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Create a Competitive Analysis for Your Food Truck Business

A competitive analysis looks at your competitors and how they present a direct or indirect threat to your food truck business. Competitors in the rapidly developing food truck industry seem to be in a continual race to develop new products for the public. You can gain a tremendous advantage by learning what your competitors may be developing or improving on their menus.

In addition, it provides you with a clear understanding of your local market and how you can refine your strategic business decisions to change the perception or direction of your business. Competitive analysis also can reveal broad trends in the marketplace, again providing you with the advantage of being able to spot opportunities for differentiating your products and service before your competitors can.

The first step in writing a competitive analysis is to list your competitors. Name the companies that you’re competing with. (For this exercise, select two direct competitors; if you want to do a more thorough examination later, you can expand this number and include some of your indirect competitors as well.)

Explain what they do — are they a truck or a restaurant? List where your competitors operate, or where they’re located, and how they provide service to their customers, whether from a food truck service window, a drive-thru, or a table seating.

Be sure to list your competitors’ strengths to give yourself an honest analysis.

You’ll then list how your business compares on these points and why or how your food truck does it better. This chart shows how your food truck differs from the competition, especially what you provide that others don’t or can’t. Creating this list helps you spot gaps in your business, or even in your market.

The table shows a sample competitive analysis. Note that this table allows you to define your direct competition and their strengths and weaknesses. After gathering this data, you’ll need to compare yourself to your competition and determine what areas you need to improve.

A Sample Competitive Analysis
Criteria The Road Grill (You) Ben’s Burger Truck (Direct Competitor #1) Sports Zone (Direct Competitor #2)
Type of establishment Food truck Food truck Restaurant
Location Mobile, varies from day to day Mobile, varies from day to day Downtown corner; difficult to park
Menu Wood-fired pizzas, black angus burgers, and wing flights Burgers, wings, and cheese sticks Wings, pizzas, and sandwiches
Price/value Prices based on “quality” costs of premium ingredients Value priced based on volume and lack of required labor for pre-prepared foods Price based on national brand and image; portions and quality not in line with price
Efficiency Personal service and menu cooked fresh to order; 5 minutes average Quick service for foods due to convenient preparation Slower service due to staffing levels
Targeted demographic Affluent foodies and sports fans Mid-market sports fans Tourists, convention business
Type/style of service Food truck service window Food truck service window Table service
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