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A Social Media Lesson From Miami’s Food Trucks (Part 1)

A Social Media Lesson From Miami’s Food Trucks (Part 1)

March 1, 2011

It seemed to have come from nowhere as if that infamous @Krispy Kreme “Hot Now” light came on. All of a sudden the Twitter universe  lit up with talks about it, and if you weren’t expecting it, I guarantee you were left wondering Who? What? When? Where? and How?

Like a cult following, the Miami Food Trucks trend is like the guilty pleasure of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” when you know you should be keeping up with your New Year’s resolution of “Eat Right, Live Right, & Workout”. But just like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” you just want more. The Miami Food Trucks have rallied up Food TweetUps where dozens, if not more, Food Trucks meet up at designated locations and droves of cult followers convene for the juiciest burger, mamacita’s best Cuban dish, and a taste of the Caribbean. And we’re not talking about the old style food carts that you were too afraid to eat from. These food trucks are gourmet and outfitted to compete with any brick and morter restaurant.

What I like and admire most about the Miami Food Truck Craze is that:

  1. Inspiring restaurateurs have been able to run with their dreams and compete in the tough restaurant business but with much lower overhead.
  2. They use the good ole Law of Supply & Demand by not being everywhere all the time. Followers usually have to follow these food trucks on Twitter or subscribe to receive email or mobile alerts of these meet ups. Also, many of these trucks only gather or operate during peak hours i.e. lunch or major events.
  3. Most importantly, these food trucks have used the massive power of social media as an effective means of crowdsourcing to galvanize followers to join in intensifying mass awareness and spreading the word like wildfire.

Point #3 as mentioned above is an excellent social media lesson that not only restaurants can learn from but also brands, organizations, and especially non-profit organizations who still struggle to find the right pulse in using social media for effective fundraising and brand building.

The #1 business lesson that brands can learn from these food trucks- Go Where Your Customers Are!

These food trucks have been successful because they followed this business lesson exceptionally well and used social media to do so. They understood that as a new concept, they were up against a super competitive market. So they took to the Twitter airwaves and went where their customers were.

  • They determined that Twitter was where their potential customers hung out. They wanted customers that were on the cusp of things, kept their finger on the pulse of the Miami scene, and were not afraid to explore and experiment.
  • They identified the ideal moment to be as visible as possible to potential customers. As food trucks, they don’t operate on the same schedules as restaurants do, which means that their hours of operations are limited. So, I can imagine that their success was because they were intense on Twitter during the earlier parts of the day leading to lunch time and then around the after work hours. This means that they became one of the first things that customers thought of when they were most likely to look for food.
  • They also realized that targeting the city center would be ideal since foot traffic was the highest. So while I’m sure there’s plenty of opportunity for them in points all over, they knew that there was tremendous foot traffic connecting with Twitters and influencers in hot spots like Downtown Miami, Brickell, etc.
  • Lastly, they realized that crowdsourcing would be their gold mine if they could connect with influencers (i.e. popular bloggers, local Twitterati, etc.) who could help in spreading the word.

Because we like ideas and strategies that push the envelope, we thought we could show a little love to some of Miami’s Food Trucks:

@latinburger– Latin Burger is touted as one of the juiciest burger joints around town

@gastropodmiami– gastroPod’s evolving menu keeps lovers on their toes and back for more

@feverishmiami– Miami’s only Green ice cream truck

@jefesoriginal– The name Jefe’s Original Fish Taco & Burgers says it all

@MGFD_MIA– The mobile eatery for Michael’s Genuine Food & Drinks

@yellowtwiter– It’s burger time at Yellow Submarine

 

As you can imagine, we’re running out of breath listing all of the hot Miami Food Trucks. So get to truckin’ to www.burgerbeast.com/2008/09/your-south-florida-street-food-guide.html for more complete listing.

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