Tips for Booking Food Trucks
Booking food trucks for the first time can be intimidating! Here are some helpful tips to know prior to reaching out to a food truck!
Most trucks are booked months to a year ahead of time, especially weekends and holidays!
Check Venue Requirements
Be sure to reach out to the venue prior to booking a truck to ensure they allow food trucks.
When contacting a food truck to book their services, provide ALL known event details in your booking request. Important details would be date and time of event, location, type of event, number of people expected, who is paying (individuals or host), how many main entree and dessert trucks you plan to have.
Food Truck Minimums
Be aware that due to food costs, gas prices, employee wages, insurance, license and permit fees and other unexpected expenses many food vendors require a sales minimum to protect the business and ensure it does more than just break even.
While texting or social media messaging may be easiest for you, many food vendors prefer to communicate bookings through email. Phone calls are great to discuss certain questions, but it's often easier for a business to have all the info in an email to refer back to. Sometimes social media messages get lost or businesses don't always get notified of comments and messages. Emails also leave a helpful trail for referencing back to later.
Do Your Part to Promote
For public events, share on all socials and groups to get as much exposure and business for the food vendors. Pro-tips for neighborhood events: hand out flyers, make a public Facebook event, post in all relevant Facebook groups. If a food vendor doesn't do well, they won't come back.
As a general rule of thumb is to have 1 truck for every 150 people you're expecting. This ensures that each food vendor makes enough sales to make it worth their time and do better than just breaking even. Ratio differs based on event length, type, public vs private event, and effective promotion. Keep in mind all vendors have a capacity of the number of items they can serve per hour based on their menu options and staffing.
Don't Overlap Vendor Menus
Unless the event is guaranteed to have multiple hundreds of attendees, make sure that there is no overlap in menu offerings.
Reserve Space for Parking and Serving Lines
Keep in mind parking needs - some trucks are much longer than others! Reserve parking area for trucks prior to arrival. Avoid making a food vendor parallel park. Also, keep in mind having enough room for people to form a line and wait for food - especially if there are multiple food vendors. Make sure serving lines won't intersect.
Ensure Proper Lighting
In the fall and winter, it is especially important to make sure customers will have adequate outdoor lighting by either ensuring food vendors have their own lighting so their menu can be seen or by the host parking them near a light source depending on the venue.
Check-in Confirm Booking Details
Sometimes food vendors are booked months in advance, so it's a best practice to connect with them at least a week prior so you can confirm the date, time, menu, changes, and parking details.
Many food trucks do not provide customer trash cans. Make sure you/ your venue provides trash cans spaced out based on event and venue size.
Consider Generator Volume
Consider generator decibel levels. Communicate to food trucks if generator noise is an issue. Some venues have availability for food trucks to plug in eliminating the use for a generator. If you prefer this option, be sure to check with the truck to find out their power requirements.
Life happens, be kind.
Understand that if your food vendor cannot make it last minute, it's probably harder on them than it is on you. Your dinner plans may have to change, but it's their livelihood that takes the hit.