The winter season is one of the most difficult for many food trailers because there is significantly less foot traffic and customers are less likely to wait out in the cold for their food. As a result, many food trailers shut down for the season, but there is still an opportunity for your food truck to be profitable. We came up with six easy tips that you can implement to prepare your food trailer for winter and ensure that your business can stay open and popular during the chilly months.
Before implementing these tips, it is important to get your customers' advices.Since your guests are the ones waiting in line for your food, talk to them and find out what you could offer that would make braving the freezing temperatures worth the wait. This can be done simply by having a conversation with your regulars or by sending out a survey via email or paper and offering an incentive for completing it.
Here's our list of six easy things you can do to prepare your food trailer for winter and ensure that your business can stay profitable during the winter season.
1. Winterize your food trailer
Icy conditions and low temperatures affect more than just your clientele, and you need to make sure that your food trailer is prepared for the chilly winter months. One essential piece every food trailer needs in winter are good snow tires. Food trailers are heavy and prone to slipping and sliding when driving in inclement weather, but snow tires provide more traction to make driving safer. You will also want to make sure the sidewalks and pathways to your truck are clear of snow and safe for customers to walk on. It may be a good idea to install heaters inside your food truck as well, so your employees stay warm and comfortable during the winter season.
2. Offer catering services
One way that you can offer your food and also build up your food trailer's brand is to cater weddings, parties and other types of events. Catering events will bring in much needed income in the slow season, and it also gives you a chance to reach people that may have never eaten at your food trailer before and potentially convert them into new customers.
3. Sign up for local events
While events in the winter months aren't as plentiful as they are in the summer and spring, that doesn't mean they should be overlooked. Local gatherings like winter carnivals, tree lightings and holiday showcases can be valuable business opportunities as they generally draw in hungry and thirsty crowds that are looking for something to eat on-site. You should also find out if neighboring towns and cities host monthly events like "First" or "Fourth Fridays," since this will also bring in large groups of people despite the cold temperatures.
4. Create partnerships with local businesses
One of the best ways that you can keep your food trailer profitable in the winter is to make partnerships with other local businesses. For example, you can work with a bar that doesn't offer food to provide hungry customers with delicious treats. Another option would be to reach out to local corporations and large office buildings and see if they'd be willing to do a catered lunch or allow you to park outside their building. You can also offer incentives such as free drinks or discounts to employees to help bring more people out to visit your trailer.
5. Offer seasonal options
The slow winter season is an excellent time to try out new dishes, but, when you're designing new recipes, you want to offer things that are seasonally appropriate. For example, you could debut a new Mexican hot chocolate or a hearty turkey chili. But you will want to stay away from frozen foods or anything that is going to cool your customers down.
6. Find a regular stop
When the weather is nice, people are more likely to go out for lunch and walk around, so it's best that your food trailer finds a spot with consistent foot traffic. In the winter people are less likely to travel long distances for food, so it's imperative that you find a central location that is visible from office buildings. Once you've found your spot for the day, you can also post on your food trailer's social media accounts so your fans know where you're located.
Winter is the most difficult season for food trailers because there is less foot traffic, so there are fewer potential customers, but this doesn't mean that your food trailer needs to shut down for the season. By changing your menu, working with local businesses and searching for events and catering opportunities, you can stay open and continue to make a profit. So instead of closing your food trailer for those chilly winter months, take heed of these six tips and you can keep your food trailer profitable year-round.
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