5 Tips For Booking a Food Truck – Food trucks have become increasingly popular additions to staff appreciation days, company lunches & events or personal gatherings. I mean, who doesn’t love a fresh new meal that they don’t have to cook for themselves? But, before booking a truck for your next event, there are a few things you should consider.
So, here is a list of the top 5 things to know when booking a food truck to help you out.
1) Book in Advance
In the food truck world, major festival and event applications usually come out in the late winter & early spring. Therefore, trucks are generally booked up for the season quite early in the year. Getting in early will allow you to pick the best trucks for your events or at least allow you to get your offers in.
The high season for bookings runs from May until September, particularly on weekends. Not to say it’s impossible to find a truck in a rush; however, your odds of success are much better in the low season. Also, keep in mind that if the food truck requires approval from their local health authority to operate, they will need a minimum of 14 days to notify the health representative.
2) Know Your Budget
Understanding your budget is important; it will save time and headaches during the booking process. Of course, if your budget is limitless, this doesn’t apply, but unlimited budgets are certainly not the norm. Even if you have tons of dough to spend, most people look for value in their purchases.
When creating your budget, it’s essential to understand the following:
- How many people do you want to feed?
- How many items should each person receive?
- Do you expect individuals to pay for their meals?
- How many hours do you need service?
- How many trucks do you wish to have on-site?
These are all considerations that will impact the price you will pay. However, a general rule of thumb is to expect to pay around $20 per person.
Another consideration is that food truck operators often ask for a minimum guarantee. So what is a “guarantee”? It’s an agreement that states the food truck will receive a minimum compensation to secure the booking. Getting ready for a catering event requires a significant amount of behind-the-scenes work, including scheduling staff, ordering and preparing food and getting permits and paperwork in order. Also, when trucks agree to take on catering or events, they can no longer accept other opportunities that may arise. Therefore, guarantees are a win-win. They incentivized the food trucks to show up prepared without worrying they would lose money, and the event organizer can relax knowing they’ve secured some fantastic food for their guests!
3) Specify Your Needs
Do you need the truck to offer a vegetarian item, or maybe you have some gluten-free guests? Make that known. Often truck operators will adjust or specialize a menu for your event if you ask them. Bonus, when you’re upfront about your needs, operators can quote on their services accurately and prepare ahead of time – nobody likes last-minute surprises or changes to service terms.
You should include the following information during your initial outreach to avoid any confusion or surprises:
- How long do you require the service to be
- How many people you’re expecting
- What the location that they will park at looks like
- What type of cuisine you’re looking for
- Can you offer services such as water and power
4) Validate Permits & Licenses
Beyond setting your budget and communicating your needs, there are a few things you should consider asking the truck operator about before formally booking. First, trucks must possess specific licenses and permits to operate in certain cities or municipalities.
Arguably, the most critical document for a truck to possess is an operation approval permit from the local health department. Depending on your event or service area, trucks require the local health authority to approve their operations. Overall, in British Columbia, there are five regional health authorities. Some trucks will apply for an annual permit that gives them the approval to operate within their jurisdiction. However, these do expire, so it’s good to ensure they are valid.
In summary, check-in with the trucks to ensure they have the following documents and permits in order:
- Valid health permit to operate in your jurisdiction
- Current Commercial Liability Insurance coverage
- Business license for the service area city
- Up to date fire inspection from the local fire department
5) Use a Trusted Food Truck Booking Service
If you just read through all the above tips and feel overwhelmed, don’t worry; we can help! Our team has over 30 years of combined experience working with food trucks across Canada. Together we can assess your needs to determine the right truck for your function and budget.
To get in touch with us, jump on over to our booking request form, drop your event details, and a member of our team will connect with solutions.