How to Double Your Food Truck’s Profits Using a Process Improvement Plan

Located in the heart of England is the small but vibrant city of Leicester. Just an hour north of London, Leicester is home to some of the finest Indian cuisine outside of India. Leicester’s food truck and food stall business also has plenty to offer, presenting a diverse selection of local and international dishes, including the famous curry!

Based in Leicester is a Process Improvement company called Faster Food. It’s aim is to help food trucks and stalls become the fastest and most efficient food businesses they can be. Faster Food was created to help food businesses get food to customers in the fastest possible time. 

It was while waiting in line for some food at a local music event that Ed Campion became impatient. He noticed that people considering joining the back of the line were opting for a shorter wait at another food stall even if it wasn’t the food they wanted. What a shame that some people will choose a shorter wait, rather than wait for the best quality food, he thought. Each time this happens it is a lost opportunity to sell food, to grow customer base and make a profit.

Once at the top of the line it was clear that the wait was worth it for the best crispy chicken and rice he had ever tasted. Sticky BBQ sauce in a bowl full of goodness made all of life’s frustrations, including waiting in a line, drift away. Ed knew that people would have changed their mind if they saw the line was shorter or that it moved faster. He needed to get to work to help them achieve this and so, Faster Food was born. Ed started to think about all the ways that the food could get from order to eating in as short a time as possible.

What does Faster Food do?

Faster Food would like Food Trucks or stalls to upload a 15 minute video of their food preparation process to fasterfoodservices.com. The video footage will then be analyzed to identify a number of things:

1. How long each order takes to get to the customer

2. How long each task takes to complete as part of an order

3. The distance moved in order to complete each order

4. The ease of access to each ingredient for an order

5. The capacity of equipment e.g. fryers/hotplates

6. The capacity of staff

Faster Food is able to calculate various Key Performance Indicators and find ways to improve your food making process.  Everything the food truck/stall and its staff does during the food preparation is analysed. The entire process from start to finish is studied to make improvements at each stage in order to reduce the time from order to customer, to reduce various types of waste and ultimately increase profits for your business.

Faster Food Case Study

What did Faster Food do to improve the speed and profits of a local fast food stall?

A local Leicester food stall went under the spotlight of Faster Food. They submitted a 15 minute video of staff preparing orders for customers at a busy time and a week later they received a Process Improvement Plan (PIP) via email. The PIP is a detailed document identifying the three main ways to improve the speed of food preparation and reduce the waste of the food stall. You will now find out how they were able to double their profits and give customers a better experience, after the PIP was implemented. 

Recommended Reading: Start a Part-Time Food Business Without Quitting Your Day Job 

1.) Improve Movement

The food stall staff walked an average of 25m for each order and it was identified that they only needed to walk 15m if they rearranged a few things. They had a poorly laid out set of ingredients which meant they wasted time going from one ingredient to another. To improve this, ingredients were grouped based on type and they saved time and movement as a result.

Layout of Stall – Before Faster Food PIP

The diagram below shows the movement of two staff, one completing a chicken dish and the other completing a prawn dish. 

Original Kitchen Layout #1.

Layout of Stall – After Faster Food PIP

Optimized Kitchen Layout.

It was estimated that if ‘Possible Layout # 1’ was implemented, it would reduce the movement per order from 25m to 15m and possibly less. This would be a 60% reduction in movement and time taken to move the food around the stall, to complete an order.

2.) Improve Usage of Fryer / Hotplate Capacity

The processing of the chicken and prawns in the stall was the slowest set of processes (bottleneck) that was required to fulfil an order. This was therefore a key area to concentrate on. An order will always take at least as long as your bottleneck time, which is defined as the time taken to complete the slowest task. By reducing the bottleneck time, you can speed up your order fulfilment. 

When two staff were in the stall one person should have been dedicated to carrying out all processing of the protein ingredients in order to speed up this part of the process. 

In addition, using both baskets of the fryer instead of one basket would allow double the chicken to be cooked per hour and therefore fulfil double the customer orders per hour.

Could Fried Chicken Be a Bottle Neck in Your Business?

3.) Improve Capacity of Staff

Avoid idle staff. The person that takes payments can do so much more than just wait to take another payment. Each minute that a person is idle is time that could be used to get food to the customer faster.

While one person takes ownership of the protein ingredients, the other person can take payment and prepare the rest of the order. This will increase familiarity and speed with all tasks in the food stall. This will also avoid staff getting in each other’s way moving around the stall.

Investing in the training of your staff will also help to improve their capacity for the number of customer orders completed per hour. Concentrate on the three most commonly performed tasks and try to write down how to complete each task, step by step. This will be a valuable training tool when new staff join the team.

Take Action to Improve Your Business

What can you do to make your food business more efficient and profitable?

  1. Record a video of your food truck and how you prepare your food using a phone or camera.
  2. Measure the time it takes to get an order to the customer.
  3. Trial ways to speed up your food process e.g. reduce movement, reduce idle time and use available capacity in your food equipment.

I would love to hear about how improvements YOU have made to your food business has made it stronger and in turn increased your profits. 

If you need more help with a specific food truck processing problem or you would like your process to be faster, contact Faster Food for a tailored package specific to your food truck or food stall needs. Faster Food can help you to improve the processes of getting your food to customers quicker.

You can contact Faster Food at fasterfoodservices.com.

Excelerate Your Profits With This $1,300 Prize Drawing

Faster Food would like to offer one lucky Food Truck owner the chance to have their very own Process Improvement Plan, worth up to $1300. To be in with a chance to win this prize just do the following;

  1. Share this post on social media and take a screenshot of your post
  2. Send your screenshot in an email to fasterfoodservices@gmail.com with the Subject: ‘Food Truck Empire Prize Draw’
  3. The prize draw will take place 28 days after the date on this guest post, when one lucky winner will be asked to submit a 15 minute video of their food process. They will then receive a PIP from Faster Food to make their business more efficient.

Register now and you could become our next food truck case study.

About Support Staff

Brett Lindenberg is the founder of Food Truck Empire and Food Empire Pro. Brett's mission is help to entrepreneurs start and grow profitable food businesses. Since 2014, Brett has interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs on the Food Empire Pro podcast and written hundreds of blog posts on all aspects of food business. Brett has been quoted in media outlets like Entrepreneur Magazine, CNBC, and The Washington Post.