How to Test?
Testing isn’t going to help you optimize your profitability unless you continually track results and compare them to past results.
To obtain the information discussed above and compare it to future test results, you have to be diligent and organized.
Come up with a system to measure your food truck’s performance and analyze related metrics along with collected feedback. Find out where improvements are needed or would be beneficial, develop and run tests that could impact theses areas, and see whether they yield positive outcomes and innovative solutions.
Determine what you are looking for by defining success as it relates to your business and how you can measure it. Track everything and keep detailed records of sales, spending, and other relevant metrics such as profit margins per check, check averages, and item popularity.
Collect client data to get an idea of customer habits.
Set expectations and goals for each test, outlining what you hope to learn or accomplish. Know who you are targeting and what you are trying to achieve so you can plan tests accordingly.
Part of tracking performance is analyzing food cost. If not integrated with your POS system, you’ll need to calculate food cost yourself.
The cost of ingredients for a single menu item added to purchasing cost (delivery fees, etc.) is your total food cost per dish. Subtract food cost from list price to get the gross profit margin. Make sure you are making money on every menu item, whether permanent or not.
Without a solid hold on existing profit margins, you can’t track improvements.
Check each menu item’s popularity against its profitability. Ideally, items should be well-liked and profitable. For popular offerings that don’t have high margins, start testing out ways to increase profits.
Investigate ways to enhance the popularity of lucrative items that don’t sell as well as others.
When you are running tests like food specials or promotions, make sure each item has a unique identifier in the POS system. If you use a generic “special” button for all specials, your POS can’t track the sales of individual items.