Before You Request a Food Truck!

There are MANY variables that factor into hiring a food truck and how food trucks decide which events to serve at. Here are some basic factors to consider before requesting a food truck for your event.

  1. Guest Attendance and # of Trucks: This greatly depends on the type of event you’re hosting and the amount of people you’re anticipating. The ideal ratio of attendees per truck is between 150 and 300 if everyone is expected to eat. Over 300, the lines often get long and the customers are unhappy. If it’s not an “eating” event, meaning the food trucks are an addition to the actual event and activities going on there, that ideal attendance ratio should double to 500-750 people per truck.  Bottom line: If you want more than 1 food truck at your event, you need to have either the crowd or finances to justify it.
  2. How Much Does it Cost: Are you hosting a large scale event, open to the public with 1000+ estimated guests? Or are you hiring a food truck for a private party in your backyard?
  • By the event organizer:  You are hiring a food truck to caterer your event; you contract with the food truck to serve a particular number of people within a certain budget or by a designated menu, or a combination of both.  This is the most commonly used method for private events and special occasions.
  • By the attendees:  This is similar to street service. A truck or vendor is requested to provide service at a specific location or event, and the attendees then pay for food directly to the truck or vendor. Keep in mind that in this scenario, most food trucks will need to do 45-60 sales or more per hour. This payment method is most common for larger events or at locations where there will be significant foot traffic with many people looking for a variety of food options.  If attendance is higher than anticipated, vendors run the risk of selling out well before the end of the event. Customers will go home angry and trucks will not have capitalized on all possible sales. Conversely, if attendance is lower than anticipated, the trucks may have to throw away product.
  • By minimum guarantee of sales: This is often the best solution for smaller events or to be able to have multiple food trucks at your occasion or event. The attendees pay for the food directly but the organizer agrees to guarantee a certain amount of sales.  The organizer pays the difference between the actual sales at the event and the guaranteed amount.
  • As vendors of a larger event:  If asking a food truck or mobile food vendor to pay a fee to attend your event, keep in mind that the truck or vendor will need to earn 10 times the amount of the fee. A reasonable and often preferred fee structure is for a food truck to pay between 5-10% of their sales at the event in lieu of a flat rate.  If you are holding an event which charges an admission to the general public, and where you are expecting the food trucks to be a major attraction and help draw in crowds, there should not be a fee for the food truck to attend. Flat rates should only be considered if and when your event has established a reputation for successful/profitable vendor sales.

3. Operational Details: 

All food trucks are completely self contained; meaning they contain their own source of power and water. Some trucks may request additional power to provide the best food truck experience for you, so it doesn’t hurt to ask. Most trucks will supply their own serving items such as plates, napkins, and silverware, but it doesn’t hurt to double check with them upon booking.

Placement & Location:

  • If there’s just one truck, put it close enough to the action that attendees don’t have to abandon the fun—but don’t forget to plan space for the line.
  • Most food trucks can’t operate on an incline, so schedule a site visit to make sure the area is flat.
  • Some food trucks come with additional breakout options, such as a cart for maneuvering into smaller spaces.
  • IMPORTANT: If you have multiple food trucks, they do best when they are together. Please, do not place trucks by themselves in random spots throughout the event space. It’s always best to cluster them together so attendees can see all the options at once.