Food Truck Catering - What Trucks Consider

Updated info at bottom re: current fees

You can forget the cupcake wedding cakes, today's hot thing is to have food truck catering at your wedding.

I get contacted frequently to act as a go-between when people are inquiring about food truck catering for a wedding or charity event. I just give advice on which food trucks are out there, what they specialize in, and help with the exchange of contact information. Often times, though, I hear a bit of disappointment later when it turns out a party couldn't book a food truck.

The problem is that food trucks, like all businesses, have to think in terms of money. They have a lot to consider when planning their schedules. In terms of food truck catering for an event, here are two things they consider that you, the client, might not have.

Days Off - Hey, food trucks need days off too. Most tend to take Sundays and Mondays off. It has to be really worth their while to get them to schedule a booking on one of their days off. Currently the Sacramento trucks have single crews each. That means they are all working long hours, often 12+ hour days, and sometimes even seven days straight. Not fun. I know that Krushburger is trying to get their second truck out on the road, so they will have more flexibility in the future.

Profitability - How many guests at the wedding or charity event versus how much they would make roaming their usual spots that day. If a food truck has a spot or route that they know they are going to be able to make $1500, then they might not be interested in a 100 guest wedding where they will only be making $800.

Then there are the shared events where a food truck is competing for sales with other vendors/trucks. It's the same mentality I had when I sold Pampered Chef and someone would host a Holiday sales party with Avon, Partylite, Cookie Lee, etc all at the same party. Instead of getting 20 sales from a party I would have done solo, I would only get 5 sales because people were splitting their purchases amongst all the vendors. It wasn't worth my time and I eventually stopped doing them. 

Same goes for the food trucks. In a perfect world they want you to buy a complete meal from them, not split your money with one item from them and another from someone else. (Note that roundups are different thing altogether.) Therefore, if you plan on having a few vendors at your event, you can be sure the question posed to you will be, "How many people do you expect to attend?" The food trucks usually want about 200 people per vendor. 

This is not to say that you won't be able to get a food truck for your 50 person birthday party. It just depends on a number of factors, the above which are only a couple of them. I will say that you should not limit yourself to thinking of only the gourmet, non-taco food trucks. There are lots of quality, authentic taco trucks that should be considered for bookings as well.

You should know the following:
  • The minimum a truck will usually consider is $1000.
  • You should think of a per person cost of about $20 each.
  • That said, a 50 person party would be the $1000 minimum.

This is not a solid rule. If things are slow a truck might consider going lower.

If you need assistance with food trucks, please feel free to contact me at @sacfoodtrucks on Twitter or via email.