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 applications 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.
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 about your area, removing the need to login to every app and make the update yourself.
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 simply 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.
Roaming Hunger Food Truck Finder
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 both hungry customers and companies looking to hire trucks for events. Sign up online and then download their app for vendors.
RH Vendor: This app is the vendor side of the Roaming Hunger Food Truck Finder, which allows you to upload your details to broadcast your location to local patrons. You can also be booked for parties and events right within the app, further expanding your reach. And, the most exciting part? The app has a “secret offer” option. Simply enter the phrase you want customers to say and then enter what they’ll receive and change it whenever you want!
Eat St.: Also by Roaming Hunger, Eat St. is the customer facing version of the app. This is where potential patrons will come to see your location and discover your secret offer phrase. Give it a download so you can see exactly what your customers see (and update your profile accordingly). Don’t forget to take a peek at your competition while you’re there.
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.
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. Set up sign up forms, design branded newsletters, and track your open and click rate.
Mailchimp Subscribe: Collect emails on the go with the MailChimp Subscribe app. Simply enter your list in the online platform and then use this app to provide your customers with seamless email entry at your truck. It’s never been easier to stay in touch.
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.
Once you've mastered the apps, the real fun begins!
About the Author
Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.More Content by Andrea Victory