In this exercise, participants try to run a successful food truck business. The players play the role of an entrepreneur and try to maximize their revenue over five simulated weeks by selling ice cream, frozen yogurt, or smoothies at various locations in the city of Boomtown. They are fighting to win the “Food Truck Challenge”. Working individually or in teams, participants review basic market data, and then are faced with a choice: They can conduct additional market research, open a food truck immediately, or open a small pushcart. During each simulated week, participants can modify their choice. Instructors choose from three scenarios available in the underlying model, each with different optimal outcomes — so participants can play a second time after a debriefing session, and apply what they’ve learned, without knowing the solution as they attempt the exercise a second time.
In each round, participants make decisions about where to park and what menu item to offer in hopes of finding the best menu-location combination and yielding the highest sales. In the class debrief, participants discuss the trade-offs between analysis, experimentation, and scale. This simulation focuses on understanding the value of learning by doing, prototyping, and willingness to fail. It is ideal for discussions of innovation, product development, design thinking, lean start-up, entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, and organizational learning. It requires no pre-work and can be played on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone.
Length: 30 minutes