Do you want to grow your food truck business by catering at events? If YES, here is a complete guide on how to get event contracts for your food truck business.
Food truck owners are routinely looking for new and unique ways to maximize sales in their businesses, and one way they can do this is by getting contracts to cater events. There are various events food trucks are allowed to cater such as music festivals, weddings, birthdays, corporate events etc. These events, depending on turnout are usually profitable opportunities for food truck operators.
Not only can you make more money by doing some side gigs in the catering department, but you can also expand your audience by serving food to people who typically wouldn’t venture to your truck. This, of course, could lead to more people taking the journey to your lunch truck after they have experienced your amazing recipes at the event you catered for.
The best part of catering events is that you would usually get other event contracts from the one you just finished catering, because people always want to follow the trend in any industry. Some of these reasons are why you need to start catering events if you have not already started doing so.
If you are interested in driving your food truck into the world of event catering and reaping the benefits that it has to offer, here are time tested ways you can get event contracts for your food truck business.
Why your Food Truck Needs to Start Catering Events
When a food truck owner caters events, it opens itself to new and exciting opportunities. Other reasons why you need to start catering events include;
- You get the much needed exposure
Participating catering gigs bring excellent exposure to your food truck. At an event, your name is out there in front of loads and loads of new faces, and their social followings, family, and friends. These events give you a whole lot of exposure.
- It increases your income
Events are an additional stream of income to add to your usual stops. While it’s important to follow your routine food-truck stops as scheduled, be flexible enough to add a gig or event into the mix.
- Your turnover is faster
If you cater events, you food truck would make sales a lot faster than if you had stuck with your regular routes. If your turnover rate is grater, you indeed make more money; and not only that, you will also reduce the amount of food you waste.
How to Get Event Contracts for your Food Truck Business
You may now be ready to take your food truck to a higher level, but you may be wondering how to come about events that would allow your food truck to serve more guests. Here are a few ways you can get event contracts for your food truck business.
- Decide the kinds of events you want to serve and how many
Before you start looking out for event contracts, you have to first determine the kinds of events you want to cater and how many you can handle at a time. Write down the number of days or weekends each month you’re hoping to fill with events.
Keep in mind also that some events may be for a single evening, while others could be a three or four day affair—you’ll need to keep these factors in mind when you begin applying to events, as you shouldn’t apply to a long event if you won’t be able to really commit to the schedule. Deciding which events you would like to cater would help you to know how to channel your search.
2. Start your research
Now that you have a general idea of how many events you’re looking to serve each month, you have to take those numbers and triple or quadruple them—the figures you come up with here are the number of potential events you should try to find. You almost certainly won’t be accepted to every event you apply to, so it’s important to find as many as you can to start out with.
Here are a few tips to help you find good events:
- Search for all types of events happening in your city, including those that are obviously food truck-oriented and those that are not. Look for things like summer festivals, weddings, birthdays, city or county fairs, art shows, food festivals, concerts, parades, ethnic celebrations, and holiday events.
- Remember that many event organizers hold the same events annually or monthly—so if you’re able to find an event that took place last summer, it’s likely that it could be happening again this year even if there’s no information about it online yet.
- Take down information on the events as you find them—including the date, name of the event, website address, contact information for the organizers, registration or application deadlines, and a rating to track how interested in the event you are. This will help to speed up the process when it comes time to begin applying.
3. Update Your Website
If you haven’t noticed, websites are the models of the internet. The more compelling a website looks, the more interest it garners from web surfers. Keeping a clean and polished website is really important and should never be compromised. Your website is the mirror of your business; if it looks a mess, you can be sure that a potential client will think your food truck is the same.
Visitors might have had zero interaction with your actual business, and will be judging your capabilities based on the look of your website. Interested parties might receive recommendations, find your name in a web search, or be led to your site by a magazine article. Don’t let your site scare off customers. It’s worth investing in an update to attract more customers.
4. Have Eye-Catching Photos of Your Menu Online
Of course, the next best thing to actually tasting food is to have eye-catching photos one can stare at. This strategy works all the time, so you need to make sure to add mouthwatering images of your food. Get high-quality photos, and you may not need to spend much to get this.
Make a friend that is a photographer or hire a college student that’s majoring in photography. Keep an updated version of your menu online, and to boost interest in your catering abilities, suggest a menu with special dishes. To round out your site’s gallery, upload one or two photos per event category to show how versatile and accessible your menu is for different crowds.
There is one other thing to be wary of, and that is menu prices. You should ensure that you don’t attach prices to your menu. Prices distract viewers from the quality of the food and your experience. Without prices, you also have the flexibility to maneuver costs depending on the event.
5. Network/promote your business
Opening a food truck requires more than just making great food. If your customers don’t know you cater, then they won’t know to seek you out. The more people that know about your service, the more likely you are to land catering gigs. As the owner, you are responsible for spreading your truck’s name throughout the community. Get out there and meet event professionals and other business owners.
While business owners might have large companies—or can recommend you to their peers, event professionals help produce special events. Music concerts, political fundraisers, and corporate galas are just a few examples of the types of gigs an event professional would need a food truck for.
If you really want to get creative, then you can advertise your catering services on your truck. If you want to keep things a little more simple than that, and not have to pay more money on your actual truck via the added design, then you can pass out flyers and/or have a sign-up sheet for your catering events.
If you’re not sure where to start, first join your local department of commerce, then, visit the happening places in your area. Don’t be shy when introducing yourself and your food truck.
6. Make good use of your social media
In this day and age, food truck owners have to market/advertise their services if they plan on taking their businesses to the next level. Not only that, but thanks to social media, marketing your truck won’t cost a fortune. Posting to your social media networks will literally cost you zero dollars, so why not market the catering side of your business in that fashion? Yes, this option would take some of your time, but I bet you that it is time well spent.
7. Know Your Guidelines
Trust me, you do not want to be blindsided when you show up for the event you have booked for. Neither does your client. Know how many people you will serve, what the occasion is, what you need to make more of (if possible), what you all need to provide and the list goes on and on. You also need to figure out pricing with your client, because this can certainly be different than your normal pricing
Knowing the answers to the following questions will help you to make the most of every event opportunity:
- What’s the minimum order for driving your truck to a location?
- Is this event in between meals? An event between 1 PM and 4 PM could monopolize your day and make it impossible to serve lunch and dinner. If that’s the case, make sure the event’s sales would make up for missing mealtimes.
- How many other food trucks are coming? You want to know if it’s worthwhile to attend an event. The more food trucks that attend an event, the more competition you would have, and such competitions can make a good dent in your earnings.
8. Send out applications
Individual events may require different materials from potential applicants, but the majority of them will be interested in the same type of information. With that in mind, it is recommended that you go ahead and prepare as many application materials as you can ahead of time.
That way, when applications open up, you’ll already have everything you need ready to go—saving you time down the line and also enabling you to get your truck’s name in before the masses. Here are a few of the most common items event organizers will want to see:
- A copy of your menu
- Photos of your truck
- Information on your team and your service capacity
- Details on your previous experience with events
- Links to your website and social media pages
9. Prepare for it
I believe the easy part is preparing for and landing the contract. The event part is the toughest part and you have to do some serious prep work on your own before you’ll be truly ready to take on the demands of serving a big crowd at a major event. Serving people at festivals and events is an entirely different game than what you’ll encounter during even the busiest lunch hour rush, so it’s important to really take the time in advance to plan, practice, and prepare.
You should know that the outcome of your outings at events is what would tell if you would have follow up contracts or not, so you should endeavor to make use of every opportunity you have to build a good brand image.