A Lesson in Food Truck Design: How Not To Suck (Part 2.)
Welcome to part two of “A Lesson in Food Truck Design: How Not to Suck.” In part 1 we went over three ways to get a design crafted for your food truck business. Today we’re going to focus less on the “how” of your design and more on the “what” as I’ll be going over:
- Important items to include in your design
- The most common mistakes I see made in food truck designs
- And more practical advice on designing your food truck
First of all I want to cover the basic elements to include in your design. Most of these are obvious but would definitely suck to forget, and as the lesson title alludes to, I’m trying to teach you how not to suck at designing your food truck.
So here’s a list of things to include, or consider including, in your design:
- Your truck’s name & logo (duh)
- Contact phone number
- Social media icons with addresses/usernames
- Truck’s website (if you don’t have a website, click here for tools on setting up a basic website for your food truck)
- Manifesto or mission statement
Now, most of those are pretty obvious but I just wanted to get that off my chest before really digging in. Now I want to go over some mistakes I see over and over again in food truck designs.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to be apathetic about your design. I’ve encountered a number of food trucks that don’t spend enough time considering their design for whatever reason. Some don’t want to spend the money obtaining a quality design. While others believe that their food will speak for itself and that true fans won’t care what their truck looks like. There are so many things wrong with this mentality.
The design and branding of your truck is one of the most important aspects of your food truck business. Often, people eat from food trucks simply for the experience. They’ve seen an episode of Eat St. or GAFTR and want to go experience it for themselves. So they show up at a gathering of 4 or 5 trucks, and how do they decide which truck to try? They choose to eat from the food truck that looks the most interesting. If your truck doesn’t look interesting, you will lose out on countless customers. Your food may be outstanding, but if your truck looks like a bucket of bolts, or just plain boring, potential fans will be turned away and you will miss out on gaining new customers.
I can’t stress enough how important the design of your food truck is.
2. Poor Planning
Another mistake I often see in food truck design is poor planning. One thing most new entrants don’t realize is anything you put on the service doors will not be visible to customers. While you’re serving, your doors will be up, eliminating about half of the useable design space of the service side of your truck. Therefore you must place all important design elements above, below, or to the side of the service doors.
Notice with the Slider House (pictured below) I chose to fill the service door area with unimportant filler text that simply lists different ingredients and a tagline. The important items, such as our name, web address, and social media info is strategically located where it will be visible at all times. I’ve also included a QR code that links to our Yelp page and asks customers to rate their experience.
If you compare this to my first attempt at designing a food truck (shown below) you’ll notice I made the mistake of only putting the name of the truck on the service doors. Now, about 90% of Tortally Tasty’s customers have no idea what the name of the truck is, even after purchasing a meal from us.
With Tortally Tasty we decided to get a half wrap instead of a full wrap to cut costs. You’ll notice that only the top half of the truck is covered with a design, and most of the design lies on the service doors. This means that when the doors are up, it’s mostly a plain white truck. After doing this once with Tortally Tasty, I decided to get a full wrap with the Slider House. The difference in price is roughly $2,500 verse $5,000, but in my opinion you get more for your money with a full wrap. Being able to cover your entire truck with a design gives you so many more opportunities to leave an impression on customers and to get your message across.
Well, that’s all I have for you today.
To summarize, in this post we discussed some practical items to include in your food truck design, as well as the 2 most common mistakes I see in food truck designs (including my own!).
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post it’s this: Having a good design for your food truck is integral to your success as a food truck operator, and DON’T put anything important on the service doors! I guess that’s actually two things.
If you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson, click the social media icons below the post to share FTBHQ!
In the next, and final, part of this series, I’ll discuss how to develop a clear concept for your food truck business’ brand identity.