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January 23, 2018 Staff

Two Ways Hiring a Consultant Can Help Grow Your Food Truck Business

Today’s blog post features one food truck / restaurant owners experience deciding whether or not to hire a restaurant consultant for his business and the lessons learned. We hope you enjoy this special post!

I expected hard work when I started a food truck business. What I didn’t see coming were the mental challenges I would need to conquer to be successful.

I think of these as my “mental blocks.” These blocks are the things preventing me from reaching the next level in my business.

My first mental block was overcome when I decided the approach my business not as a hobby, but with certainty.

After I went all-in to build my business and I got a mentor… I began making major progress in my business within months. 

Within the next 6 months, I expanded to a second food truck…

Encouraged by the continued success of my second food truck, I felt it was the right time to open the doors to our first restaurant location and hire two key managers to help run the day-to-day business.

There was just one problem…  

I knew how to run a food truck, but didn’t have a clue how to run a full-scale restaurant with bar.

While the restaurant location was exciting, I stressed about how to execute making a larger menu. How was I going to manage staff and hire? What processes did we need in place to pull this off? How could I manage everything?

I had officially hit the second mental block in my business.

There are challenges when growing any food truck or restaurant.

With the food truck, I was always involved in the operations. It was a lot of work, but I could handle it with a single truck. But after expanding to a second food truck and soon a restaurant location, I realized I couldn’t be everywhere at once any longer.

I would need a support system if I was going to be able to pull this thing off. But how exactly that was actually going to happen was the million dollar question.

I was already strapped for cash trying open a restaurant when my mentor Josh recommended hiring a restaurant consultant… A major expense that I did not have budgeted at the time.   

The restaurant consultant would be able to organize the daily work process, hiring processes, train managers, and get the new restaurant ready for opening day.

It’s not easy to invest thousands of dollars in training on top of necessary items like refrigerators, prep tables, ovens, chairs and other equipment for the restaurant. I wrestled with the decision internally for days.

I figured that even though it would be a lot of work, I had been able to “figure out” the food truck business largely on my own. Maybe I could do the same and save some money with te restaurant as well?

I had nearly convinced myself to open the restaurant on my own to cut costs until I remembered the promise I made to myself only months prior…

I promised to do whatever it took to make the restaurant a success….

At that point, the decision was simple… I bit the bullet and wrote out the check…

As it turned out… hiring a consultant would be one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It’s a decision continues to yield returns for my business to this day.

Working with the consultant, we were able to develop a process for accepting orders and delivering food before the doors opened. My key managers were also trained on how to run the restaurant so we were all on the same page operationally.

I understood my role too! My managers understood their positions. All we had to do was stick to the plan and follow process.

I finally had a team in place! It was officially game on for my restaurant!  

Looking back, it’s hard to believe how close I came to giving up on the food business. I’m so thankful that I decided to overcome that first mental block by recommitting to my business, hiring a mentor, and forging ahead… even when I didn’t know what the future had in store for me.

Having a mentor can improve your odds of success in any business.

It’s unfortunate, but over the past 5-years, I’ve seen dozens of restaurants and food trucks come and go in Austin.

It hurts when I see fellow restaurant owners give up on their dreams due to the exact same challenges I faced early on… Many were probably closer to success than they knew, but like me couldn’t see the path forward.

Of the restaurant or food truck owners that don’t make it are two similarities I’ve observed…

  1. Owners that fail don’t get mentorship or consulting help to solve their problems. They think that by “working harder” they can fix the situation. This never works and leads to burnout and even depression.

I can relate to this one. I used to fall into this category and it nearly cost me my dream.

I didn’t understand that other people may already have a solutions to the exact business problems I was trying to solve. I thought I could do it all!

I’m thankful that after two years, I would eventually see the light. Today, I continue to get on-going guidance and mentorship with my business as I grow my brand even further.

For me, learning has become a joy and my business has continued to grow. It’s also become a competitive advantage.

2.) Owners that fail don’t put any effort toward marketing. People must know you exist before they can try your food. Marketing creates customers… And customers are the fuel for your business!

In my humble opinion, there is literally no better activity you could be spending time on as a business owner than by helping others discover your business and try your food.

Interestingly, the very two things cutout by would-be restaurateurs is mentorship and marketing.

I encourage you… Do not to let your business become a statistic by making the same mistakes of so many would-be restaurant owners that have come before you!

Stay open to learning and gaining knowledge through mentors, coaches, or friends that you trust in the food business.  

Continue to find ways to promote your business by attending events, generating press or social media exposure. Become passionate about marketing your business and sharing your food with others!

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