because your food truck is always on the move that you need to have a website. Your website allows you to build your customer base and is vital to your success. Not only does it help turn customers whom you have served before into repeat customers, it also helps you attract new fans.
A website helps people find vital information related to your food truck: your menu, your hours of operation, and a schedule of locations where your truck can be found on a regular basis. Your truck may always be on the move, but your website is its permanent home.
In order to really make your food truck business boom, there are some essential elements your website must feature. Here’s a look at the five elements your website must have to ensure success.
1. Mobile Optimization
When you consider the fact that restaurants are the industry that is searched for most on mobile devices, it’s easy to see that you could be missing out on a ton of business if you don’t have a website for your food truck.
That said, your website needs to be mobile friendly. The text needs to be easily read on mobile devices. Mobile users need to be able to easily access pages. Your website also needs to load quickly on mobile devices.
Your restaurant is mobile. Your customers are mobile. Optimizing your website for mobile devices should be a no-brainer.
When it comes to mobile website design, the industry best practice is known as “responsive web design.” That means you have a single website that scales and adapts to fit any device and any screen size.
2. Google Maps
Because your location changes every day (and sometimes a few times per day), having a Google Map on your website is essential for your food truck.
Your customers will be able to easily find your location when you add this feature on your site—and when customers can find you easily, they’ll come to you more often. A simple location feature can clearly boost your success.
This feature is even better if your website is easily manageable so that you can keep your location updated at all times. If you use WordPress and you’re comfortable with editing some code or finding a plugin, this can be arranged pretty quickly. Our Restaurant Engine service (also built on WordPress) makes it easy to set today’s location right from your dashboard.
3. Photos of Your Truck (and Your Happy Customers!)
You’ve heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” right?
Well, in regard to your website, these words really ring true. When you feature pictures of your truck and your happy customers, new fans will be able to easily see just how awesome your food really is.
Post photos of your truck, the different locations you’ve been, your food, your menu, and customers who are happily eating your food. Strong visuals like these make customers’ mouths water—and soon enough, they’ll be racing to your truck for their next meal!
4. Raving Reviews
People rely on reviews before they make purchases, and food trucks are no exception. That’s why reviews are an essential ingredient of a successful food truck website.
Your customers are looking to see what people who have eaten at your food truck have to say about your eats. Feature the best reviews on your website in a place that is easy to find so new visitors can see why your most loyal fans keep returning.
Tip: You should also feature (and encourage!) reviews that mention local landmarks or hangouts. This drives home the local and mobile aspect of your truck and can help new visitors relate even more to what you have to offer. Social proof is a powerful tool in your food truck’s business arsenal.
5. Social Media
Lastly, you need to link your website to social media.
There’s no question about it—sites like Twitter and Facebook have become integral marketing components to everyone in the food truck industry. These social media giants help to spread the word about your business and attract an even larger customer base.
It’s important to have an active social media presence, but you should also be sure to link your website to your social media sites. Embed your Twitter stream right on your homepage and integrate Facebook and Instagram with your site. This keeps the content on your site fresh, as the pages will be updated whenever you post new activity to those networks. It also allows your customers to see what you’re up to directly from your website, which may keep them on your page longer.
6. (Bonus Element!) Add Online Ordering
If you really want to up your food truck’s game, integrate online ordering on your website. Your customers will be able to easily place their orders right from the web, saving them from time spent waiting in line and giving them a unique experience that they likely won’t find at other trucks.
Online ordering is particularly useful if your food truck serves a lot of local businesses. Many people tend to place large orders for their offices and will greatly appreciate the convenience of placing orders online through your website.
Need help creating a successful website for your food truck? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!
image by Phillip