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Everything You Need to Know About Food Truck Wedding Catering

Wondering how food truck wedding catering works? Learn about what you can expect as a business owner and how to overcome the challenges of food truck catering today!

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DISCLAIMER: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. You should contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.

The wedding industry is ever-growing. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing delays and restrictions, people are still getting married, and finding socially distant ways to celebrate with friends and family. According to Market Research, the wedding industry had a revenue of 72 billion dollars in 2016. And that only decreased to 55.1 billion dollars in 2020, according to Ibis World.

Food truck catering allows brides and grooms to give guests a unique food experience, beyond the typical wedding catering spread. It also provides an opportunity for food trucks to find steady work and build more of a following. Tom Wagner, co-owner of Well-Crafted Pizza notes: “In an industry that is both variable and unpredictable, catering weddings offers us a level of operational and financial predictability.” Even if you already have a steady revenue flow as a food truck owner, adding wedding catering to your repertoire can be a great way to diversify your business model. 

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Why Customers Love Food Truck Wedding Catering 

It’s Cost Effective 

Traditional wedding catering often includes fancy linens and tableware, and upgraded food options that can quickly amount to a steep price tag. Enter the food truck. Not only is it unique and fun, it can also mean a cheaper option for feeding guests. 

A food truck is equipped with everything needed for mobile food prep, and less formality means less things to pay for. Eliminating high-end table service and settings can help cut costs, while still providing for a unique experience. 

The Food Is Fresh and Delicious

With traditional wedding catering, food is prepared ahead of time, and guests either choose from a few set options or serve themselves buffet-style. A food truck has a mobile kitchen and prepares food on the spot. With smaller weddings, this means they may even be able to cook food to order for each guest. 

Food Trucks Can Add to the Party 

Formal weddings can feel stuffy and awkward. A food truck helps create a fun and relaxed environment, to put guests more at ease. 

“Catering weddings allows us to have the opportunity to create a unique and exciting culinary experience for the couple in almost any location they choose - whether it be on a farm, in the city, at their home, or at a venue,” says Wagner of a food truck catering experience. Many guests will also enjoy the photo op of a trendy food truck to document the big day. 

The Onsite Cleanup Is Easier 

While fancy plates and real silver can make for a pretty picture, cleanup for these amenities can take a lot of time and cost a great deal. A food truck usually dispenses disposable plates and utensils, meaning cleanup consists of little more than a trash bag. The happy couple also won’t have to worry about setting up an elaborate table setting. 

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Why Food Truck Owners Love Catering

How does catering work in your favor as a food truck owner? There are many reasons why this business model makes sense.

Planned Business 

With the typical food truck business model, you plan, you research, and you hope for the best. You park in high-traffic areas and market yourself to your target customer, but business is never guaranteed. You can have good days, followed by many days of no business. Food truck wedding catering means you can have guaranteed business, locked in with a contract. 

In addition to providing supplemental income, weddings are easy to plan in advance. You’ll know exactly how much supplies and staff you need, based on headcount.

You Can Offer Various Packages

Weddings come in all different shapes, sizes, and budgets.To cater to this (pun intended), you can offer multiple packages. 

Consider the following variables when creating packages:

  • Dietary needs

  • Price range

  • Type of food

  • Size of event

  • How food is served/presentation

  • Amount of time you’ll be at the event

For example, Bubbly and Stout, a mobile bar service, offers packages starting at a specific rate, that vary by hours spent at the event and the number of people being served. For each package you offer, make sure your costs are covered and that you make a profit.

Instant Marketing

Every event is potential marketing for your next event. When guests see your food truck in action and taste your finger-lickin’, lip-smackin’ offerings, they may just remember you when they’re in search of catering. 

Shares on social media can also bring in more business. Consider your aesthetic and setup as you prepare for events. Do you want to create customizable signs for the menu that guests can take a picture of? Should you add your social media handles on your food truck? Can you jazz up the look of your rig when you set up at each event (i.e. string lights, fresh greenery or flowers, other decorations that are on brand)?

Creating a memorable experience for guests can lead to more shares and your next booking. 

3 Food Truck Wedding Catering Challenges and How to Avoid Them

Long wait times for food

Prepping food to order for each guest may lead to long waits. Take the size of the wedding into account, and focus on how you can manage wait times for large crowds. 

Consider the following, to avoid hangry mobs of wedding guests:

  • Have snacks available for attendees to munch on while they wait.

  • Make sure you have enough staff to handle the crowd.

  • Prepare as much as you can ahead.

  • Don’t offer a full menu. Instead, focus on a few great options to keep prep simple. 

  • Coordinate with the couple, so that only small groups of guests order at one time.

Bad weather

Whether the event is happening at an outdoor or indoor venue, guests will still need to venture outside to pick up their meal from a food truck. That’s why you need to make a plan in case of poor weather, to keep guests happy and service running smoothly. 

Should you have a canopy over the food line in case it starts raining? Would a few heat lamps be a good option, in case outside temps turn chilly? 

You don’t want to let inclement weather ruin an event, so plan for all possible outcomes. 

Coordinating details with the couple

According to Wagner, “One of the biggest challenges with wedding catering is coordinating all of the details for the couple's special day - it takes a lot of work!” It can be a lot of pressure to try and manage all the details. You don’t want to feel like you disappointed the happy couple on this important day. 

Meeting with the couple (multiple times if necessary) and communicating clearly can help avoid any unforeseen circumstances. You can also make the terms and conditions of your service clear with a detailed contract. Ensure the couple has read and agreed to all of your terms before agreeing to cater their event. 

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