Thursday, August 26, 2010


Food Network's New Show Proves
Local Store Marketing & PR is Key to Success for Food Truck Competitors

My neighbor and Food network star, Tyler Florence is the host of a new show, The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. I caught last night's episode in New Mexico. If you haven't seen it, the eclectic mix of food truck teams drive from town to town and state to state feeding consumers food truck delights such as Cajun, French, Vietnamese, crepes, burgers, pressed sandwiches and more. The object of course, the food truck that brings in the most bacon wins the grand prize of $50,000. Tyler is the host (cute as ever), and he gives the teams an envelope with cash--in last night's episode, there was only $300. With this little per diem, each team had to purchase their groceries in an unknown town and create menu items that only called for a total of $300 or less, and had to turn this into sales while competing with the other food trucks within 24 hours.

Not to give it away, but the Food Truck team which in route to New Mexico called the local newspaper in the town where the food trucks were converging landed an article in the morning newspaper. They also called ahead to partner with a local retailer in the area and with the poor weather, their awning provided shelter for the line that wrapped around their building . The news generated lines from the minute they opened their food truck until they ran out of food.

The show was also a great lesson to restaurant operators contemplating getting a food truck. At the Western Food show in Los Angeles recently, there was a Mobi Munch food truck that was taking orders for franchising and crowds touring through the cool rig parked in their booth. As I watched the show last night, I wondered if food truck wannabees realize how difficult it is to find just the right parking spot, let alone generate sales of walk-by traffic in a new town. It proves very tricky for some, such as those food truck teams that parked in the wrong spot and missed a lunch rush. They ended up discounting and practically begging the few people that happened to walk by. It was tragic.
With food trucks you can't rely on good food, you have to do real marketing! Great job to the food truck team that won last night! They deserved it and it proves that partnering, reaching out to the local media-public relations and doing local store marketing will garner great returns!
This is why my book, "Recipes for Restaurateurs" is working for restaurant operators during the tough economic times. Partnering and public relations are both recipes I include in the 300 page marketing manual-like book. It is inspiring to see real-life examples of it working on the Great Food truck Race!

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