Feeling stressed? We get it. As a food truck owner you’re being pulled in 101 different directions at once.
You’re probably wearing a couple dozen hats in the business as well. From CEO to chef, customer service to strategic marketing director and driver. You can do it all! But after awhile this type of ongoing responsibility will weigh on anyone.
If you’re feeling the pressure of being a small business owner, you’re not alone. Running any self-funded business is extremely stressful, especially in the critical first year of the business when you don’t have everything figured out yet and are still learning yourself. Some reports suggest 43% of all business owners are stressed and that estimate might be low.
If you’re stuck staying up at night with thoughts racing and worrying about your business, just know that you are not alone by a long shot. This is literally what happens when you start a business. While we understand some tips in a blog post won’t magically solve all your problems, we hope that you’ll be able to apply at least one of these tips to simplify your operations or reduce worry. Let’s get started.

Organize Your Day the Night Before

One of the common problems of entrepreneurs is that they can’t shut off their brains. We are always thinking of ways to improve the business or wondering if someone will drop the ball at a catering event. If you manage employees, the stakes can be even higher as an employee could literally drive a truck into a building or be involved in an accident. There’s never shortage of things that could go wrong in the concession business.
Considering all the bad things that could happen or things you could forget it can be hard not to worry. One of the best ways to combat unhealthy worry like this is to take time in the evening to write down the specific tasks you need to accomplish the next day. You could document this list on your phone or a notepad depending on preference.
The easiest way to do this is to list it in bullet form like this as a reminder:

  • Call James about catering gig details.
  • Write email to insurance company about coverage.
  • Bring truck in for an oil change.
  • Add new photos to all social media profiles.
  • Prep food for evening event.

Literally write down every little task that you can think of that you need to accomplish the following day. After it’s all written down and you’ve got everything planned out, you (hopefully) will feel better that you won’t be forgetting or missing anything the following day. Going through this journaling process daily can help free up your mind, especially in the evening. There’s a lot of medical evidence that suggests going through this process reduces stress, help anxiety, and cope with depression.

Reduce Your Number of Suppliers

Sometimes we make more work for ourselves than is required. In some instances, it can be as easy as reducing the number of suppliers you have in your business. Every time you add a new supplier it adds the amount of communication, drive time, and clerical / accounting work you need to participate in. By cutting certain suppliers where you are only ordering a few ingredients, you can make life easier.
The number of suppliers being used is something that can spiral out of control fast. When you start a business, you may have had the goal to purchase artisan bread from the local baker. Buy meat raised locally from a farm. Pick up spices that are only available at an international grocery store across town. Of course, you still need to rely on your chain grocery store and Costco to stock must-haves like napkins, condiments, and paper trays.
While it’s understandable that you would want to utilize local products whenever possible, you’ve also got to think about the amount of time you’re spending tracking down different ingredients. If there’s a way to use less suppliers, it will make life easier.

The Flying Pie Guy. Built by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks.

Cut Low-Profit Menu Items

On the topic of business simplification, take a look at the menu items that are driving the least amount of revenue for your business. Put on your business cap and evaluate if it makes sense from a revenue perspective to keep the option on the menu. If you’ve only generated a couple hundred dollars in gross sales over the period of a month, it’s probably doesn’t make sense to keep the option on your menu.
By reducing the number of menu items, you’ll free up space on your truck for the more profitable items, cut out the number of ingredients you need to purchase, and help you optimize the speed at which you operate.

Invest in Software to Reduce or Automate Paper Work

Remember that it’s not 1984 anymore. There are actually all sorts of different affordable software solutions that can make your life easier as a food truck vendor. What you used to need a full-time employee for, you can sometimes replace with software. Here are a few tools we like:

  • Asana – This is a great tool for managing projects in your business. This can be particularly helpful when organizing outreach for catering events or other marketing activities.
  • Square – This is the most popular POS system for food truck owners. It’s easy to use and will help you generate more sales if you are only accepting cash payments.
  • Gusto – This is a payroll software for small businesses like food trucks and restaurants. If you hire employees in the business this is a terrific option for making sure your taxes are right.

Pause and Breath

Sometimes taking a time out during a stressful period of the day is all you need to center yourself and get back on track. Even a couple minutes of deep breathing alone can help you think clearly. Other times, you might just need to take a couple days away from the business to get refreshed.
Remember that without you, the business won’t be able to operate successfully so make sure you aren’t overextending yourself, make sure you’re getting enough rest, and aren’t putting too many things on your plate that don’t need to be there. Have you found anything that’s particularly advantageous for coping with stress?