Are you conducting market research to know who your food truck target audience are? If YES, here are the most important customers for a food truck business. With the rise in youth spending, middle class expenditure, conscious consumerism, mobile lifestyle and requirement of food on the go, the food truck business has become a rage among the American population.

From college campuses to outdoor festivals, food trucks have become an increasingly common presence, serving one-of-a-kind cuisine to adventurous eaters. However, the target market of a food truck is not who the vendor wants to sell food to.

Why Identifying your Target Audience is Important

Instead, it is the type of people that are anticipated to buy food from the truck. You can’t start a vegan food truck hoping to target meat eaters. In the same vein, you can’t open a grilled cheese truck and expect your customers to be women who are passionate about eating healthy.

Understanding and choosing a specific target customer will influence every decision you make, from the colours in your logo, design of your truck, type of cuisine, to the type of atmosphere you create. One of the reasons that franchise food businesses are often so successful is because they identified a specific target customer in the market before they launched.

They did a lot of market research to show that the segment of the population was sufficient enough to support their business. Unfortunately, many new food truck owners develop their concept first, before doing demographic research to find the most profitable target customers in their communities.

As a new food truck, you have to do this crucial market research before you invest your time and fortune into a food truck concept. To discover your ideal target customer, it is advisable you explore the local demographics. Start with raw numbers such as median age, cultural background, income, family life, education, etc.

Your local city government can help you find this demographic information and much of it is published online. From these raw numbers, you can start to identify a segment of the market that can support the type of food truck concept you’re interested in providing the community.

Who are the Target Audience or Customers for Food Truck Businesses?

When you run a food truck, your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Although the target audience of food trucks might differ based on location and food menu, reports have it that 43% of monthly food truck spending comes from 25 to 44-year-olds. Another 20% comes from people under 25. However, below are the key customers that patronize food trucks in the United States.

1. Millennial

The definition of the Millennial generation tend to differ, but generally speaking, Millennial comprise a group of about 80 million young men and women who were born in the ’80s and ’90s. These demographic are responsible for a large portion of the quick – serve industry.

According to reports, they visit food trucks or quick service food vendors 12 or more times per month, and they spend more of their income on food than any other generation. This population segment don’t cook so they eat out more often than older users.

One of the primary things millennial look for in a food truck is creativity and innovation. The generation is more ethnically diverse than any other age group, they are regularly exposed to many cultural influences, and they’re used to having lots of options whenever they shop.

Note that community engagement is also a driver for the Millennial. They expect to be engaged and listened to. So food truck owners are expected to use social media and location-based tools to create and participate in dialogues with Millennial. Howbeit, the conversation shouldn’t always be about your brand. Like any other generation, Millennials don’t like it when someone—or some company—only talks about himself.

2. Active Busy People

This target audience is quite time strapped, either in general or at a particular point in time. Their preference is NOT to consume quick easy food, but it may be a necessity at times. For instance, if they work late, or they are on a holiday road trip, or they are having a particularly busy day in general. In simple terms, these consumers are attracted to the “fast” part of food truck concept.

This target audience would be light users of food trucks and not overly responsive to sales promotions or advertising. They tend to have limited brand loyalty as they will make their purchase decision based upon convenience factors only. Therefore, food trucks with good location and positioning will obtain the greatest share of this target market.

3. Moms

This target audience is another important quick-serve target with distinct needs and expectations when it comes to quick food services. According to reports, there are nearly 32 million moms in the U.S. and their purchasing power accounts for nearly $1.6 trillion in annual spending. Moms are the primary decision makers on where and what their families eat, so if they like your truck, you should expect family loyalty.

When moms consider quick food options, they are looking for the optimal balance of health, convenience, and value. Health doesn’t necessarily mean low-calorie or low-fat —fresh, wholesome, and natural foods are other ways you can appeal to moms’ health consciousness.

To this target audience, you need to have speed of service, as well as ease of things like ordering, carrying group orders, and splitting meals. Note that value, now more than ever, is important to moms. This group are spending their money more cautiously because of the economic situation, and one way they care for their families is by making wise purchase decisions. A comfortable experience in which the family can enjoy a tasty meal made easily is priceless for some.

Just like Millennial, moms are heavy users of the Internet and mobile devices. They’re likely to engage in social networking, to become a fan or follower of a brand, and to post their own content online. They research companies and products online and rely heavily on reviews and recommendations to inform their purchase decisions. Make it easy for moms to find and share information about their fast food choices.

Community is as important to moms as it is to the Millennial. This group are constantly looking for brands that support their beliefs and causes. In fact, almost all moms want to buy a product that supports a cause and will switch brands in order to support one. They’re also interested in participating in forums or panels that enable them to share tips and insights from other moms as well as companies.

4. Festival Attendees

Wearing a serious sunburn, with two white strips of flesh along the shoulders from an ill – fitting souvenir tank top, and talking with only the kind of clarity reserved for someone that’s been downing cheap beer and smuggled bottles of rum in the 95 degree heat all day, the Festival Attendee isn’t expecting to have his culinary horizons expanded upon. What they need is food, and lots of food, fast, before he succumbs to alcohol poisoning and heat exhaustion.

Get this guy something smothered and covered, and don’t waste time telling him about the pedigree of your menu. Other identifying characteristics include a cigarette being smoked at your window, a tasteful calf tattoo, and/or brand new dollar store flip flops revealing feet that may have never previously seen sunshine.


Your target market is one of the most crucial aspects for your food truck. Whether you own an established food truck, or you are just starting out, explicitly analyzing and knowing your food truck’s target market is a very important first step to build a marketing strategy. Your customers determine your success and when you appeal to the right group of consumers, you and your food truck business are sure to enjoy success.

Solomon. O'Chucks