There’s fast food and then there’s food that can literally go “fast”; as in food that travels quickly from one place to another and is so yummy your guests will want to try it all. The food industry has taken to the road, literally, with food trucks. Food truck selections are as diverse as the truck’s paint jobs; they serve everything from donuts to pizza, to creative items that include waffles, sushi and schnitzel.
Recently, I planned an event for TEDxGatewayArch with a St. Louis City focus. We offered a variety of food trucks serving Bayou BBQ, Pizza, and Tacos. Then offered yummy desserts from Strange Donuts and I Scream. It was very well received!
Before you and your taste buds start the fun process of finding a mouthwatering mix of yummy treats for your next event, you’re going to have to do a bit of homework first!
1) Check with your venue to make sure there is space for the trucks to park. There have been events that allowed the trucks to move into a ballroom area – no kidding! But more than likely, the trucks will need to be parked in a lot or along a street. This may require special permits from those who own the lot or the city and the process of obtaining the permits may need to start at least 2 months ahead of time.
2) Talk to truck owners about how much space they need and from which side of the truck they will need to serve from. Some “trucks” may actually be cars that serve small items from the trunk, while other trucks are large and have serving windows on either one or both sides of the truck.
3) Make sure you have a good mix of savory and sweet. The variety should be big enough to keep it interesting, but not so big that people feel overwhelmed with choices.
4) Portion control. You may give each person a meal ticket to turn into one food truck for a meal and a drink, then provide an additional ticket for a snack or dessert.
5) Know thy audience. Are you serving people who crave adventurous food? Or should you play it safe with more common fare? Or perhaps a bit of both?
6) Talk with the food truck owners ahead of time to find out how many folks they can accommodate and what their minimal requirements may be.
7) Clear communication is key. The trucks need to know what time to be there and what time they will be able to leave. They also need to know if you are paying them for the food or if they are collecting the money from the attendees directly. If tickets are involved, they need to know what they will collect from whom and when.
8) Ask for clear communication from the truck owners as well. Food trucks are a relatively young business and many of them have already seen a number of regulation changes. Ask them to share with you whatever it is you may need to know, BEFORE your event. Also, ask them to contact you in the case that any new regulations made before your event in turn creates changes for you.
Just like everything in trendy event planning choices, be ready for surprises! But at the same time, be ready for your attendees to be pleasantly surprised by the chance to try out amazing cuisine from a unique venue – a truck!