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The market analysis section of your food truck's business plan illustrates your knowledge of the mobile food industry. Here, you present general highlights and conclusions of any marketing research data you’ve collected. This section should include the following:

  • Industry description and outlook: In this overview section, include a description of the mobile food industry and the current size of the industry and its growth rate since 2008 (because that’s when the gourmet food truck industry exploded onto the American scene).

    You also should include trends and characteristics related to the industry as a whole (that is, show how the mobile food industry is growing exponentially with no signs of slowing), and a description of who the major customer groups are within the industry. You can find national and local mobile food industry growth trends at Mobile Cuisine.

  • Target market information: Your target market is simply the group of customers you want to focus selling your food to. When you’re defining your target market, narrow it to a manageable size. Overreaching when making these projections will only hurt you in the long run, even if the financial numbers they generate look impressive.

    When it comes to target market information, you should gather information that identifies the following:

    • Characteristics of the primary market you’re targeting: These characteristics may include information about the critical needs of your potential customers (the food you serve isn’t currently being sold in this area), the degree to which those needs are (or aren’t) currently being met, and the demographics of the group.

      They’d also include the geographic location of your target market and any seasonal trends that may impact the industry or your business (for example, selling ice cream in colder climates tends to slow down in the winter).

    • Size of the primary target market: Here, you need to know the number of potential customers in your primary market, the number of annual purchases they make from food trucks that have menus similar to your own, the geographic area they reside in, and the forecasted market growth for this group.

    • The extent to which you feel your food truck business will be able to gain market share and the reasons why: In this research, you determine the market share percentage and number of customers you expect to obtain in your geographic area. You must also outline the logic you used to develop these estimates.

    • Your pricing and gross margin targets: Here, you define the levels of your pricing and your gross margin levels.

    • Resources for finding information related to your target market: If you have access to a professional market analysis or information you’ve received from a news article or a trade magazine, explain where you gathered your information from.

    • Media you’ll use to reach your target audience: These sources may include print or online publications, radio or television broadcasts, or any other type of credible source that may have influence with your target market.

    • Market test results: When you include information about any of the market tests you’ve completed for your business plan, you must be sure to focus on only the results of these tests (such as the total number of trucks or fast casual restaurants selling the same type of cuisine in the market). You list the specific details in the appendix.

      Market test results may include, but aren’t limited to, the potential customers you contacted, any information or tastings you gave to prospective customers, and the target market’s desire to purchase your food at varied prices.

    • Evaluation of your competition: When you’re doing a competitive analysis, you need to identify your competition by researching food trucks with similar menus as your own (savory meals, desserts, or specialty menus such as vegetarian or vegan). Gourmet food trucks all try to attain the same market segment in each geographic region, so knowing how many trucks navigate the streets of your city is key to your analysis.

      After you have this information, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the top food trucks in your area, and identify any barriers which may hinder you as you’re entering the market.

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