According to food truck experts, one of the most overlooked, yet potentially very successful locations for food trucks is college campuses. Whether you attended college or not, you can imagine that college students become very tired of the food served in their dining halls (if they have one) and are always looking for fast, yet delicious, foods to munch on between classes. If you are currently running a food truck that could use a little boost in profits or are in the planning stage of opening your first truck, here is a guide to tailoring or creating a truck with a menu that can please every college student and what equipment you need to prepare it.
1. Soda and Coffee Drinks Can Be Huge Profit Generators
Before you begin looking into foods college students will love, you want to make sure you plan to serve popular and very profitable beverages that students can grab even when they are not looking for a snack or full meal. Caffeine is king for many students trying to stay on their toes mentally when juggling jam-packed course schedules, and many drink coffee and soda from sunrise until sundown and even after when they are getting in some late-night cramming for exams.
Don't sell cans or bottles of soda with little profit, but instead make a small investment in a fountain soda machine to decrease your costs of each soda from close to a dollar to just pennies. You can then price them just a little below what a student would pay for a can or bottle of soda when purchasing them from campus vending machines, while offering a few more ounces than those bottles and still earning a huge profit on every cup.
When selling coffee drinks, you should think beyond the drip coffee that students can easily prepare in their dorms or homes (and offers a lower profit margin for you). When you purchase just a restaurant-grade espresso/cappuccino machine, you can offer everything from Americanos (similar to hot drip coffee, but higher quality and espresso-based) to hot or iced cappuccinos or lattes. All of these beverages are easy to make, and most involve simply starting with just a good shot of espresso and then adding milk or water and a sweetener or flavor-selection of the student's choice. There is a reason why some of the most successful businesses in the US are coffee shops -- coffee drinks cost from just pennies to about a dollar to make and can then be sold for several dollars each.
2. Survey or Do Some Research on the Students' Food Preferences
Every student's food preference varies, just as every other person in society has their favorite foods. While you can't offer everyone's favorite foods at all times, it is a good idea to survey students on their dietary preferences to ensure you create a successful menu. Create a small survey to hand out to students or simply gather a small group of students who are willing to spend a few minutes of their time sharing what they know about what their classmates eat.
You want to find general dietary trends, such as whether there are many vegetarians or vegans on campus or not, as well as items students specifically seek out often that are hard to find in the local area. You then know whether to offer veggie burgers along with beef ones and if there is a menu item of any kind that will just start flying off the truck due to it not being available locally anywhere else. Remember that many college students are not allowed to keep vehicles on campus, so for example, if the closest Mexican restaurant is 30 miles away, then offering just an easy burrito or two may end up being a great option you would have not thought to include on your menu otherwise.
3. Make a Menu Both Everyday- and Event-focused
When creating your food menu, it is a great idea to create two menus instead of just one. One can include everyday items that you can offer students who want a quick breakfast, lunch, or snack between classes, and the other can be a special event menu you offer only before, during, and after college sporting events. It is a better idea to split these items up than offer them all, all the time, for several reasons. First, having a too large menu all the time can lead to longer wait times for students ordering a wide variety of foods. Also, some sporting event foods, such as chicken wings, can be too messy for students to eat between classes anyway. Third, when students can't have those delicious event-tailored foods all the time, it will help create a buzz surrounding these items when they speak with their friends about how much they cannot wait for those wings or potato skins at the next event.
You don't even need to add extra cooking equipment to serve two great different menus. Many event foods can be super-easy to prepare with just a good deep fryer that also serves double-duty as your daily french fry and onion ring cooker. An all-purpose grill can help you prepare many items served daily, such as burgers, cheese-steaks, and even personal-sized grilled pizzas, and it can then help you create large grilled pizzas for students to split among friends while watching sporting events.
If you are looking to revamp your food truck to improve profits or are planning to begin running your first truck ever, then take advantage of the huge, untapped college-student market. The busy students who are tired of local or on-campus offerings will likely begin lining up and helping you earn lots of cash.
For more information and tips, talk with restaurant equipment suppliers, such as Louis Wohl & Sons Inc, about multipurpose options you can have in your truck.Share