Food truck owners love their customers . . . most of them, anyways. Every once in a while, though, there will be a customer who really gets on your nerves.
However, being a food truck owner means that service comes with a smile, even if you’re gritting your teeth to keep yourself from speaking out or complaining.
If you’ve ever dealt with a bad customer, you’re not alone. See if you share any of these common gripes food truck owners have about their customers.
#1 – ALLERGIES AND SPECIAL DIETS
Allergies are no joke to food truck owners. The legal ramifications of getting it wrong are huge, and food truck owners don’t want to be responsible for causing a serious reaction or even death.
That being said, a food truck is limited on space, which means that special preparation areas are not always available in a food truck. The risks are too great, which is why some food trucks now refuse to serve customers with allergies or accommodate special diet requests.
Pet Peeve Alert! Allergies that are not actual allergies—just food preferences.
Food truck owners hate when customers announce an allergy that is not an actual allergy, but is instead a food preference. Don’t tell us you’re allergic to brown gravy when you simply prefer white gravy. We worry about hurting you and any of our other customers, which is why your “allergies” give us ulcers.
#2 – COMPLAINING THAT PRICES ARE TOO HIGH
Most food truck owners can’t afford to give away 10¢ tacos. Beyond food costs, there’s overhead and salaries that need to be paid. Customers who complain about prices don’t seem to appreciate the prep work, the labor, and the cleanup involved in making their food. After all, aren’t they avoiding all that extra work by eating out in the first place?
Pet Peeve Alert! Customers who visit a gourmet food truck but expect hot dog stand
One of the appeal of food trucks is the opportunity to try new cuisine, fusion foods, and gourmet options without the expensive linen-covered tables of a high-end restaurant. Even though the atmosphere of a food truck is casual, preparing high-end gourmet foods still comes with a punch to the wallet. Let’s face it, shiitake flan and grilled mortadella isn’t going to be as cheap as your average all beef hot dog on a regular bun.
#3 – SPEAK UP! I CAN’T HEAR YOU
Food trucks are sometimes parked outside with traffic noises or crowds in the background. Plus, there’s usually a bit of a racket inside the food truck from fans, machinery, or co-workers. Placing your order in a whisper makes me wonder if I heard you correctly, and it can also cause delays each time I need you to repeat yourself.
Pet Peeve Alert! Not knowing what you ordered doesn’t mean I got it wrong.
Maybe you didn’t know that calamari is deep-fried squid, and maybe you just found out you hate squid, but that’s not my fault. Don’t expect me to prepare you a new dish gratis because you didn’t understand what you ordered. You can’t return food like other merchandise. I can’t serve it to someone else and I shouldn’t have to absorb the cost of your misunderstanding. If I misheard you, then by all means, I will prepare and serve you the dish you asked for. Otherwise, pay for the new item you’d rather have.
#4 – LACK OF BASIC MANNERS
Parents who don’t watch their kids. People who snap their fingers and expect you to jump to their service. Not saying please and thank you. Blowing up at us over a misunderstanding. Hemming and hawing at the order counter for twenty minutes while a line builds up behind you.
The list of rude acts goes on and on.
All of these breaches of basic manners should have been learned in kindergarten. If you don’t
know them, perhaps it’s time you go to your local elementary school and enroll.
Pet Peeve Alert! Speaking down to me or my staff.
Treat us right, and we’ll treat you right. Acting like a superior, know-it-all isn’t going to win you any favors. We do the best we can, and if we’ve made a mistake, let us know and we’ll try to make it right, but be civil. Nothing will make me angrier than someone being cruel to my employees. I might not do anything to sabotage your food, but I will make sure it takes three times as long to prepare, and I will screw up your tight lunch schedule.
#5 – CHANGING MY MENU
My menu board shows you what I have on hand to prepare. If I am a ramen food truck, I do not carry the fixings for a club sandwich. Off-menu ordering doesn’t make you look like an avant-garde foodie, it makes you look like a jerk. If you have a custom order, contact me well in advance; otherwise, you’re out of luck.
Pet Peeve Alert! Telling me what I should have on my menu.
Recommendations are lovely, but telling me I should have fresh baby asparagus with lamb on my menu in December is ridiculous. Menus vary with the seasons because certain items are available or fresh from the farm. I’ve given my menu a lot of thought, and changing my menu comes across as condescending rather than helpful.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP GRIPES? SHARE YOUR STORIES!
We’ve shared our top five gripes, and now we’d like to hear yours. What drives you nuts or makes your day harder as a food truck owner? Let us know in the comments!
And as always, make sure your business is sufficiently insured.
BY AUSTIN DYKSTRA
Austin Dykstra writes about marketing, business, and insurance for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Austin Dykstra has written about everything from Instagram marketing to online reputation management. He is now firmly entrenched in the thrilling world of insurance. You can find Austin on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter, where he’s meekly re-entering the fray after quitting during the 2016 election cycle.