How to Schedule a Food Truck for Your Next Event (+Cost)
February 21, 2020
Nothing ties together an event quite like the food. Depending on the occasion, food might be the main reason that some people are planning on attending. Unfortunately, not all businesses have the ability to serve food – from issues ranging from food service licenses to not having a food prep or kitchen area.
Some venues might be able to accommodate caterers, but caterers can come with their own set of problems. Coordinating the setup and setting the price per plate can be tricky. For some caterers, the cost per plate can run as high as $145 per person.
A simpler alternative for having food is to book food trucks for your event. Food trucks are used to being mobile and serving food to large crowds. As long as they have a spot to park, they’re ready to serve.
Before you can invite a food truck to your event, you need to know how to get it touch with them. It’s essential to try the truck’s food before you actually contact. Just because their slogan is “Best in the Midwest” doesn’t mean that it actually is.
Many food trucks have a route that they generally stick to. This is an excellent opportunity to track them down and do a taste test. If the food truck has a website, take a look, and see if they post their routes. If the food trucks that you’re interested in don’t have a website, do a quick Google search, and you’ll likely find plenty of sites that track food trucks for you. If you can find a reliable tracker, use it to explore food trucks near you.
If you’re still unsure where to start, restaurant review sites like Yelp can help you figure out what food trucks are around your area. A search of ‘food trucks’ might bring up a mix of results, but if you search through them, you can get a good idea of what’s out there.
The quickest and easiest way to know what food trucks are available in your area is to find another event that’s hosting food trucks. Food-truck festivals are frequent and will bring all of the food trucks to one place. Walk around the festival and take notes on your phone or notepad the different food trucks and how to contact them. Most food trucks will have their phone number on the side of their truck as well as their website if they have one.
When you’re planning your budget, the total cost can vary depending on what type of food will be served. A good rule of thumb is to budget $10 – $20 per person with a rental minimum of $1,000. Some trucks might charge a minimum. This guarantees them that the event will be worth their time.
Most food trucks will operate on a pricing schedule similar to caterers. The first step in pricing your food truck is to know your budget. Most businesses will be willing to negotiate prices, but you need to know what you can afford first. Consider how many people are attending your event and figure out your ideal price per person for your budget.
Food trucks will either do a catering style or operate as if they were doing regular business. In a catering style, the food trucks might have a limited, set menu. This can speed up operations for the event and can also help you save some money. A limited menu means that your bill won’t be quite as high as if your guests could all order the most expensive items on the list.
Depending on the event, the trucks might just operate like a regular business day. This means that attendees that order will be responsible for their own bill. Doing it this way is ideal for events that are open to the public.
Figuring out how many food trucks you should hire will depend on how many people you’re expecting to attend your event. If other activities are going on at the event that will draw people away from the food trucks, then you likely won’t need to hire as many trucks.
A standard suggestion for figuring out how many trucks you need to hire is one truck for every 200-300 attendees. If all the guests are eating at the same time, one additional truck is recommended.
If you’re hosting a smaller event, the negative side of hiring food trucks is that you won’t be able to have as many food options available for your guests. You’ll be limited to only one or two styles based on what the food trucks serve.
The type of event that you’re hosting will help dictate what kind of food you’ll serve at your event. Some food will go over better than others at certain events.
Depending on the location, you might have tables and seating available. This opens up a whole new world of food options. Some foods can be challenging to eat standing up, but having a picnic table and silverware will make it easier for guests.
The weather can play a large part in your food options as well. Not many people are looking forward to eating ice cream when the weather is too cold. A warm sandwich, mac and cheese, or even soup are good options.
Similarly, during the warmer months, you’ll likely get more interest in options that can help cool guests down.
When you’re creating your menu, you should also keep various diets in mind. More people are looking for gluten-free or vegetarian and vegan options. Making sure you’re accommodating all of the guest’s needs will help make your event memorable.
Food trucks have their pros and cons. You will have the ability to have a variety of food. With most catered events, you don’t get as much variation, but having food trucks available will give you that option.
However, you’ll need to spend a lot of time coordinating the schedules of the owners. This can be quite the task in itself. Plus, depending on the size of the event, you might not have the audience to book more than one truck. Spend the time to figure out your needs and whether or not it makes sense to book a food truck for your next event.