For any restaurant or food truck, a bad review from a local critic can feel apocalyptic. However, a bad review is never the only aspect that makes or breaks a business. On the other hand, one positive review isn’t going to make you the hottest food truck in your city. If that were the case, cities would be filled with critics’ favorite food trucks and no one else.
The job of a food critic is to be biased and opinionated, so never take a bad review personally. It’s tough, but power through it. When they go to a food truck, they’re looking for things to complain about it. They can love the food, but there’s still a chance they’ll point out an aspect they did not like. The more honest a critic is, the more successful they are, so they’re traditionally brutally honest.
Besides professional food critics who write for newspapers or magazines, every customer is a potential food critic. The increasing popularity of online review websites (such as Yelp) makes any customer with a smartphone or online access a food critic. Therefore, every customer should be treated like a revered food critic.
A good method to get a food critic to visit your food truck is simply a great public relations strategy. Once a critic does arrive at your truck, it’s up to you to impress the pants off of them. But how do you recognize a professional food critic? The best way is to follow the names and faces of local food critics and regional reviewers. Make sure your staff does as well.
If you recognize a food critic in line at your food truck, let him/her know that you’re the owner and you’re free to answer any questions before he publishes the review. If a food critic is eating at your food truck and begins to complain about the food or the service, remain calm, accept the criticism, and do your best to resolve the situation as soon as possible. Attempting to resolve the situation can gain you bonus points for excellent customer service. NEVER become defensive if a critic (or customer) is complaining.
Before the food critic leaves, ask them to give you a heads-up about when the review will be published. This will help you prepare for a rush if the review is positive. Plus, you may want to pick up a few copies of the review and send them to your relatives. Fridge-material indeed.
For every review you receive, take advantage of the critique to modify your food truck’s offerings and operations. Use every negative review as a learning point and talk to your staff about remedying the situation. Use positive reviews to make sure the rest of your truck matches the quality aspects. Remember to focus on the positive reviews your food truck receives and display them on the outside of your truck.
One Fat Frog • 2416 Sand Lake Road • Orlando, FL 32809 • 407-480-3409