What Do Customers Want From A Catering Van Experience?
Running a catering van is a great way to connect with customers and to maximise your profits. The flexibility it gives you to change location and attract the right customer base is very attractive, and the control you have over menu, stock and supply can be quite liberating. Out there on the road, you are in charge, and able to run your van in the way you think best.
In fact, you can get so carried away with what you get out of running a catering van that it’s easy to overlook exactly what the customer is looking for…
First and foremost, your customer is expecting amazing food, served efficiently and with a smile. Un-pick this and you’ll see that it provides you with three key challenges. Your food needs to be of a high quality, consistent and exciting enough that your customers are not only attracted to it but also return. Your systems for preparation and cooking need to be efficient and robust, as delays will impact on customer satisfaction and long queues will put prospective customers off. Lastly, your interaction with the customer is what makes a catering van special; they’ll remember the food, but they’ll also remember your smile or the way you made them feel.
Additionally, your customers are expecting a great visual experience. Everything from the décor and theme of the van to staff uniform and food packaging plays a part in attracting the crowds to you. Make sure your van stands out, that you arrange the environment so that crowds don’t block you from other customers and that your use of colour and design communicates the food you’re serving.
Your customers are looking for a social and exciting time, so setting up tables and chairs that will allow them to sit and chat is a very sensible idea, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of your queue. Some music that generates energy and attitude for you and your customers will help to attract customers too.
Last of all, your customers are looking for convenience. So, make sure that you offer it. Ensure that your van is accessible and that the queueing system is easy to navigate. Keep rubbish bins clear, refill and tidy any condiments and keep a plentiful supply of napkins and other disposables to hand.
If a customer can be served with great food, efficiently, in an engaging and convenient way, you’re on the path to real success.
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