Phoodio app updates food truck schedules automatically for customers

July 19, 2017 | by Elliot Maras

Photos: https://depositphotos.com

Rob Toftness, a software engineer and food truck lover in Denver, Colorado, had a hard time tracking down a food truck that he heard was somewhere in his vicinity.

He was frustrated having to spend time searching on his mobile device. While most food truck owners claim social media is their top marketing tool, Toftness learned that not all of them do a good job keeping customers up to date on where they are.

In reaching out to food truck owners, Toftness soon realized that given the complexities of running a food truck, many simply don't have time to update their schedules on social media. That's when he got the idea for Phoodio, a food truck update app.

The app shows the location of nearby trucks.

"So I built Phoodio with this in mind," Toftness told Food Truck Operator. "Rather than having to check in somewhere, the food truck can create a schedule on Phoodio, and it will automatically update their location for them and close it down once their event has ended."

"Better yet, they can connect an existing calendar, and Phoodio will keep the truck's schedule in sync," he said. "This works with existing solutions such as Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar and Facebook Events."

The app launches

Phoodio launched in December of 2016 and currently has 12 subscribed Denver area trucks.

The truck's location gets automatically updated, and location updates automatically post to Facebook and Twitter. Trucks can link to their social media pages, and they can post menus.

Truck owners are welcome to post a profile about their business for free on the site. The only cost is to update information. An update occurs when an event begins or when a truck changes location.

One to 10 monthly updates cost 75 cents per update; 11 to 20 costs 65 cents; while 21 and above cost 50 cents.

"It's like a utility bill; you pay for what you use," Toftness said.

225 truck profiles

Toftness has created profiles for 225 trucks in the greater Denver area to give the truck owners an idea what Phoodio can offer.

"I created them (the profiles) just so I could show what they (the profile pages) would look like," Toftness said.

Truck profiles contain information about the truck, an image gallery, social media links, menus and schedules. Anyone looking for information about a truck can find everything they need all in one location.

The app can update schedules.

For the truck profiles Toftness has posted, the owners can change the standing content for free. But only registered truck owners can update their schedules.

Among the truck owners that have signed up to be able to do schedule updates, about half signed up after seeing the profile pages that Toftness created for them. The other half came across the service and wanted to be able to update customers about their whereabouts.

A customer convenience

Food truck customers can simply open the app and tap the button to find any active trucks in their vicinity. When they open the app, they see a map that shows the closest trucks to their location. Additionally, they can create a list of favorite trucks and opt into notifications when the trucks update their locations.

Customers can find nearby food trucks.

"I personally use this when keeping an eye out for one of my favorites, Churn and Burn," Toftness said for one of his favorite food trucks. 

Food truck users satisfied

Truck owners interviewed by Food Truck Operator were pleased with the program.

"The interface that Rob provides is second to none," Josh Bolte, owner of Churn and Burn, told Food Truck Operator. "You can sync it with Outlook, Google and the Facebook events calendar that you already use for your own scheduling as a business owner." The main benefit for Bolte is that it offers his customers the ability to view his menu and be notified where the truck is at any given time.

"The last thing I remember to do is social media posts," said Gary Grilo, owner of Goin' South food truck, who loves the fact that Phoodio automatically posts his whereabouts. "I hit Instagram and Facebook, and I don't have to do a thing."

Toftness plans to expand the service beyond Denver.


Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Customer Service / Experience, Food & Beverage, Independent Operators, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Online / Mobile / Social, Systems / Technology

Companies: Phoodio



Elliot Maras
Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.

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