Creating the perfect food truck menu is difficult.
I know that you wish to show off 30 different types of foods and serve a million drinks.
In this guide, I’ll help you put together the best food truck menu and give you some great tips and ideas to help create your own.
Not only will I consider what should be on it, but how it should look visually.
Food Truck Menu Ideas
To start off with, let’s look at some food truck menu ideas. These are, in short, basic tips and tricks of what you should consider adding to your menu.
1. Be Seasonal
This is by far the most important, and can’t be stressed enough! Make sure that your menu is seasonal and caters to the current climate and culture. Not only will it save you money when it comes to ingredients but it will also be more attractive to customers. For example, people are more likely to buy a hot chocolate in the middle of winter than ice cream. If you run a food truck where the food isn’t too seasonal e.g burgers you can always make the side dishes and drinks seasonal.
Having a seasonal menu will also entice customers to come back more often as if they enjoyed the food in winter, they will be tempted to come back and try the spring menu too.
2. Keep It Simple
When it comes to keeping it simple I don’t mean having 1 item and that single item being chips (though there is a market for fry food trucks). I mean minimizing the number of different items you need to create your recipes. The larger the range of your dishes the more waste you’re likely to generate, which means having to charge more, which usually means fewer customers. Whereas if your recipes use similar meats and ingredients then you’re less likely to throw most of it in the bin at the end of the day.
Furthermore, you want your items to be quick and easy to prepare as food trucks are viewed as fast food. Having a lot of different recipes would have to mean regularly cleaning between meals. Whereas if all of your menu items are chicken-based then you can use the same cooking surface over and over again.
3. Add Your Own Twist
No matter what you cook, make sure you add your own twist. Burger food trucks are a dozen a city but burger food trucks that use a black bun – now those are rare. Even simple a popcorn food truck that serves colored popcorn! Not only is it easy to add some creative twists to your menu items, but it also helps spread your brand and allows you to charge a small premium.
4. Don’t Neglect Drinks
While it’s important to focus on your food, as this is what will bring the customers in, you should never neglect your drinks department. Once your customers have eaten they will be thirsty for sure. Even if you keep it simple, and serve bottled drinks, that should still add to your profit margins. However, if you have the capacity to serve something extra such as “homemade lemonade” then make sure you do so. If you can add some alcohol to your beverage menu then even better! In short, drinks are easy to do and can be some of the best profit items on your menu.
Food Truck Menu Design
Once you have your menu items, it’s time to create your menu that you can display to your customers. The simplest method, of course, is to just write a list of a whiteboard. However, this method doesn’t optimize your profit or sales numbers. With that in mind, here are a few simple tips to help you design an optimal food truck menu.
1. The Upper Right Hand Corner
The upper right-hand corner of your menu is like a golden chalice. Use it to highlight what you want the customer to see the most. If you’re planning for the long term then put items here that will remind them of your brand, if you’d like to earn the most then put your most profitable item here.
2. Don’t Use Currency Signs
Food truck, and restaurant menus, in general, include a lot of psychology. If it isn’t legally required, then don’t include currency signs in your menu. These tend to remind the customer that they are spending their hard-earned money.
3. Don’t Use Lists
90% of the menus around use lists. While the practice in itself is common, it’s not actually ideal. A listed menu leads to customers comparing items against each other, and usually choosing the cheapest items.
4. Price It Right
When creating your pricing use .95 at the end of the items. This means that customers think they are spending less and are in fact likely to spend more. For example, 12.95 is more enticing than 13.00 but in reality, you’re nearly earning the same amount.
If you’re ingredient prices change, then don’t be afraid of changing your prices. After all, if you’re not making a profit, you’re not going to be in business for long. Furthermore, your customers are unlikely to notice any changes.
If you have the option to display two different serving sizes than use brackets. For example for chips, you could show: Large 6.95 (Small 3.95). Your customers will usually get the large as they will be worried that the small might not be enough. On top of this, because it’s cheaper than two small portions, they’ll also think they are getting a good deal.
5. Be Descriptive
What sounds better: French Fries or Sizzling Golden French Fries with a Delicious Serving of Homemade Ketchup and Mayonaise? It’s the latter right? The more descriptive and mouth-watering you make your menu sound the more orders you will get. Of course, this does take up more space on the menu, so this comes back to the point of not having too many different items for sale.
6. Have a Clear Design
Visually you should have a clear design. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter if you use a whiteboard, blackboard, butcher paper, or something else. What is important is that you use high quality graphics, and lettering.
7. Give Takeaway Menus if Possible
If you can afford to do so, give some takeaway menus to your customers. If they are eating their food in-situ they might look at it while eating and order something extra. If not, it will still help reinforce your brand. A great way of doing this and still saving money is to print it on the tissues you give out or on the food wrapping paper.
Food Truck Menu Examples
Now that we’ve discussed what makes a great food truck menu – both visually and menu items wise, it’s time to look at some great examples.
Michi Ramen has a great option of menu items with not just descriptions but images of each item.
Their main items don’t use lists and specialities, and allergens are clearly highlighted.
They don’t optimise their top right but on the whole an inventive, and clear to see menu.
This hypotechical menu is extremely well put together. Sure psychologically a lot could be tested on it but it’s a tried and tested layout.
Items are well priced, descriptions are nice and long, benefits are highlighted, graphics are high(ish) quality.
Overall this would be a great starting menu for any food truck.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to send us your food truck menu if you want feedback or if you want