Once upon a time if you wanted to open a restaurant you took on a lot of risk and 90-hour work weeks. But no more! Food trucks are taking over urban areas, branding themselves as a fun new way to try a variety of cuisines.
Once considered gross (remember Roach Coaches?) the mobile food industry is embracing their sleek, low-overhead business model and creating thriving businesses.
Photography Business Parallels
Sound like another industry you know? Renting a studio space, investing in lighting, backdrops, film and photo processing were once huge barriers for business-minded photographers.
The digital and Internet era is a brave new world for photographers, wiping away high overhead costs. With similarly sleek business models, there’s a lot photographers can learn from Food Truck restaurateurs.
1) Value Trumps Price
Food trucks don’t offer you a place to sit down, yet they’re not always cheaper than a restaurant. Instead, food trucks boast changing menus, more adaptable to customer requests, fresh, locally sourced food and one-on-one interaction with the chef. Customers find more value in what they get. They're willing to pay more if they get exactly what they want.
Photography Business Take Away - People will pay extra to get exactly what they want. If you brand your business right you will attract customers willing to pay for the value you bring to your photo shoot.
Food trucks cater to busy professionals, setting up shop on streets right outside large office complexes. They know their clientele wants quality and they want it quick.
Photography Business Take Away - What does your clientele crave? Focus on making yourself the perfect answer to their needs. Are you a senior photographer with a stylist and make up artist on hand? Are you a newborn photographer that remembers that the tired, new mom might need a comfy place to sit or a glass of water?
3) Good Branding Draws Crowd
Food parks, the an RV park for foodies, are convenient for food trucks and give them access to water and waste facilities but puts them in direct competition with 10 other trucks. Top-notch signage and menu boards paired with a creative, descriptive business name reels in customers.
Photography Business Take Away -. In a market flooded with people holding cameras good branding is the difference between business life and death. A simple, clear message to potential clients should communicate your style and value. Think of your website and social media are your signage -- make sure they communicate your unique value.
4) Don't Get Stuck with High Overhead You Can’t Afford
Some food truck owners use their mobile business as a stepping-stone to a brick and mortar restaurant. Others never make the transition. They prefer the flexibility the food truck offers and choose it because they can better mold it to their life.
Photography Business Take Away - Do you dream of becoming a large studio with space in a trendy downtown district? If so, go for it. Build your business until you have consistent income to sustain the costs of retail space. Avoid taking on debt, even if that means postponing your dream for a few more years. If that’s not your dream – stay light and lean. It doesn’t make you any less successful.
5) Upsell with Meaning
Food truck owners know their clientele eats more than lunch. They throw parties, get married and host big business events with lots of hungry people. That's why savvy truck owners proudly display their catering menu.
Photography Business Take Away - What are your upsell opportunities? Get your marketing collateral in front of your clients and let them see what else you do. When considering things to add to your business, make sure they fit your brand. Think laser precise, not sawed-off shotgun.