Shopping and eating go together like bees and honey. As soon as you walk into a mall, you’re hit with delicious smell wafting from the food court. Soft pretzels, cinnamon buns and smoothies – oh my!
This relationship holds true for independent shops run by small-business owners as well. Customers are bound to work up an appetite as they peruse your fabulous merchandise. Make a strategic business move to give the people what they want: snacks. Consider reaching out to local food truck owners about potential partnerships this spring.
The food truck phenomenon
Mobile restaurants are all the rage, from crowded city streets to sprawling town greens in suburbia. Opening a food truck is a stepping stone for many chefs because there’s less overhead when it comes to starting a restaurant on the road compared to leasing a brick-and-mortar location. In other cases, already established businesses will launch a supplementary truck, whether it’s for catering events or simply another venue. According to research from the National Restaurant Association, almost 20 percent of casual restaurant owners are considering becoming involved with the food truck business within the next two years.
“Foodies who stop by to eat might fall in love with your products.”
Benefits of business partnerships
You may not even notice in some instances, but business partnerships are all around you. For example, when one company directs you to another for complementary products. Similarly, certain businesses will offer their customers discounts to nearby stores. Even when there’s a stack of flyers for another shop near the cash register, that’s cross-marketing in action.
With combined marketing and selling efforts, it’s clear to see how both companies reap benefits from a partnership. Ideally, sales will increase all around while customers find themselves better served by their favorite store or mobile restaurant. This business move also demonstrates your engagement with the community around you. Your store isn’t only there to make money from the residents, but improve their lives in small ways.
Don’t forget about the social media followers you’re bound to attract with the joint effort! Speaking of, this is an opportunity to build your customer base immensely. Loyal shoppers who’ve never tried that restaurant may become big fans of your chosen food truck, while foodies who stop by for a bite to eat might fall in love with your products.
It’s wise to look into the positive effects of linking up with other business owners in any capacity, but why food trucks? As we previously mentioned, they’re trendy and exciting right now. Additionally, it’s natural for people to eat before or after a shopping trip.
Establishing a healthy relationship
The first place to start is with logistics. Are there any food trucks nearby that you can reach out to? Do your current zoning restrictions allow for the sale of food on your property? Once you’re sure everything is copacetic, it’s time to devise a clear game plan.
Depending on the local selection of food trucks, try to match the cuisine with your customer base. If your business attracts earthy, crunchy people, a vegetarian or vegan food truck would be ideal. For sporting goods stores, simple and hearty food like gourmet hamburgers and hot dogs are a great choice. Ethnic dishes and unique sandwiches could go a long way with the clientele of a boutique shop.
Make sure you discuss all of the details with your food truck partner before you launch the new event. There should be an understanding about how much marketing each party will do, how often the restaurant will come and how either party can dissolve the unofficial partnership.
Finally, devise a method for tracking the success and progress of this venture. Do foot traffic or sales increase on weekends you work with the truck? Try to start conversations about this with customers are they peruse your products. Gauge how they feel about the addition of a food truck and what they would do differently if they were in charge. This is another place social media platforms come in handy. Ask followers if they’ve seen the food truck, if they’ve tried it and if they have any suggestions for your store.