Find out more about these writers and which publications make sense in tandem with your food truck before you reach out. And even then, don’t directly ask for a review.
You want to build mutually beneficial relationships with writers and media outlets that resonate with your target market and brand and, when the time is right, simply invite them over.
It can take a lot more work than you might expect to see your food truck reviewed by a well-known critic or popular blogger, but if you properly prepare your business and accurately apply your creativity when approaching a food writer, it will be well worth it in the end.
Prepare & Do Your Research
As you are already aware, two elements that are key to accomplishing any goals related to your mobile food business are killer food and stellar service.
Getting a blogger or critic to try your food truck is no different. Before you do anything else, get all operational processes and quality control nailed down. Having excellent design and branding won’t hurt either. Most reviewers will write about their overall experience, not just one aspect of it.
The last thing you want is to put time and effort into having a writer review your truck only for them to have a bad experience and share it with the world – or worse yet – not be able to find your food truck in the first place.
Make sure your website and social media pages always have the truck’s location easily visible and up-to-date, providing detailed information when there are any delays.
Go over the “About” and “Contact Us” sections of your website and social profiles to double check that everything is clearly stated. It may seem obvious to say that your business is a food truck somewhere in these sections, but many writers say they have trouble figuring out if certain Twitter pages actually belong to food trucks. Be sure to include your town or city here as well.
If you feel confident enough in your menu and your staff, you might consider inviting reviewers to attend your grand opening, otherwise it is a good idea to wait.
Give yourself time to get everything under control, iron out any kinks, and resolve any issues. Once you have done so you can begin to work on actually contacting writers.
In the meantime, do your homework.
First and foremost you will need to understand the difference between food critics and bloggers. Food critics usually write for newspapers or magazines and prefer to remain anonymous when visiting an establishment. They want to see what your business is like for normal customers and therefore don’t usually make their presence known.
While you should do your best to recognize one if they come up to your window, don’t immediately acknowledge who they are.
Treat them well, just like you would treat any patron, but don’t give them too much attention. They want to write unbiased reviews and could think you are compensating for something if you try too hard to make their experience special, give them preferential treatment, or offer them anything on the house.
For serious food critics, free items or a comped bill can be considered a bribe. If they do accept any freebies, or if something they order doesn’t show up on their bill, they will likely mention this in their writing, which lends the risk of the review reading like a sponsored advertisement and not an honest opinion of your food truck.
In general, bloggers approach their writing with a more casual attitude.
Most bloggers aren’t on someone else’s payroll, so primarily go by their own rules rather than sticking to strict guidelines like those that food critics may be held to by their employers. However, you can approach conducting background research on both groups from the same angle.
To begin, you will need to determine who is consistently writing about food trucks in your area. Do a google search and see what you can find. If there aren’t many people writing specifically about the mobile food scene, consider outlets covering restaurants as well.
When you come across a review that you like, jot down the author’s name along with their contact information and social media handles. If you feel like a reviewer has a similar target demographic as your food truck, follow them on social media and read more of their work to get to know their style, tastes, and preferences. Comment on their posts and tag them in your posts when it is appropriate.