Your Step-by-Step Guide on How to Book a Food Truck for an Event
There are a lot of moving parts involved in planning an event—and one of the most important, make-or-break elements of any gathering is the food. As stressful as some aspects of event planning can be, when you book a food truck, feeding your guests doesn’t have to be one of them.
Our goal is to take some of the weight of planning an event off of your shoulders, so we’ve created this handy guide that will walk you through every step of booking a food truck. By following the steps below, you can rest assured that no one will leave your event hungry (and that you can leave the event feeling at ease).
1. Determine Your Budget
As nice as it would be to be able to spend as much as you’d like on feeding your guests, the reality is most events don’t come with an unlimited budget. Having a realistic idea of the costs involved in booking a food truck will make the entire process more seamless.
When you’re in the beginning stages of booking a food truck for an event, there are several factors to keep in mind that will determine how much you can expect to spend. Take a look:
- Number of Guests: This is by far the most important factor when it comes to determining costs. If you have a large crowd to feed, you need to be prepared to spend more.
- Time of Year: Booking a food truck during peak party seasons (such as the holidays or in the summer) is going to be more expensive than doing so during less busy times of year.
- Event Length: The longer your event lasts, the more food you’ll need to provide—and the more money you’ll need to spend.
- Cuisine: Some types of food are more expensive than others, so if you’re looking to save, consider opting for cuisines that don’t rely on expensive ingredients like seasonal produce.
- Location: On the one hand, hosting an event in a major city means everything is going to be more expensive (including the food). On the other, if you’re hosting an event that requires extensive travel for a food truck to get there, you can expect to pay more for that, too. No matter where you’re hosting your event, the location will impact the price.
Once you’ve considered your own budget, you need to consider the pricing structure of individual food trucks. Though every business is different, most determine costs using the following metrics:
- Event Minimums
- Parking and Permitting Fees
Having a clear and realistic view of your budget will save you time and energy as you go through the process of booking a food truck. You don’t want to get your heart set on something you can’t afford, and you also don’t want to deny your guests the best experience possible by not making the most of your budget.
2. Do Your Research
There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to planning an event. This means that doing your research and thinking about every detail are keys to selecting an LA food truck that’s perfect for your event. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up a few questions you should ask before you book a truck.
- How formal is the event?
- What kind of dietary restrictions need to be accommodated?
- Does your event require light snacks or a full meal?
- Will guests eat throughout the event or at a set time?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to move on to the fun part—researching the incredible food truck options LA has to offer. Thankfully, you don’t have to go at this part alone, since FTALA is always here to help. While researching online or asking around can be helpful, it’s always a good idea to ensure you’re working with trusted vendors. When you choose one of our partners, you can rest assured you’ll be working with a team of professionals with a proven track record of success.
3. Lock Down Your Menu
With so many delicious food truck options out there, choosing what you’re going to serve at your event can be a (fun) challenge! The good news is, food truck operators are experts at feeding a crowd. They’re also pros at finding ways to streamline menus and serve up creative fare in an easy-to-eat, portable manner.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, we recommend narrowing your options down to one particular type of cuisine. For example, if you decide to go with tacos, it’s a lot easier to choose between taco trucks than it is to choose between every food truck in LA. Similarly, if you decide you only need a truck that serves dessert at your event, you’ll be able to eliminate a significant number of choices right off the bat.
4. Consider the Logistics
At this point, you should be well on your way to booking a food truck for your event. However, before you get everything finalized, there are a few important logistics you need to consider to ensure everything runs smoothly. The last thing you want is to be scrambling to sort out issues during the big day, so be sure to figure out the details below in advance:
- Weather: You never know what Mother Nature has in store. If your event is outdoors, it’s extremely important to have a back-up plan in place in case of inclement weather. Before you book a food truck, you should discuss with the vendor what kind of weather conditions they can operate in, and if they can move indoors if necessary.
- Accessibility: Thinking about how your guests are going to make their way to the food truck is important if you want to avoid chaos. Having the truck park somewhere that’s easy for guests to see, access, and navigate around is crucial.
- Dining Areas: Deciding whether you want your guests to stand up and eat, or if you want to have dedicated tables and chairs is a major detail to consider. The type of food you plan to serve should play a role in your decision, since some dishes are better suited for eating on-the-go than others.
- Trash Disposal: Strategically placing trash cans and recycling bins around your event space will not only keep everything looking clean and presentable, but it will save you from having to stay late to tidy up.
5. Get Booking!
Booking a food truck is one of the easiest, most efficient, and most delicious ways to cater any event. Not only will doing so make your life easier, but it’s a surefire way to impress your guests. The best part is, there are so many incredible food truck options out there that you can find one that’s perfect for any party. By following the steps above— and working with a trusted FTALA vendor—the food at your event is guaranteed to be a hit!