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How To Book A Food Truck For An Event: Made Easy

How to book a food truck for an event.

The food truck industry has grown a lot in the last few years. As of 2022, the US food truck industry was worth over 2 billion. They are a favorite when going to large events. But, what about smaller events? We aren’t talking about sports or festivals. Food trucks are a great addition to weddings, business meetings, or birthday parties. Food trucks bring unique charm and diverse cuisines. But, planning an event is stressful. You want to plan the perfect event and booking the right food truck is important. So where do you begin?

Hiring the right food truck is more than picking your favorite cuisine. You have to consider availability, pricing, and location. First, the food truck has to be available on the day of the event. Second, the truck must be able to accommodate all of your guests. Third, you need to be sure you have the proper permits if required.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of booking a food truck. You will learn tips and go through the steps to ensure you choose the best truck. A food truck that will make your event memorable. You don’t need to be an experienced event planner or host a huge gathering. This article is there for anyone who needs help booking a food truck. Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Determine Your Event Needs: Cost, Location, Date

You have to narrow down your event details first. Things to consider when planning an event are budget, location, and date. These decisions can lead to stress and frustration. You might feel like planning the event is a nightmare. That’s why we recommend you take a systematic approach.

This section will guide you through determining cost, location, and date. You will receive practical advice and tips. Figuring out these event elements early can help avoid frustration later. Let’s dive into each factor, so you can book the right food truck.

Costs and Pricing Structure:

Base Fees:  Many food trucks charge a base fee to cater your event. Most of the time, the fee covers travel, setup, and food. This base fee can vary depending on the food truck’s popularity, cuisine type, and distance to your event.

Per-Person Pricing: Some food trucks charge based on the number of guests. Per-person costs can range from $10 to $40 per guest. This pricing structure is great if you know the exact number of guests attending. It ensures you will pay for only the food served.

Minimum Cost: Food trucks are businesses, and most have a minimum cost requirement. This ensures the food truck makes money during your event. The minimum cost of hiring a food truck varies. But, most of the time it’s between $800 and $1400.

Customizations: Some other factors can influence the cost of hiring a food truck. Some trucks allow you to customize the menu or add extras. Extras include dessert options, beverages, or longer hours. 

These are the main pricing structures you will see when hiring a truck. As you figure out the event details, the food truck costs will change. One of those factors is the location of your event. That is the next topic in our article.

Location:

The location of your event is important. It will determine what food trucks are available and affect the cost. For example, if your event is in the city, the food truck may cost more. Permits, insurance, and food costs are all higher in cities. If your event is in a city, event space also becomes an issue. The distance a food truck has to travel will affect cost. If you hire a food truck that has to travel a large distance, expect to pay more.

Date:

The date of your event will influence what food trucks are available. Popular food trucks might be booked months in advance. We recommend you start the booking process as early as possible. Consider any holidays or high-traffic times. This way you can get the preferred cuisine and truck on the right date.

Multiple food trucks lined up at a festival.
Multiple food trucks lined up at a festival.

Decide On A Cuisine and How Many Trucks You Need

Choosing a Cuisine:

Picking the right type of food is important to have a successful event. The cuisine can set the tone and enhance your guests’ experience. When choosing a cuisine think of these factors:

Guest preferences: You can take a poll to determine a favorite. Or, send out a mass email to ensure there’s an option for everyone. Some food trucks offer vegan, gluten-free, and other dietary options.

Event theme: Try and align the food truck with the theme of your event. For example, if you are holding a birthday party, go for a pizza truck. If it’s a business event, you can offer American comfort. Another option is burger and BBQ trucks. These are awesome choices for summer events like youth sports and block parties.

Time of Year: The time of year is a factor as well. If it’s a winter holiday event, you’ll want cuisine with heart, and warm dishes. When it’s hot in summer, a dessert food truck with cold treats is a great idea.

In the end, it will depend on what your guests want. You can book a food truck with a variety of dishes and flavors. Or, you can choose a food truck that specializes in a specific cuisine. There is another option. You could hire multiple food trucks to be sure everyone is satisfied.

Determine the Number of Food Trucks:

Ask yourself this question. Do I have more than 200 people attending my event? If you do, then you might want to consider booking more than one food truck. 

On average, a single food truck can serve between 200 – 300 people. 

Second, ask yourself how long you need the food truck. An event that lasts all day could require a second truck. 

Third, when will everyone be eating? For events like weddings, everyone will eat at the same time. This will require multiple food trucks so nobody has to wait.

One last piece of advice about booking multiple food trucks. If you want to offer more than one course, you might need two trucks. One for the meal, and another for the dessert. 

A lot of food trucks serve main courses and desserts. But, a dedicated dessert truck will have a larger menu.  

Before booking the truck, make sure you speak with the owners. The truck owners will know the number of guests they can serve per hour or event. 

This will help you when you start making your decision.

A taco food truck.
A taco food truck.

Choose The Cuisine and Food Truck Menu:

When it comes to choosing the cuisines, where do you start? If you search the web for local food trucks, you’ll find many options. Some options include hot dogs, burgers, Indian, tacos, breakfast, pizza, BBQ, Mediterranean, and fusion. (section completed)

When you’re planning an event, discuss food options with some guests.

Some guests might know what kind of cuisine they want. They might even suggest a food truck they know.

This can be a great way to narrow down the many options.

Many food trucks have a set menu, but many offer custom choices. It’s a good idea to keep the regular menu available. The truck is prepped to handle the standard menu and will increase service speed.

If you do want to customize the menu, talk to the truck owner. The food truck owner will know what they can handle.

Another thing to consider is dietary restrictions. Does your guest list have any vegetarians or vegans? Are there any diabetics coming to the event? Food truck owners are always prepared for this situation. They can help you adjust the menu so all your guests can enjoy the menu.

We want to help you make the most informed decision when booking the right food truck.

We compiled a small guide on the best food truck menu depending on the event:

Weddings: Multiple food trucks are the best choice. You can choose a truck that offers cuisine based on the season, or culture. For example, if you’re planning a Southern-style wedding. We would consider a BBQ truck with smoked meats and traditional sides. At any wedding, it’s a great idea to offer dessert. A second truck specializing in dessert is a great choice. Why? It’s going to give your guests a larger dessert menu with more choices.

Corporate Events: Corporate events come in multiple shapes and sizes. In this article, we will focus on large and small business gatherings.

Large Corporate Events: We recommend a mix of cuisines and multiple trucks. Why? Because large corporate events have large and diverse crows. With people flying in from around the country, you’re going to need multiple trucks. Plus, a diverse crowd is going to want more than one type of cuisine. Another reason is the length of time these events last. Large corporate events are all-day affairs. It’s a good idea to have a breakfast truck, lunch truck, and dessert truck for breaks. 

Small Business Events: Want to hire a food truck for your team of employees? An employee appreciation day is different from a large corporate event. The menu can match your employee’s desires. If they want Mexican, you can consider a taco truck. If they want American, looking at food trucks with burgers and fries. In this situation, we recommend only booking a single truck.

Birthday Parties: We recommend fun and casual food menus. Tacos, fries, and pizza are great ideas. Try and find a food truck with a menu kids will love. If you want to go all out then you can consider a separate dessert truck. But, since most food trucks offer desserts, we don’t recommend this.

Festivals: At a festival, you want to have street foods and many food trucks. So many people with different desires will be there. A single menu won’t satisfy them all. Consider having taco trucks, BBQ trucks, seafood, Asian fusion, and Mediterranean options. The truck menus should offer food that’s easy to eat on the go. Think finger foods. 

Family Gatherings: Menus with comfort foods are great for family reunions. BBQ (pig on a spit), roasted chicken, and wood-fired pizza are great options. These menus are great for creating a calming atmosphere. Plus, the food is great for sharing.

School Events: Child-friendly menus with burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and ice cream. American Classic food trucks are great for these events. You can even find food trucks with dedicated hot dog or burger menus. Try to book a food truck that’s affordable and appeals to kids.

Sporting Events: Food truck menus with easy-to-eat food are the best. Foods that are easy to eat on the go. Think hot dogs, tacos, pizzas, etc. Mediterranean can be a great choice because they offer bowls and other exciting options. You want to have food trucks that appeal to a large and diverse group of people.

A food truck parked near an event.
A food truck parked near an event.

Find the Best Food Truck and Book It:

It’s time to find and book the food truck for your event. It’s the moment in the article you’ve been waiting for.

At this point in the article you should have finished:

1) Determined the requirements for your event.

2) Decided on a type of cuisine and the number of trucks.

3) Narrowed down the menu.

Take your narrowed-down list of food truck menus and use the internet. 

Start using food truck databases. Some popular ones are RVA Mobile Catering, Roaming Hunger, and FoodTrucksIn. You can even take a look at Yelp

On these platforms, you can look at food trucks using city-specific searches. The platforms allow you to see menus, and read reviews.

After finding the truck you want to book, you want to look for more reviews. You can look on the food trucks’ personal website, on Yelp, or on Google.

Try and find customer reviews that talk about food quality and service speed. This ensures you hire a food truck that is professional and reliable.

It’s time to book the food truck. Yay!

The best food trucks in your city are in high demand. During peak seasons they could have 

A full schedule for months.

That’s why you should begin the booking process once you know your event date. Some food truck databases can even assist with the booking process. 

You can even call or email the food truck owner directly. We recommend doing this if you are sure you’ve found the perfect food truck. Reaching out to the owner can help you wiggle into their schedule. Especially if the date you want is already booked online.

A food truck owner cooking sandwiches.
A food truck owner cooking sandwiches.

Make Sure You Meet Food Truck Regulations:

Localities have different rules and regulations for booking food trucks.

Some examples include:

  • Food trucks are not allowed to operate near brick-and-mortar restaurants.
  • Noise restrictions in regard to the food trucks generator or music.
  • Operating a food truck in a non-commercial or commercial zone.
  • Special permits to have a food truck on a street or park.
 

There are more restrictions, but it depends on your county, city, or neighborhood. We recommend you call the local government office and ask questions. A representative will advise you on the local laws regarding food trucks.

There may be other requirements depending on your event. Yet, they are outside the scope of this article.

In the end, you don’t want to face issues after you have booked a food truck. So make sure to check the laws and permit requirements before booking.

Let’s talk about the final step in the process of booking a food truck.

A food truck parked near a brick and mortar restaurant.
A food truck parked near a brick and mortar restaurant. Some localities do not allow this.

Station the Food Truck in the Right Place:

At this point you’ve decided on a food truck/s to book. There’s one final thing you need to do before the event. Is there an event layout that will ensure success? Where am I going to station the food truck?

The following are some food truck placement tips:

 High-Traffic Areas: You want the food truck to go where the guests congregate. You want the guests to see where the truck/s are. This way they know where to go and find food. This is easier to do for smaller events with a single truck. If the event is large, it’s a good idea to place them near the entrance. Or, you can put the trucks near a big attraction. It’s not a good event if people need to search to find food.

Space for Lines: When the event is small with one food truck, keep it close. This way the attendees don’t have to walk far for food. They can stay close to where the event is taking place. Guests can get up, get in line, and go back to their seat. While in line, they are close by to talk and able to observe activities. Just be sure the truck isn’t in a narrow area that will make lines hard to form. 

The Right Surface: Food trucks can not operate on a hill. Be sure to visit the site. If you booked many food trucks you’re going to need a large, flat surface. This will make sure the food truck is safe and can operate. It even keeps your guests safe.

Breakout Options: Some food trucks come prepared. Some trucks have trailers, carts, or tents. This lets them operate in smaller spaces.

Distance to Restrooms and Trash: Make sure the food truck isn’t far from trash cans. You want the truck to be close to restrooms. Why? This ensures the space stays clean and guests don’t have to travel far to reach a restroom. The food truck workers will be happy as well.

Weather: Consider the weather and if guests need covering. This way you can position the food truck near shade and shelter. This will make the experience better should it be hot, rainy, or cold.

People lined up to order food from a food truck.
People lined up to order food from a food truck.

Conclusion:

Let’s conclude our article about booking the right food truck for an event.

We’ve talked a lot about hiring a food truck. Let’s summarize what we’ve discussed. 

– Determine your event needs like cost, location, and date.

– Choose a cuisine and how many food trucks you’ll need.

– Narrow down the cuisine and pick a menu.

– Determine the best truck and book it.

– Ensure you meet food truck regulations.

– Station the food truck in the right place.

Booking a food truck and planning an event can be a stressful experience. That’s why we wrote this article to assist you.

By following these steps, you’ll have the perfect how to guide on booking a food truck. Your event will be well-prepared and satisfy your guests appetites.

Food trucks are great for creating lasting memories.

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