Are you a foodie with a gift for cooking and a sense of adventure? Then you may already be dreaming about getting your own food truck. An ever rising trend, especially in cities, food trucks allow you to share your delicious eats not just in one stationary restaurant but wherever you have the gas to drive. Most food trucks stick to their community in order to build up customer loyalty, but some food trucks travel all around their state or even from coast to coast.
One thing that is essential when you plan to buy a food truck, however, is establishing your brand. How will people know your food truck apart from all the others? And once you have an established brand, what can you do to protect it?
What Is Your Food Truck Brand?
Your food truck might have a unique recipe or a fun way of serving or plating food that sets you apart. Your brand can often be tied to that, but branding is also what makes those unique traits stand out. Your brand is a marketing tactic used to make your food truck stand out from the competition. Food trucks often share downtown streets during the lunch rush, which is why so many make a point of having such a distinct brand. Your food truck brand includes your:
- Name and logo
- Colors, graphics and truck design
- Website, social media, or online presence
Anything that makes your food truck recognizable is a part of your brand. Think about the personality you want for your truck. Is it homey and cozy, or sharp and modern? Funny or classy? Do you want an animated character to serve as the mascot of your food truck or maybe a stylized design of your two dogs? Get creative and work out a plan for your food truck brand so you can bring it to life…and keep it unique.
Why Your Food Truck Brand Matters
The main reason your food truck brand matters is so that your customers can tell you apart from any other food truck — or any other truck. If it’s not clear what your food truck is, you’re not likely to get a lot of business. On the other hand, if you have customers who love your food and a brand that sticks out in their minds, they will seek out your food truck specifically. This is essential when you have a mobile business. Your social media presence can help ensure that they find you when they need to.
We also live in a society that puts a heavy emphasis on aesthetics and appearances. If your food truck brand is too plain, you’ll likely get passed up for more distinct food trucks. If it’s too similar to another food truck’s brand, you may lose customers to that food truck and you may even find yourself in hot water legally with your competitor.
Finally, your brand gives customers an idea of what they can expect. If your food is spicy, bright reds or oranges and a fiery name can clue them in. If you sell sweet desserts, your brand might be softer and subtler. A cozy, nostalgic brand might put customers in mind of home-cooked meals from their mother. Your brand should reflect your food, which is, of course, what everything comes back to.
Protecting Your Food Truck IP
Equally as important as developing the perfect food truck brand is protecting your brand so that it isn’t compromised by a competitor. Though you can’t trademark your certain colors or styles that you use, there are elements of your brand that you can trademark, such as:
- Your food truck name
- Your logo
- The unique names of your dishes
Recipes cannot be trademarked, but they can be considered a trade secret. If the recipe is not intuitive and is essential to your business — such as a secret family recipe — it can be considered a trade secret and thus kept from the competition. You can also copyright your menus and your social media imagery to further protect your brand.
The best plan to protect your brand is to speak to an IP attorney who can walk you through the trademark and copyright processes. Garcia-Zamor has over two decades of combined experience when it comes to intellectual property, as well as a love for food trucks! Contact us today to learn more about how you can protect your brand or to schedule a free consultation.