Many people know of food trucks, but a recent trend in coastal areas is food boat businesses. The start of a new business is always thrilling, but it can be difficult to know where to spend money on the boat. After all, there are so many different things that need attention! We have put together 5 upgrades for your boat that will not only make you happy now but also help grow your future food boat business.
- Boat Decor
From the outside in, your boat’s appearance is crucial to its success. You want people to feel welcomed into your establishment right away. The first thing they will see is the outside of the boat, so it should be inviting and attractive! Choose colors that complement each other, pay attention to how the boats around you are decorated (to fit with their demographics), and make sure all of your signage is legible and attractive.
- Point of Sale System
A lot of food boat owners start off using an iPad or kitchen computer for their POS system; but if you would like something more formalized, that can work well too! While setting up business accounts with Microsoft Excel or Google Docs can work for simple tasks, you will eventually reach a point where it is not sufficient enough. When this happens, you may need to make the jump to a full POS system. These systems can be pricey (starting at $300), but they are much more robust and user-friendly than their mobile counterparts.
- Comfort Upgrades
Once you have your boat decorated and set up with a proper POS system…you should reward yourself! One of the best ways to do so is by making your patrons comfortable. Some upgrades include: adding USB ports & outlets near tables, resurfacing tables with granite or tile countertops, purchasing new chairs or booths that match your color scheme, etc. Things that you may have deemed unnecessary when you first started out are now necessary for high-quality service! You can even upgrade a few items like purchasing an E-Key remote for your own convenience.
- Better Lighting
When your business starts to do poorly, the easiest way to save money is by reducing overhead costs. Sure, you can turn off all of your lights after 10 pm but that’s no way to bring in customers! Besides, people want to see what they are eating and drinking. If possible, gradually upgrade each light fixture within your boat over time so it does not appear too stark. Usually replacing incandescent bulbs with LED or fluorescent ones will be sufficient enough. You could also consider opening up your bottom floor if there is space available to allow more foot traffic through the below decks.
- Health Score
Your last and most important investment…one that will not be seen by anyone except the health inspector. Your boat’s health score is a large part of your success. If you can maintain a perfect 100, your business will flourish; but if you fall below 90, your business may die out despite all efforts to bring customers in. You should replace any old cooking equipment with stainless steel equivalents; invest in high-quality sponges to wipe down every surface, and ensure that all employees wash their hands (and nails) before starting work!
All of these upgrades can be done at your own pace, but they are certainly worth the investment! As you continue to grow, you will realize how important each of these components is. Furthermore, investing in them now means you will save money and be more profitable as you continue to grow.