It's rare that an opportunity to capture significant and sustainable incremental business lands giftwrapped in a restaurant operator's lap. But how else can one interpret a new National Restaurant Association survey about mobile foodservice? The key finding: 59 percent of consumers say that if their favorite restaurant had a food truck, they would visit it.
Which is to say, a majority of the growing hordes who track food trucks via Facebook and Twitter and then willingly stand in line outdoors to eat at them would do the same for existing brick and mortar restaurants — were those restaurants to get into the food truck game. It's a customer base that already exists; you just have to figure out the best way to tap into it.
“Though food trucks are often equated with chefs and entrepreneurs, they also present opportunities for operators of established restaurants to expand their operations and presence,” says NRA research guru Hudson Riehle. “Mobile foodservice can be a good way to extend an existing restaurant brand beyond the four walls of the establishment.”
How big is this opportunity? It appears that mobile foodservice is still in its infancy. Nationally, only 18 percent of survey respondents even saw a food truck in their community this summer, let alone ate at one. Ask yourself: Could this segment be more wide open?