Using Typeform and my social media networks, I was able to reach out to 99 food truck diners take my online survey on food truck tracking apps.
My User Assumptions
Prior to deciding on my capstone project idea, I had a certain set of assumptions about people's food truck patronage.
The assumptions were that people would dine at food trucks more frequently if...
- They could pay with a non-cash option (credit cards, Apply Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.),
- The truck were recommended to them by a friend
- The truck were recommended to them by an app
- They could see the menu ahead of time
- They could order ahead of time
These assumptions were put to the test with a 2-minute online survey.
User Research Results
How do you decide which food truck(s) to patron?
Where are the food truck(s) that you patron?
Have you used any of the following food truck tracking apps?
How likely would you eat at a good truck recommended by a friend?
How important is it that all food trucks be listed in the mobile app?
How important is it that food trucks have customer ratings?
How likely would you eat at a food truck if you could pay with your phone?
How likely would you eat at a food truck if it were listed in a mobile app?
How likely would you eat at a food truck if it were recommended to you by a mobile app?
How likely would you patron a food truck if you could see the menu items ahead of time?
How likely would you patron a food truck if you could order ahead?
Interviewing was tough. It was difficult to get busy mobile food truck vendors to participate in a 45 minute survey. I was able to interview one vendor. On the user end, however, I found time to interview 5 potential users.
The interview process allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of how they approaching dining at food trucks, what their reasoning is for choosing said trucks, as well as a better understanding of how they would use some of the proposed features mentioned in the survey.
Once I was able to pinpoint certain pain points for the vendor, we were able to look at how the proposed features would improve their experiences. Many liked the idea of checking out the menu while they were still in their office, ordering, and paying via an in-app payment system.
When asked whether or not they’d be more likely to eat at a truck if a friend recommended it, only one mentioned that they “don’t trust some of their friends’ culinary choices.” A rating system would be put to good use here as well.
One thing that I found out via these interviews is that food truck culture is very different depending on the city. For example, in Seattle many food trucks get brought in by employers like Amazon during lunch hours. In Washington, DC, the squares are a common gathering ground for trucks. Trucks typically rotate between the squares on a predictable schedule.
Despite this, many users liked the idea of getting pinged when they’re close to a food truck that they may like (depending on algorithms, preferences, etc.) as well as receiving a coupon for said truck.
As for the in app payment feature, many users wouldn’t mind storing their credit card information if the app were respectable. Apple Pay or Samsung Pay is a good alternative for this. Often cash only trucks are a major deterrent.
The research I conducted on the user side validated prior assumptions.
Surprisingly, users don't mind getting bombarded with notifications on their phones as long as it's relevant to them and they get something out of it. Out of the interviews, one thing that came out of that is the idea of geotargeting users based on their proximity to trucks and their culinary preferences.
Users like being able to control the experience. If they want to wait in line, they'll wait in line. However, when given the option of choosing their trucks ahead of time, ordering their food based on an online menu, in addition to paying for the meal on their phones, they'll do that.
One thing that I found surprising was that food truck vendors that took the survey didn't hear of any of these apps. There's also a big difference between vendors that stay in one spot versus those that move around on a regular basis. Food truck culture is also very different based on location. For example, in Seattle many food trucks get brought in by employers like Amazon during lunch hours. In Washington, DC, the squares are a common gathering ground for trucks. Trucks typically rotate between the squares on a predictable schedule. Whereas in Philadelphia, food trucks are either always at the same place or they move around and use social media to alert their followers.