So you want to learn how to plan a catering truck menu? Planning a menu is one of the hardest parts of the food truck business. No matter where you are at in opening a restaurant business, you can load your truck up with all different sorts of goodies, but you will be stuck with rotting food if people do not buy what you stock. Knowledge of what will sell and understanding what your customers want is the key to a successful catering truck business, so follow the instructions below to plan your catering truck menu accordingly.
Starting a small business with a catering truck is a good start. Planning your catering truck menu is fairly easy. You can start by just asking someone familiar with the area that your truck route is in and ask them what your demographic buys and what they do not. If you are buying a route, ask the seller or the person that previously serviced the route these questions. If the route is new, research the type of people that you will be serving. For example, if your catering truck is going to more industrial areas, you should venture into that area and find out if there is a dominant ethnicity represented. Create a custom ethnic food menu to match your customers' expectations.
How to start a business? Your next step should be to locate the local commissary, which is a facility that provides food and beverages to catering trucks and businesses. In a commissary, you can buy hot food, sandwiches and all of the other items necessary for your catering truck operation.
It is always a good idea to adjust your menu to match the time of day. If you are selling in the food in the morning, you should offer some type of breakfast fare such as scrambled eggs. Biscuits and gravy are also appropriate choices. The afternoon and evenings will bring out people looking for sandwiches and hamburgers. Meat dishes and mashed potatoes and gravy are also good to stock later in the day, and provide customers with the feeling that they have had a full hearty meal. Include seasonal vegetables in your menu, changing the variety on a regular basis. Pizza is always a safe choice because so many different types of demographics already enjoy this food. Ask around at your local pizza parlors and I am sure that you will be able to secure some great deals for wholesale pizza. Pizza restaurants will usually be very happy to have your pizzas ready for you at a certain time every day.
When you are planning a catering truck menu, remember to stock a variety of soda and packaged snacks. These types of food have a long shelf life, and a good selection of these items almost always sells better. Make sure you offer both diet and non-diet varieties, as well as fruit drinks and ice tea. There is a wide range of different tastes in all areas, and you want to try to carry something for everyone. The same idea can be applied to snacks, such as cookies and chips.
It is also a great idea to include some different varieties of high-quality hot beverages. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages will always be your biggest and most important selling items. It is widely known within the catering community that a catering truck that sells bad coffee is bad advertising, so remember to only serve fresh coffee. If you have a long route, pull over and make a fresh pot. Hot chocolate, especially during the cold months, is also a good seller and is easily stored in individual serving packets. Stock a variety of tea bags as well, ranging from black to green to herbal varieties. To complete your hot beverage service, make sugar, sweetener, cream and creamers available to your customers. Keep three different sized cups so your customers can obtain the size they desire.
Try to add some variety to your menu by planning a different special each day if possible. It will not take long before the people on your route get to know your daily special and begin to look forward to trying out some tasty specials. You can try experimenting with popular specials such as: spaghetti, Chinese food or Polish sausages to see what type of cuisine works best with your customer base.
Lastly, an item often overlooked and something that a smart catering menu should also include are several brands of cigarettes. Especially if you are targeting the working class, smoking is a very popular pastime and can generate significant amounts of revenue. It is impossible to stock all brands, but make sure you have the main types available like menthols, filters, and lighter brands.