Whether your planning a corporate gathering, a community festival or a fund raising event, food trucks can be a great way to feed the masses. If you’re thinking about inviting trucks, there are two ways to do it.
First question to ask:
Is this catering (you are paying for the food) or is this a buy-your-own event (attendees will pay for their own food). If you opt for catering, CLICK HERE.
So it’s a big event and they’re buying. Here are a few guideline to make your event a hit.
- Size DOES matter, so plan appropriately.
Think about how long your event is and how many people are expected to attend. Be realistic. For a non-food truck only event, like a festival that has trucks, not a food truck festival, a good balance is one savory truck (burgers, tacos, etc) for every 500-800 expected. And don’t forget there are also sweet trucks — just keep it to one, two max (if you have a HUGE event!)The goal is for them to be profitable so they want to come back next year. And remember, just because you expect that number of folks doesn’t mean every one of them will eat.
- Variety is the spice of life, or in this case, your event.
If you’re going to have more than one truck, make sure you aren’t doubling up on the type of food. Both your guests and the trucks will appreciate if you mix it up a bit.
- Where are you going to put everyone?
Organizing the trucks is key. First, you want to put them where there’s traffic, not around the corner where no one will see them. If you have a large number of trucks, make sure you don’t put like types of food next to each other — spread them out a bit! And if there’s room, tables in the area are also nice and keep people hanging around … perhaps for dessert?
- Think out of the box, but not TOO far out.
Consider your audience when picking out your trucks. Are they adventurous or conservative? Kids, adults or both? Do you need handheld food or are you going to have tables for spreading out? Assuring the type of food matches the type of guests will make sure everyone is satisfied.
- If you want trucks to sell, ditch the free samples.
If you want the trucks to be successful, PLEASE don’t hand out lots of free food. Or at least put it far away from the trucks and other general eating areas. Free food discourages people from purchasing meals and nothing is worse to a truck owner than someone walking up, taking one look at the menu, and saying “Really?!?! I have to pay for this?!?!” This is especially true if you’re working on a percentage system — because the more successful they are, the more successful you are!
- Three words: Communication, communication, communication.
When working with a truck, be very detailed and stand by your word. Let them know what time they are expected load in, how long they are to serve, if they will be able to leave before the event is over and any VIP or early admission requirements. Many events hold “best of show” contests. Even though you may think they’ll love the bragging rights, overall it usually just means extra work on an already busy day. Clear expectations from the start will make a happier experience for everyone!
- Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Food trucks are rockin’ my event!
Getting the word out is key. From personal experience, we believe that having an event with trucks can be a HUGE asset if it’s advertised properly. There are a ton of people who are food truck followers and might attend events they wouldn’t typically know about, simply because the trucks are there. Make sure you advertise your event in the neighborhood and in the truck-loving community — Twitter and Facebook along with posters in the windows of local business, handing out flyers, talking about it non-stop. Every little bit helps.
- Paying up
The benefits of having a truck at your event could be payment enough, but sometimes venues do charge a fee. The fee structure we endorse is the percentage method. Charging the trucks a small percentage of their total sales for the day assures two things. 1) If they have a killer day, you make more money and 2) If you do a good job of promoting the event, they make a good profit and want to come back next year, and you’ll make more money. Everyone is a winner.Note: Many trucks require a minimum. This is just good business. It costs the owner a certain amount to have the food ready, keep it hot, and fill the gas tank. Typically the minimum would provide them the security that these base expenses would be covered. But if you run a kickin’ event, they will be making MUCH more than that, so you have nothing to worry about!
How to get started:
If you have a specific truck in mind, contact them directly. If you’re open to suggestions, post for free on our Classifieds page. Don’t waste time – schedules fill up quickly so get your request in NOW!
The follow-up – let us help:
When you do book a truck, please let us know the details (assuming it’s open to the public) so we can put it in our events column (to the right of this article) at absolutely no charge. If you REALLY want to get the word out, advertise with us! We’re here to help. Just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Trucking, and Happy Eating!