Dear Food Trucks of Little Rock:
Hey, how’s it going? I know you’re busy getting ready for Saturday’s big event, the Main Street Food Truck Festival. Just hear me out for a minute or two. It’ll be worth it.
I’m so glad for you that this event was successful last year. The Downtown Little Rock Partnership won on their bet to start this event in what has been a hit-and-miss part of town, and folks came out in droves. Remember? I sure do.
So do all the other people who waited in long lines, often an hour or more, to get the dish of their choosing. In fact, many of them are just kind of meh about attending this year. Even my blogger friends who focus on food trucks are kind of ambivalent. And although the weather is supposed to be a little drizzly and cool, that’s not the real reason. Standing on your feet that long is hard to forget.
But you can redeem yourself this year. You kinda have to. If you don’t, this uber sexy, trendy event may languish in the lengthening shadows of waiting customers.
I have some thoughts.
- Simplify your menu. If you haven’t already, cut your eight-board menu down to two or three things that say who you are. Pick things that hold well and prep easily. Just for one day. You can do it.
- Prep ahead of time. It seemed last year that you were still chopping and mixing when you should have been assembling and shoveling out the window. See #1, and prep accordingly. If you’re not sure how to hold hot and cold items, ask your food supplier or your friends in the brick-and-mortar restaurants.
- Work the crowd. Having the inaugural event under your collective belts, you know there’s going to be a big crowd. Use this to your advantage. Have someone floating in front of your truck to help take orders, and make it someone with some personality. Create some brand evangelists for you while they wait. Hand out coupons. Throw confetti. (Well, you might want to check with the organizers on that one.) Do what it takes to keep the line moving and keep people happy.
- Communicate. If there’s a problem, let us know. Apologize. Make jokes. Give coupons or even refunds if necessary. But most likely, it won’t be. So long as you acknowledge our effort to get your food, we’ll be more likely to come back for more in the future. And on the positive side, ask us how the food is. I’m pretty sure it’s fabulous, and it’ll make us both feel good to say and hear it.
I’ll be there Saturday, money in hand. I’ll stand in a line or two and see how it goes. I hope a lot of other people do, too.
Whether or not I’ll do it again next year will be up to you.
P.S. I know not all of you are to blame. Take notes from the trucks with quick lines and fat pockets. You know the ones.
Main Street Food Truck Festival
Main Street, Downtown Little Rock, between Third & Ninth Streets
Saturday, October 6, 2012
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Presented by the Downtown Little Rock Partnership