Food Truck Advertising: 10 Ideas To Get Your Wheels Turning

Marketing 24 minute read 4th March 2022

Lately, we’ve all noticed the rise in food trucks — on roadsides, at events, and everywhere in between. For business owners, they’re a lower-risk way to enter the culinary industry. If you’ve thought about opening your own mobile business, you’ll need food truck advertising ideas to keep customers lining up

There are so many different types of marketing campaigns out there. So how do you cut through the noise? With this guide.

We’ve put together cost-effective (and just plain effective) strategies to market your food truck. Plus, we’ll cover why this is the industry for you and how to set yourself up for success.


Why Open a Food Truck

If you’re considering becoming a food truck owner, you already see the massive appeal of these eateries. You know they’re convenient and trendy for customers, but did you also know that they’re a massively lucrative industry?

The latest food truck statistics show the field’s continued growth and success rates. Food trucks produced an annual revenue of $2.7 billion in 2022. Since 2018, the industry’s grown by almost 10%. As mobile food businesses continue to rise in popularity, now’s the time to get in on the action.

On top of that, food trucks have lower overhead costs and easier operations than traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants. If you get everything right with your marketing, you could have profit margins of up to 40%.

The Ideal Audience for Marketing a Food Truck

To understand the ins and outs of marketing a food truck, you must know who you’re selling to.

According to research, people aged 18-34 are the most likely to order from food trucks.

Food truck owners should approach their advertising strategy from a Gen Z and millennial perspective. If you’re in this demographic, consider what you like to see in a business. What makes you want to visit one restaurant over another? Or when you’re at a food truck park, how do you choose taco truck A over taco truck B? Do you want to eat only the most popular types of restaurants, or do you want something different?

If you’re outside of this demographic, conduct your own market research. Look at the top brands that Gen Z and Millenials gravitate towards. Or the next time you’re at an event with food trucks, get in on some people-watching.

Even without that, you can safely assume which marketing channels to focus on the most: social media marketing. These two generations rely on social media more than any other generation before them. On top of that, they grew up with the internet, so they know how to make the most of it.

Does this mean you’ll forgo other marketing strategy angles? Of course not. After all, your food truck exists in the real world, not just the digital world.

As much as Gen Z and millennials value a great social media presence, they also value an experience. You want to create something memorable that they tell their friends about. (And something they’ll share on their Instagram stories.)

Therefore, a good food truck marketing strategy focuses on a holistic experience while using technology where possible. Do this correctly, and you’ll secure not only new customers but loyal customers as well.

How Much To Spend on Food Truck Advertising

We’ve established the ideal audience for your food truck business. The next question to ask yourself is: how much should I spend on my marketing and advertising budget? The answer depends on your financial situation, the market size in your area, and labor costs.

However, as a general rule, businesses should allot 3-10% of their total budget to marketing efforts. The idea behind this number is that you’re not throwing all your money into one pocket of your strategy. It shouldn’t even make up the largest portion of your budget.

You want to find advertising methods that give you the most “bang for your buck.” In short, you want to attract customers and gain the broadest reach possible for the lowest amount of money.


The 3 Things All Food Truck Businesses Should Have Before Advertising

We’re almost ready to walk you through our top food truck marketing ideas, don’t worry. But before that, we have a quick checklist for you to consult. There are three things all food truck businesses should have before even thinking about ads and promotions:

  1. A brand identity
  2. A mission statement
  3. A sturdy business model

When you build your food company, these things should already be in your mind. They should inform your business plan and function as a guiding light when you hit bumps in the road. Keep scrolling to learn more about each of these three factors.

1. Discover Your Brand Identity

Every food business, whether a physical food truck or a sit-down restaurant, needs an identity. In fact, all businesses need a brand identity. What we mean by that is you need to create a personality for your business.

What makes your truck different from the next one? How will people remember it? What’s the feeling you want to create with your food? That’s what branding is: it’s creating a tone, voice, and x-factor unique and customized to your business.

Branding runs through everything you do. It goes into the way your truck looks, menu item names, the aesthetic of your social media platforms, etc.

Select a theme for your restaurant and a signature dish to solidify your place in the food truck scene. From here, create a powerful visual theme for your brand. Hiring a graphic designer is a cost-effective way to elevate your food truck beyond the competition. Everything from your packaging to your vehicle itself is a marketing opportunity.

Having a clear brand identity also makes advertising more accessible. If you have a clear perspective and process, you’ll know how to find marketing solutions to fit that.

2. Solidify Your Mission Statement

Branding goes hand in hand with a mission or vision statement. A vision statement is your “why,” aka the underlying reason why you and your company do what you do. It should encapsulate why you own a food truck, what you want to accomplish, and long-term goals.

Similar to why having a clear brand identity is crucial, mission statements should ground your practices. Even on your worst days, you should be able to look at your vision statement for motivation to push forward. It should also be so strong that it inspires your food truck operators and other team members.

3. Make Sure Your Business Model is Sound

Last but not least, make your food truck’s business model rock solid. To clarify, we’re not saying it has to be 100% perfect and set in stone. It needs to be adaptable so it can hold up when unexpected things come up. You need to know what you’re doing and have the data to back it up.

Work on developing a business plan first and foremost. Once you have that, then you’re ready to pivot into food truck marketing.

10 Food Truck Marketing Ideas

At last, you’re ready to pick out the best food truck promotions and advertising ideas for your company. We’ve picked out ten effective, low-cost, and industry-standard strategies. As you go through this list, think about how you would apply these methods to reach your target audience.

Write down anything that comes to mind and keep that with you as you meet with other team members. Of course, feel free to use these with other inspiring marketing campaigns for restaurants and food establishments. You can always branch off from these ideas as your business grows and flourishes. Without further ado, here are the ten best food truck marketing ideas.


Elevate Your Social Media Presence

We’ll say it again: your target audience is on social media, so you should be too. Creating a food truck page on Instagram is a great way to start, and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Start by securing your food truck’s handle (or as close as you can get) for brand consistency. Then, ensure you have a profile picture that accurately represents your business. We recommend using your logo if you have one or a picture of your truck if you’re not there yet.

Next, update your bio with relevant information, like what kind of food you sell in what areas. Pop in your hours of operation or a link to your event schedule. If you have a regular menu, add that link as well.

Aim to post at least 3-5 times a week and focus on high-quality, simple, and clear photography with catchy captions. Be sure to use relevant hashtags relating to your food truck, too.


Make Use of Influencers

Foodie influencers and food trucks go hand in hand. For one, locals trust these micro-taste makers. For another, they’re incredibly social media-savvy.

Take your food truck social media strategy to the next level with influencers and food bloggers. You can find them by searching location-based tags on Instagram or Facebook.

You can attract their attention by offering them free food in exchange for posts about your truck. Or (depending on your budget), you can pay them to post your food on their social media pages too.


Build a Website for Your Food Truck Business

A website is an integral part of a strong food truck marketing strategy. Your food truck’s website is your online hub. Customers who visit it should easily be able to tell what kind of food you serve, where, and when.

Build a mobile-friendly site with developers or use an easy website builder like Squarespace. Additionally, some online ordering systems like Square and Toasttab offer restaurants ways to build websites from an online menu.

Share your menus and create blog posts with relevant keywords to the foods you sell and the location you serve. This is the foundation of an SEO strategy and allows your customers to find your food truck on search engines.


Utilize Location-Based Marketing

If you plan to have a regular site for your food truck catering service, look into location-based marketing. This strategy (known as proximity advertising) allows you to tap into user information via WiFi, cellular data, and Bluetooth.

You’ll learn what people in that area like, their buying and eating habits, and demographic insights. Using data capture, you can advertise to folks via notifications, texts, or by learning where else to put up ads.


Create a Loyalty Program

A loyalty program is a smart way to secure returning customers for your food truck. Research shows customers spent twice as much with companies offering loyalty rewards.

Need an example? Try giving out free meal punch cards. Once a diner buys nine dishes from you, they’ll get the tenth one for free.

Or perhaps you want to capitalize on the importance of Google reviews for small businesses. You could offer exclusive discounts to customers when they leave an online review. That way, you’re not only building up loyalty, but you’re also increasing your positive reputation with more people.


Hold Contests and Events

You don’t need to have a big budget to create an event that makes a splash in the market. Simply advertise that you’re cooking something special on a game night. Or hold a competition to see who can eat the most of a particular food. Get creative and have fun with this food truck marketing method.


Connect with Community Events

Events are the bread and butter of all food trucks. Local music festivals, food fests, public fairs, and farmer’s markets are ripe with potential customers.

To participate in these events, reach out to the community. Contact your area’s small business associations, and follow organizations’ social media pages that put on events. Actively search the internet and local ads for upcoming events and calls for food trucks. You can even connect with other food trucks if they have any advice.

Start small if you’re not ready to grab the attention of a large festival or event. Visit food truck-friendly places, like open-air cinemas, a local brewery, or parks. Talk to the other business owners and figure out how you can serve up your food to their customers.


Consider Food Delivery

Want to keep your food truck going even when you don’t have public or private events to cater? Then try food delivery. If you have a strong social media presence and a smart website, you can take online orders through those channels. Then you can run food to customers or have them pick it up.

You can also use a food delivery app to increase your market reach. If you do this, we recommend consulting with other food trucks to determine which service has fewer fees. That way, you’re not cutting into your bottom line unnecessarily.


Go Back to Basics With Print Ads

Food truck marketing isn’t only in the digital space. Don’t forget about the effectiveness of a print ad. Buy a batch of high-quality, branded leaflets and posters. Then, take them to local stores and venues.

(This is another perfect opportunity to network and help out your food truck catering company with word-of-mouth advertising.)

Or, if you want something more official, contact your local newspaper about issuing a press release for your restaurant/food truck.


Email Marketing

Before wrapping up the best way to advertise for food trucks, we must shout out email marketing. Once you create an email list, you can use customer segmentation to create personalized emails for your different audiences.

You can send memos about sales, discounts, and exclusive customer events. If you’re in people’s inboxes at the right time, you’ll remind them to visit your food truck or stand.

Where To Advertise Your Food Truck For Events

Now that you know the “how,” let’s talk about where to advertise your food truck for events. We’ve already mentioned that social media platforms are worth all the hype for food truck ads. So instead, we’ll focus on in-person locations you should consider.

  • Parks and public outdoor spaces like a farmer’s market
  • Shopping centers
  • Other restaurants and food establishments
  • Visitor centers
  • Libraries, museums, and other family-friendly locations
  • Bars and breweries
  • Trendy boutiques and thrift stores

Use this location list as an initial brainstorm for attracting more customers. But feel free to think of another place that aligns with your food truck audience.


Food Truck Advertising With Wifi Marketing

We hope this one-stop shop guide helps you build up the food truck customer base of your dreams. If you’re still looking for another food truck advertising method, consider WiFi marketing software tools for restaurants like Beambox.

WiFi ads and marketing are innovative ways to increase sales, drive website traffic, and build your customer base.

All it takes is small steps like offering guests free WiFi when they visit your location. They’ll arrive at your chosen webpage when they first join your network. You can select your email list’s website, menu, or signup page. They get free WiFi, and you get a new way to expand your reach.

Start your Beambox free trial today and begin growing your food truck business.

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