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Food Trucks, Staying Relevant, and Customer Loyalty

by Nancy Marmolejo

When it comes to staying relevant, it's important to know where to plant your flag. Some people effortlessly dwell in cool, being the first to spot trends and earning reputations as innovative early adopters. Think about early social media evangelists or the first person you knew with an iPod.

Then there are the people who come late to the party, trying with all their might to milk the last drop out of an idea.

There's a big buzz going around food circles about the LA Food Truck phenomenon and whether or not it's a waning trend. Food trucks aren't anything new- from sandwiches to tacos, they've been beeping La Cucaracha upon entering parking lots for decades.

But chef Roy Choi, founder of the Kogi truck, put a new element of cool into the rolling restaurant world when he took the Taco Truck concept (a staple on the West Coast), and put a Korean twist on it. (Korean style beef tacos... complete and total YUM!)

His business brilliantly uses Twitter, to announce where they'll be next and crowds form every day for their fix. The Kogi truck not only has a huge following, but quite a bit of other foodies are copying his every move (The Grilled Cheese Truck is quite the rage in LA among others). The creativity is awesome... but are too many food trucks spoiling the soup?

So that brings us back to the topic of staying cool, relevant, and building loyalty with your customers. When you're on the forefront of a trend, doing what you love, it's pure joy. But suddenly you have fast food chains like Jack in the Box launching fleets of food trucks, diluting the spirit of the movement.

Whether you're driving a food truck or selling consulting services, your ability to stand out is what will keep you top of mind.

Here are 3 tips to stay relevant, innovative, and #1 in your customers' eyes.

1. Always Keep an Eye Out for the Opportunities The cool person's credo is to keep an eye out for where everyone ISN'T. Be the first one there and claim your spot. When the developers arrive and start putting in sidewalks, you know it's time to go. For example, Twitter was the innovation for Kogi. Now everyone is using Twitter to track their food trucks. Is there another social media strategy or mobile marketing app that can keep you front and center?

2. Graciously acknowledge yourself as a founder and innovator. No, you don't want to whine, "I was here first! Go away!". Rather, graciously greet the newcomers as if they're coming to YOUR party. Hold the confidence of someone who belongs anywhere you go. Your business might get some push from competitors, but don't show your worry. This is a mindset issue... if you don't establish this, you'll go into a tailspin.

3. Cultivate loyalty through great customer service Never let your customers and fans forget how much you value them. Give them access to the cool kids club... special deals, notifications, customer only rewards and the like. Others may copy you from the outside, but they can't copy the emotional imprint you leave on your clients. They'll excitedly follow you wherever you go and stay loyal to you.

What are your thoughts on staying relevant and ahead of the curve? How important is it to you and your business? Are you a follower, a leader, or a copier? Leave your comments below.

Nancy Marmolejo may be contacted at

Nancy Marmolejo teaches entrepreneurs how to break the cycle of struggle and mediocrity and emerge as confident, sought after, profitable business owners. Using her signature Profitable Essence™ system, Nancy’s clients learn to connect their authenticity and talents with what will make them the most money. Her approach is a blend of expert strategy, intuitive insights, and high octane creativity. With over 100 media credits to her name and numerous business achievement awards, Nancy is a respected expert with a loyal following from around the globe.


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