Three ways franchisors are using food trucks to expand

food trucks expand brand
Food trucks deliver multiple benefits to brands. (Source: Supplied)

Savvy franchisors are spotting the benefits of branded mobile restaurants as the US food truck trend is replicated in Australia. Today more than 5,000 food trucks are believed to be operating across the country.

Sole traders are being joined by global brands, serving up delicious food and meeting customers where they are.

Food trucks offer a range of benefits, including comparative speed to market from a bricks and mortar store. They expand the customer base with a presence at festivals, sports facilities, breweries and wineries.

How food trucks help grow a brand

Food trucks can also offer a strategic approach to a franchise brand’s growth in three ways.

1. Testing and research

A food truck makes it economically feasible to explore and test locations for future opportunities of a storefront. Spending time in different parts of an identified locale can help determine optimum location and the size and demand of the local market.

Trucks can operate in a few potential sites and observe consumer and competitor behaviours. The food truck can serve as an extension of a store by servicing the neighbourhood in less central areas, such as a business parks. Trucks can attend local events, and even provide private catering.

Food trucks are not the only mobile option. Food trailers, and 20ft and 40ft containers, also offer a transportable solution. These small footprint options have the ability to deliver high output.

Like a food truck, these flexible alternatives allow testing a market and area before committing to a long commercial lease.

2. Reach new franchisees

Food trucks offer a significantly lower cost of entry, an appealing option for new franchisees, or franchisees ready to expand.

Building and equipping a food truck requires far lower costs than setting up a brick-and-mortar store. There are also minimal ongoing expenses, so there is the potential for higher margins.

When operating as an extension to an existing location, there is opportunity to increase sales during lunch and dinner rushes by operating out of two kitchens at a convenient distance from one another.  

3. Branding

Food trucks also serve as a moving billboard, leveraging and building brand awareness as they drive around, and alerting consumers to a local presence. When parked and serving, they offer a positive brand experience at a community level. Food trucks can serve as a testing ground for new menu items before being rolled out across the franchise network.

The interest in food trucks from consumers and the restaurant industry shows no signs of abating. A US National Restaurant Association survey reported 59 per cent of respondents agree they would be likely to visit a food truck if their favourite restaurant offered one. That’s up from 47 per cent the previous year.

Bella Manufacturing has been servicing Australia as one of the leading custom food truck manufacturers for more than 30 years. Every premium commercial vehicle fitout is custom designed to meet individual business needs. Vehicles are built entirely in Bella Manufacturing’s Australian factory using local materials where possible. To find out more about the potential of custom food trucks for your business, visit our website.