Food Truck Research Revealing Small Business Trends:
low cost ops, mobile, social
In a recent article on InformationWeek.com, author Patrick Houston distills Emergent Research data relating to shifts in food service paradigms and the growth of the Food Truck Industry into 3 important points that every business should consider. With the trends driving these mobile businesses towards specialized and customer-oriented service, certain realities are revealed regarding how this segment of the food industry, and small businesses in general, are addressing increased cost and competitive pressures.
Emphasis on operating expense
Businesses are shifting away from large investments and fixed expenses and are more frequently seeking variable cost, or “pay as you go” services. Even shifting from capital expense to operating expense isn’t enough; the operating expense base must be reduced where possible. “The shift reflects a broad reality of the post-recession economy. For the foreseeable future, that reality affects IT plans, as you seek to meet line-of-business strategies designed to please customers seeking the same opex-vs.-capex advantages.”
Smaller roll-outs, and “prototyping” of services is essential
Small businesses aren’t in a position to gamble on the success of a major product or service roll-out, and are finding that localized testing or limited release of services is a good way to gauge success without going all-in. Particularly with the challenges in obtaining financing for any sort of startup operation or business expansion these days, businesses are learning that going in small may not only be the best option, it may be the only option.
Be mobile, local, and social
Food trucks aren’t the only businesses that recognize the value of mobility, localization of services, and social involvement. Small business owners of all types have always found new opportunity by making valuable connections through social interactions. The rise of social media services on the Web has served only to increase these opportunities by introducing users to virtual communities and groups, extending reach and influence beyond localized boundaries. That being said, the social approach also serves localization very well, and allows businesses to interact at deeper levels with those in the local area or region as well. Mobility is also critical to delivering the cost reduction and agility for the business, and creating a means to meet the customer on their own terms.
The big thing to get from this article is the message about doing more with less. Smaller businesses, or smaller workgroups, are more agile and can generally innovate more readily than large groups. Cloud computing and leveraging technology to benefit the business can introduce amazing capabilities for the business, yet don’t have to represent the big expenditures that purchasing and installing technology used to require. And remember that the customer experience is what’s important, and you have to do business with the customer in a way that suits them.