Food Truck Marketing to Bring Fun and Fans

If your bag is cuisine on wheels, food truck advertising is an essential part of your success. Following are tried and true food truck marketing and advertising ideas that will keep your food truck in the fast lane. First, a few statistics that underscore the great opportunities within this thriving food service niche: 

Why Is It a Great Time to Be in the Food Truck Business?

Food trucks are on the go and on the rise. With the rising popularity of take-out and a premium placed on safe (outdoor) dining, food trucks are where it’s at. A few details in support of the hype:1  

No Road Blocks and Low Barriers to Entry

  • It costs about $55,000 to start a food truck business.
  • It only takes about 30-40 days to apply for and be granted the required permits and licenses.

Green Lights and Growth Ahead for Food Truck Industry

  • The food truck market surpassed 1.2 billion dollars in 2022.
  • The food truck industry was growing 7.5 percent before the pandemic is predicted to grow 3.4 percent in 2022.

Burning Rubber in a Thriving Sector

  • Food truck revenue ranges from $250,000 to $500,000 per year.
  • There are over 35,000 active food trucks in the US.
  • More than 40,000 people work in the food truck industry.

Will My Food Truck Business Succeed?

Though industry stats support this being a good climate for food truck businesses, the same risks apply to this niche as apply to other food service businesses like brick and mortar restaurants.  

  • All small businesses run a significant risk of failure, not just restaurants or food trucks. In general, 50% of small businesses in the US close within five years of opening.2
  • Food trucks have the same high rate of failure as traditional restaurants, with 60 percent going under within three years of opening.3
  • A unique benefit of food truck entrepreneurship is that the barriers to entry are relatively low and small business owners can explore opportunities with comparatively little risk.
Photo by REVOLT on Unsplash

What Should My Food Truck Advertising and Marketing Focus On?

Along with planning, finance, management, and customer service, food truck marketing is a key component in success. When we look at the main modes of marketing for food trucks, keep in mind who your target customer is, and the reasons they flock to and follow your truck1 like bees to honey:  

  • Phones and Truck Food Go Hand in Hand: Forty-seven percent of food truck frequenters are millennials (born between 1981 and 1996; currently ages 26-41). In general, those aged 18 to 44 are most likely to step up to the window (so don’t neglect Gen Z and Gen X in your outreach). Your customers are tech friendly. Up to 50% of food truck revenue comes from order-ahead sales.4 Encourage online ordering and barcode scanning for faster, easier transactions.
  • A Little Wacky Goes a Long Way: More than 80 percent of food truck fans visit your mobile venue for a unique, new, exciting, eclectic eating experience. Don’t let customers down with a boring interaction! Come through with complementary treats, great customer service, and special menu items.
  • Get the Basics Down: Food truck frequenters appreciate a transaction that’s fun, friendly, fast, and convenient; and food that’s great quality at a good price. Prep work, online ordering, quirky elements, and the best food on the block will set you up for success the minute you put your truck in “park”.

What Are the Latest Food Truck Advertising and Marketing Ideas?

When it comes to how to market a food truck business, we have a road map! Following are five tips that will help draw patrons at the farmers market, office park, special events, and more: 

1. Stay in Your Lane (Sort of)

Pick your specialty area and experiment within that niche. Hamburgers are a popular specialty with food trucks, but more options including plant-based and environmentally friendly offerings are popular. Finger food like tacos, pizza, barbeque and cupcakes continue to be winners, and more global cuisine is gaining ground, as are vegan options, plant-based, and gluten-free offerings. Though it’s important to have an area of focus, be sure to add new menu options and experiment with new ingredients to keep customers engaged. Over 34% of food truck chefs regularly experiment with their menu.1

2. Publish Your Wares and Your Whereabouts

Use social media and your website to keep customers informed of locations, weekly events, and menu items. Include photos, directions, and an order-ahead link. Encourage local foodies to review your best sellers.

3. Community and Collaborations

Make your food truck a reliable fixture at events that appeal to your target audience. This could include colleges, concerts in the park, bars and nightclubs, and youth sporting events. Participate in brick-and-mortar block parties around a special holiday like Halloween or Black Friday.  

4. No Hate When There’s a Wait

When the line gets longer, offer a complementary mini “appetizer” to customers waiting for their food. This could be miso soup at a Japanese food truck, coleslaw at a BBQ truck, or tortilla soup at a taco truck.   

5. Giveaways Galore

For special events and holidays, hand each customer a promotional takeaway along with their truck food takeaway.  See below for our recommendations. 

What Giveaways Are Best for Food Truck Marketing?

Keep your brand top of mind when customers are feeling peckish with specialty giveaways that reinforce your unique vibe in between meals.  

Special Events: If you’re catering a special event you’re serving a new group of potentially repeat customers. Giving these customers something to remember you by is a great investment in recurring revenue. If the event is large you might customize your giveaways to include your logo as well as the event name, like a wedding, anniversary, fundraiser, or festival.  

Shared Success: Food trucks are the ultimate in intimate, small business experience. Your customers like to support you and celebrate your success. If you’re celebrating your small business anniversary, show appreciation to the customers who got you there. Distribute a thoughtful gift marking your years in service and their role in getting you there. 

For trendy, budget-friendly gifts that deliver visibility beyond the condiment caddy, we like these:  

  • 20 Mil Heart Shape Magnet: On their fridge, grill, or file cabinet, your menu stays top of mind with this food truck version of a business card.
  • Recycled Plastic Noah Tote Bag: Send your brand—and your earth-friendly values—home with each customer when you present their order in this tote made of recycled plastic.

See You in the Fast Lane with Food Truck Advertising that Fits the Bill

In food truck marketing, you can leverage your creativity, quirks, and cuisine obsessions to your advantage. Your customers appreciate supporting a home-grown business so give them every chance to know where you are, when, and what’s cooking when they come. Bon appetite!   


Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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