There’s no doubt that mobile apps make the world of food trucks go round. But it’s not enough to download them and sign up – you need to know how to leverage these apps for branding and gamification for the ultimate goal of increasing patronage and sales.
Outside of the normal social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, (which every food truck should already have), there are other mobile apps that can make your life as a food trucker easier. Below are some of the best apps for food trucks right now and strategies for using them.
Roaming Hunger dominates the food truck app world. In use across North America, Europe, and as far as the United Arab Emirates, Roaming Hunger pairs food trucks with hungry customers and companies looking to hire trucks for events. Sign up online and download their app for vendors.
Bonus for Houston, TX: Roaming Hunger helps Houston food trucks be found by customers, too. We know how much food trucks mean to Texans!
Created to simplify the life of food truckers, Truckily is a free app that takes the grunt work out of your social media location updates. You can schedule your route in advance, and the app will send your customers push notifications when you’re rolling into their area. But best of all, it simultaneously updates your Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare locations as you move within your area, removing the need to log in to every app and make the update yourself.
Perfect for food trucks, TouchBistro is an iPad POS that operates on a local wi-fi connection within your truck. It doesn’t rely on the internet to run, which means it won’t crash – even if your internet does. Power through long lines by taking orders and payments wirelessly outside the walls of your truck. Also be sure to make use of the app’s customizable reports to gain insight into your truck’s peak times, best-selling menu items, and inventory levels.
Truckfood helps you find food trucks in New York City, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, and more. The app lets customers on the app bookmark any food truck, and they get a notification when they are close to that truck. Simple, effective, and perfect for the busy New York City foodie.
Made exclusively for the Chicago food truck enthusiast, the Chicago Food Truck Finder shows users the closest food trucks to them based on their current location, with real-time tracking through Google Maps.
Toronto’s Street Food app has a lot of smaller features that lets users rate their favorite food trucks, lets customers know when food trucks are open, and gives them a heads up about what’s new for food trucks in the city.
Stay organized on the fly with Wunderlist – a super intuitive and easy-to-use list making app. Share lists with co-owners or staff so that everyone can be on the same page. Make lists and set due dates for things like truck maintenance, festivals to attend, or food or groceries to pick up, then check items off as they are completed.
A little-known feature for this app is that checked off items are “hidden” but can be unchecked to be added to the list again. This feature is great for those lists like ingredients or supplies that you need to purchase over and over again.
The easiest organizational tool you can use, Trello lets you add “cards” to “boards” similar to the way you’d use an old fashioned sticky note. Add reminders in one column, then move them to a completed column when you get them done. Use it for when sudden inspiration strikes and you need to jot down new menu ideas, quickly take supplier info and add it to your spreadsheets later, or ask staff to add their availability for scheduling on the fly.
If you aren’t already collecting customer emails and information, now’s the time. Email marketing is a great way to connect with your customers and fill them in on your latest promotions, events, and where your truck will be located. MailChimp is free and small-business friendly. Build sign up forms, design branded newsletters, and track your open and click rates.
There’s no shortage of mobile food apps available to make running your food truck easier. With these simple tips and tricks in your back pocket, you can get even more out of these apps so you can focus on what’s most important to you – sharing your food with the masses.
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