How to Cater a Food Truck Wedding
Food truck wedding catering is all the rage, presenting a lucrative business opportunity for caterers and catering services who know the how’s, what’s, and where’s of the biz and how to sell it. With a growing number of brides and grooms seeking fresh options on their big day that go beyond tradition and that create an unforgettable experience for their guests, food truck wedding catering has become a modern-day phenomenon with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Remain Competitive with Your Food Truck
If you have decided to branch into this line of business, you will be competing in what is now a highly sought-after food industry service. To help you stand out from the crowd and gain an edge over the competition, it will be critical to know how to showcase your wedding food truck and what it offers. This guide for foodservice professionals will do just that, providing you with key selling points to present to customers who approach you to plan and host their upcoming nuptials.
Using Food Trucks to Help Tie the Knot
There are multiple reasons why food truck wedding catering is trending strong. Some factors contributing to its popularity include the ability to be mobile, the flexible and customizable menu selection, the relatively cheap price, and the allure of a ‘gourmet meal on wheels.’ Couples wishing to express their individuality or to be creative with their wedding day menus are likewise drawn to this novel alternative to traditional catering.
Why It Pays to Hire a Food Truck to Cater a Wedding
Food trucks have taken the wedding catering business by storm. Here are some more reasons why:
- Food trucks are a memorable addition to any event
- Food trucks offer variety, creativity, and innovation
- Customers can hand-pick their menu, selecting high-end dishes for a formal affair or more casual cuisines for a more relaxed atmosphere
- Thanks to the proliferation of wedding food trucks, couples now have choices when it comes to service styles, i.e. selecting a full-service catering package that includes cocktail hour, main course, and dessert, or hiring a food truck that specializes in providing late-night snacks and treats for guests to enjoy as they mingle and tear up the dance floor
- With wedding menus that are made-to-order, many food trucks caterers now offer selections to accommodate special diets, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
- Food trucks can reach venues that standard kitchens cannot, including outdoor parks and gardens and indoor locations such as private residences and trending art galleries and museums
- Estimated cost per head at weddings catered by a food truck range from $10-$30 (depending on factors such as the number of guests, the amount of food ordered, the range of cuisine types, and the number of extras, i.e. wines or fancy tableware); Estimated cost per head at traditionally catered weddings = $70
- For the same price as a single choice of a plated meal, food trucks offer a wide variety of food selections, a great selling point for newlyweds on a limited budget
- Clean-up (and cleaning costs) couldn’t be easier than with food truck catering, as disposable utensils are used and most services provide waste receptacles for guests to toss their garbage
How to Advertise Your Food Truck Catering Service
When it comes to spreading the word about your business, satisfied customers are a caterer’s best friend! If you provide topnotch service, go the extra mile for your guests, add a large helping of industry expertise, and mix in some great people skills – you have a winning recipe for success. Word of mouth is the best way to advertise your business so be sure to invest in your food and in your customers and let your good reputation do the talking.
Marketing Your Food Truck
Of course, there are many other tried-and-tested ways to showcase your catering service and you should take advantage of all feasible options. Here is some basic info on a few more effective marketing methods:
- Instagram and Pinterest: Head-turning, out-of-the-box menu items that are Instagram- and Pinterest-worthy are worth their weight in marketing gold! Let your staff don their chef’s cap and come up with exciting and novel ways to present the foods you offer. Today’s consumers love to post their favorite photos online and a single ‘standout’ image can create an Internet buzz that goes viral in a matter of minutes, hours, or days – with a positive effect that can last a lifetime.
- Social Media: In this age of Internet domination, social media is a platform accessed by millions of people on a daily basis. Take the time to set up and regularly update your social media profile (on Facebook, Twitter, and more) and use the exposure to grow your relationship with existing customers and attract and establish a connection with newcomers.
- Wedding days are premium for advertising your catering service and promoting your brand! Use the golden opportunity to hand out business cards, pass around informational brochures, display your logo, or even book some new gigs. And for a forward-thinking, savvy business move, be sure to park your food truck in a spot where guests can easily gather around it and pose for photographs. Who knows? A picture of your food truck may soon make an appearance on the World Wide Web…
How to Upgrade Your Food Truck Catering Service
To stay on top of your game and a step ahead of your rivals, here are some expert ways to upgrade and enhance your food truck catering service.
First, decide if you will be specializing in a specific type of cuisine or offering a more broad, full-meal selection. What you decide will also determine your service style, i.e. whether you provide arranged seating with formal place settings and plated meals, self-service via a traditional buffet, invite guests to line up at your food truck, or set up interactive food stations.
More and more food truck caterers are opting to be distinct by creating a niche where they can be uber-creative and offer something sensational that customers won’t easily find elsewhere. Some of the many types of specialty food trucks currently operating in the industry include: ice cream trucks, popsicle carts, slushy and frozen yogurt stands, donut and cupcake trucks, hot chocolate stands, gourmet coffee trucks, falafel food stations; taco food trucks, mobile dim sum stands, Chinese food trucks, Mexican food stations, hot dog, soft pretzel and pizza trucks, waffle and pancake stands, cookie bars, stir fry and fresh seafood trucks; empanadas stands; snow cone and milkshake trucks, and more.
Offer a Free Tasting Session
Before the Big Day, offer prospective customers a free tasting of the eats and treats your food truck offers, including new recipes and dishes you may be customizing specifically for them.
Take Care of Legal and Nitty-Gritty Matters
Unburden your customers from legal matters by taking care of all required permits related to operating a food truck. This includes parking permits, business permits, insurance coverage, adherence to on-site vehicle restrictions, work contracts, and any other required paperwork. At the same time, do the math for your clients regarding how many food trucks they will need, keeping in mind that one food truck generally serves 75 guests. Finally, be sure the chosen venue is close to bathrooms and any necessary electrical outlets.
Expanding Your Food Truck Service
If there is one area where you could create a boon for your food truck business and offer something that is highly sought after yet not easily secured, it would be to offer alcoholic beverages. There is a ‘new kid on the block’ when it comes to rover catering and it comes in the form of traveling wine and beer trucks. By securing and staffing a mobile mini brewery unit, you can begin to offer wedding cocktails, crowd-pleasing bubbly (i.e. the longstanding and coveted traditional wedding champagne), cold beer, and more.
Go All Out by Offering Unique Extras
Going the extra mile for your customers is always a win-win, so keep in mind the following ideas for adding that special and unique touch that can make your food truck business stand head and shoulders above the rest: Provide music by outfitting your food truck with a great sound system, saving newlyweds the expense of hiring a band or DJ; offer special lighting effects, i.e. Japanese lanterns for outdoor venues, glitter balls, colored light bulbs, or trending neon lights for indoor events; provide holiday decorations; take charge of theme-related decorations chosen by the couple.
Don’t Let the Bad Weather Rain on Your Food Truck Parade
Savvy food truck caterers always have a backup plan in case of rain or inclement weather. This includes ensuring that the site provides ample shade or providing a tent for shade on hot summer days (you can also throw in some free ice pops or cold water to keep guests cool while they stand in line), attaching an awning or adjustable roof to your food truck for protection from wind and rain, and more.
Remember that as a food truck wedding caterer, you are providing a special service that requires expertise and industry know-how. By doing your food truck homework and continuing to update and upgrade your operation, you benefit not only your business but all of your customers. Best of all, now that you know how the wheels turn and how to cater a food truck wedding, you can enjoy the sweet ride of success!