Did you get a chance to check out Oktoberfest, the Fantastic Thai Market or the Singapore International Festival of Arts this year? If you did, you probably saw the Kerbside Gourmet food truck, parked along the curb side, serving its delicious and honest-to-goodness food.
So… Who, or What is Kerbside Gourmet?
Kerbside Gourmet, more affectionately known as Kerby, is Asia’s first social enterprise gourmet food truck. In 2013, Kerby managed to overcome Singapore’s strict regulations against the mobile food industry, and today, it remains as one of the 3 surviving food trucks in Singapore. Scouring the streets and events around Singapore for discerning individuals like you, Kerby targets people looking for a soulful and unconventional dining experience.
To find out more about what Kerby stood for, we met with Luan, former communications practitioner and brainchild behind Kerbside Gourmet, for a casual interview.
Luan is a strong believer in providing every customer with nothing less than “honest-to-goodness” food, and a fun experience at the truck. In fact, the business prides itself on its fresh produce with no MSG, additives or preservatives. Moreover, Kerby’s constantly changing menu offers a myriad of dishes – from Tokyo dogs to bak chor mee buns. Sounds delicious?
More than just providing customers with an unconventional dining experience, Kerbside Gourmet remains deeply rooted in the Singaporean community through its social cause. It operates on a Buy-a-Meal-Give-a-Meal (BAMGAM) principle, where it donates a meal to a needy family for every meal purchased.
What about the other food trucks in Singapore?
We have identified the other two food trucks in Singapore, The Travelling C.O.W (Chef on Wheels) and Coffee Bandits, as Kerbside Gourmet’s direct competitors.
The Travelling C.O.W (Chef on Wheels) is Singapore’s first food truck, established in 2012, and serves local western infused dishes. It also has a fixed location store called “The Diner by The Travelling C.O.W”. Kerby’s other direct competitor, Coffee Bandits, is a food truck started by 2 stay-at-home mothers in 2013. It mainly focuses on serving coffee, but also serves quick bites. Similar to The Travelling C.O.W., it has a fixed location store called “Fuel by Coffee Bandits”.
While all three businesses have trucks that are nomadic in nature, Kerbside Gourmet is the ONLY business without a permanent store location – making its use of social media as a communications tool with its consumers, even more vital!
What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Kerbside Gourmet’s Social Media?
Our primary research methods include a social media performance comparison, competitive content audit of Kerbside Gourmet and its competitors, and an interview with Luan. From these findings, we realized that Kerby has a strong humanized brand image and tone of voice, as well as an established presence of personalized hashtags (e.g. #Kerbalicious). Check out some of its posts below:
(Hop on to its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kerbsidegourmet/ to read about how its tire got punctured, and how it united the strong men of the world to pull itself out of a grass patch. Interesting! )
However, we also realized that there is a lack of user-generated content and low engagement levels (one way communication) on Kerby’s social media pages. Thus, Kerby can improve on these weaknesses through the strengthening of its customer relationships.
What are our objectives for Kerbside Gourmet’s social media plan?
- To establish Kerbside Gourmet as the top-of-mind brand for novel dining experiences
- To solidify Kerbside Gourmet’s image as “fun”
- To increase engagement rates on Kerbside Gourmet’s social media
Who are we targeting and what are their preferences/behaviours?
We chose to target the love-to-hate selfie loving generation – the Millennials (aged 18 to 35)! These millennials prefer to dine out, demand healthier and more sustainable dining options, crave less conventional dining options, want to co-create with brands, are highly dependent on the online world and are susceptible to word of mouth. Sounds familiar?
What is our message strategy?
Well, to put it simply, we want to communicate Kerby’s fun image and the tastiness of its honest-to-goodness food, to its target audience!
So how are we going to make Kerby a force to be reckoned with?
Recommendation 1 – #FindingKerby
#FindingKerby is a challenge – one that allows Kerbside Gourmet’s customers to have fun while locating the truck, and gives them a chance to beat out their peers for attractive rewards. This challenge is broken down into 3 phases, described below.
Phase 1: Kerbside Gourmet writes a post on its Facebook page, warning its fans of its appearance in a few days. However, the truck’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
Phase 2: Kerbside Gourmet posts a picture of the location it will be at (the day before the event) on its Instagram page, without explicitly stating its exact location. Fans are encouraged to comment on the post and tag a friend(s) that they will be visiting the truck with. This post is also shared on the Kerbside Gourmet’s Facebook page, and five lucky winners stand a chance to win a free meal at the truck.
Phase 3: The first 5 customers who visit the truck will not only get a treat from the chef, but will also be featured on Kerbside Gourmet’s Instagram and Facebook pages as the winners of the #FindingKerby challenge.
A pinned interactive map will also be on Kerby’s Facebook page permanently. It will showcase the locations that Kerby has visited and will be updated on each event day showing Kerby’s precise location for easy access.
Recommendation 2 – The Kerbside Showdown!
The Kerbside Showdown is a recipe crowdsourcing contest. Fans get a chance to submit their finest gourmet creations from a selected main ingredient for voting by the crowd. Winning recipes will stand a chance to win prizes and debut as a new food offering of Kerbside Gourmet’s menu.
Phase 1: Fans are encouraged to come up with recipes from a selected main ingredient.
Phase 2: Participants upload a photo of their creation along with a short description on the Kerbside Showdown Facebook landing page.
Phase 3: Kerby selects top 5 submissions and allows audience to vote for their favourite (Polling)
Phase 4: Winner gets to work with chefs and the dish will debut at Kerby’s next appearance. Winner will also get royalties for his/her creation while other top 4 participants gets attractive prizes.
The Kerbside Showdown will be promoted on Kerbside Gourmet’s social media platforms and native advertising. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), who are both popular and interested in food recipes, will also be engaged.
These KOLs must not only have a huge following on their social media platforms, but also have to be food lovers and curators.
Recommendation 3 – @KerbsideGourmet on YouTube
Kerbside Gourmet will utilise a new platform, YouTube. Its YouTube channel will feature three main series for people to follow, and will showcase a different aspect of Kerbside Gourmet – one that will resonate with a wider audience. (Disclaimer: Lots of puns involved!)
Playlist #1: The Kerb Life: The first series is primarily a “video blog” style playlist that is called “The Kerb Life”. This playlist will showcase highlights and behind-the-scenes footage of the crew, providing a sneak peek into Kerbside Gourmet’s fun company culture. The subject of the videos will range from menu creation, food preparation and external event highlights (e.g. Team bonding activities to Universal Studios Singapore), all in the name of ‘fun’.
Playlist #2: Kerb The Hunger Pangs: “Kerb The Hunger Pangs” will showcase how the chefs at Kerbside Gourmet make “honest-to-goodness” food. It will also feature simpler recipes that viewers can try at home. To avoid being a run-of-the-mill YouTube channel, Kerbside will feature recipes that incorporate a local twist.
Playlist #3: Kerbside Adventures: Since brand activation is a large part of how Kerbside Gourmet runs its business, the final series, “Kerbside Adventures”, will document its brand events. This playlist is created for those who are interested in knowing what goes on behind-the-scenes for its brand activation campaigns, and also for interested parties who may consider using Kerbside Gourmet as a marketing avenue for their company.
Through our recommendations, we hope to make Kerbside Gourmet a top-of-mind brand for novel dining experiences, help it to communicate the message of “fun”, and achieve high engagement rates across its social media pages. We believe that the utilization of this social media strategy will enable Kerby to establish strong customer relationships with both its existing and prospective customers.
Can’t wait to find out more about Kerbside Gourmet?
Follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kerbsidegourmet/) and Instagram (@kerbsidegourmet) now!
From your fellow Kerby fans,