D.C Food Trucks: Can I Get That with a Side of Social?
The food truck craze has made its way to the nation’s capital, and these restaurants on wheels thrive on social media. Social platforms serve as the method of choice to update the city on whereabouts and menus, but have also turned street eats into an interactive, engaging activity for Washingtonians. Take a look at how two trucks I’ve been dying to try are getting social; the first, a buttery lobster-mobile and the second a taco truck with a Korean twist.
David BenBassett, Coordinator
Food trucks are all the rage in major cities these days, and their business, while delicious, is also very social. Storefront restaurants are stuck in the same place, but food trucks are always on the go. Pair that with a low marketing budget, and you get some innovative ways that these mobile chefs use social media to communicate their location to locavores on the cheap. The owners get in touch with fans via platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare and share their current location and menus. For foodies in the city, it becomes a sort of game: tracking down the truck and getting something tasty as a reward.
Most of the trucks have their own websites, but these are minimal and basically serve to direct the hungry to Facebook or Twitter, where the real interaction happens. Owners make use of Twitter to let their followers know where they will be and what is featured on the menu. Red Hook Lobster Pound’s truck has racked up over 20,000 followers who actively tweet questions, opinions, and just general lobster love. Facebook has been a successful forum for requesting locations and discussing experiences and favorite dishes. Posts from happy customers have really helped raise the image of street food. At the outset, many were skeptical of street meats and fish, but the inclusion of pictures and reviews from trusted friends have brought people en masse to the local vehicles. Other trucks, like Takorean, a Korean BBQ-Mexican fusion, host blogs where they update followers on everything from trends in recipes to local D.C. news..Implications and Action Items
Food trucks around the country have turned the traditional street vendor cart into a fun and engaging dining experience. Hungry Washingtonians can expect a high-quality meal that will leave them satisfied, but more importantly, ready to come back for seconds. Here are three strategies any brand can learn from food truck social media:
Download Perspectives, August 2011
- Location, location, location. Location-based apps like Foursquare and Facebook Places are becoming increasingly popular. Set up a profile for your business: It’s an inexpensive way to remind customers that you’re close by.
- Converse. Create a dialogue with your customers. Food trucks have an active following because they understand that social media isn’t all about selling, it’s about building relationships. Encourage discussion and participation by participating yourself.
- Act natural. Set up a local voice for your brand via social media. Food trucks make themselves a part of the city. Show the locals that you’re one of them, even if you’re national.
(pdf, 1.3 Mb)