Cater’ to Food Truck Lovers with Events

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Food trucks are again lining up in downtown streets throughout the summer and fall for weekly city events. "While that no doubt brings delight to food lovers and the business operators alike, street events only tell part of the story as an increasing number of mobile food operations see private events as a big source of income," Jennifer Karpus-​Romain writes.

Private events have become a welcome stream of income for food truck operators in the know. "These days, it's not uncommon to see food trucks catering everything from birthday parties to, yes, even weddings."

"One of the greatest benefits of private events is that operators know exactly how much food to prepare, whereas public events can be a guessing game, Juan Gonzalez, owner of Cuyahoga Falls-​based Wholly Frijoles Mexican Street Foods, said."

"Catering private events also helps keep revenue streams up in the cold, winter months when no one wants to stand in line and dine outside on their lunch hour."

The new AudienceSCAN survey revealed 8.3% of American adults eat from food trucks at least three times a week! This hardcore audience surely will consider hiring the favored truck for parties if given the opportunity.

"Many truck owners quickly moved from the street to lunch at local businesses because they saw a perk in a captured audience."

"Catering is advantageous in that this Ohio weather will not impact the event when it's private," Judy Neel said, who added Stone Pelican is booked almost every weekend in the summer.

The new AudienceSCAN study found 8.2% of Food Truck Lovers are going to book catering services in the next 12 months! Also, 11.2% will rent banquet halls/​party centers in the coming months. And, 10.8% plan to spend money on party supply rentals. Now is the time to market to these party-​planning Food Truck Lovers!

"We've learned that … just sitting on the side of the road for four, five hours, it doesn't work," Jeff Neel said.

"Most food truck owners expect the private event segment to continue to grow."

"The private catering probably didn't really didn't take off, I would say, for two to three years," said Judy Neel.

Mobile food truck owners should be just that: mobile. The new AudienceSCAN survey revealed Food Truck Lovers are 104% more likely than average consumers to respond to mobile smartphone app ads or text message ads.

"Food trucks appeal to party throwers because they are self-contained."

"Usually every weekend we have either a wedding or a graduation party or a block party," she said.

"We've done baby's first birthday party, whatever brings people together."

"Slop Truck owner Brents said that couples getting married these days are looking for something fun. "Tradition is kind of giving way to the new. … I see the food truck industry growing for catering," she said.

Banner ads on wedding sites and ads on social networks can let Food Truck Lovers know that their favorite trucks are offering catering and can be booked easily online. The new AudienceSCAN study reports 54% of Food Truck Lovers took action after seeing ads on social media, and 52% reacted to internet banner ads.

"It's high-​quality cuisine now, and I think that's why you're seeing more weddings and higher-​end functions using food trucks because … what food truck did you used to be able to get lobster out of?" Larry Suter asked.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.