Guide: How to Get Food Trucks to Come to Your Event

Food trucks have become a popular and exciting addition to events, offering a hip, local, and convenient culinary experience. The food truck industry is booming and offers a more affordable catering option compared to traditional catering. To successfully book food trucks for your event, it’s important to consider key factors such as catering costs, pricing structures, and location influences.

Key Takeaways:

  • Food trucks bring a trendy and affordable catering option to your event.
  • Consider the costs, pricing structures, and location influences when booking food trucks.
  • Understanding the number of food trucks needed depends on the number of attendees and the type of event.
  • Select the right food truck cuisine that suits your guests’ preferences and dietary restrictions.
  • Find and book food trucks through online platforms and event planning software, while complying with municipal regulations.

Understanding Food Truck Catering Costs

food truck event planning

When planning a food truck event, one of the key considerations is understanding the costs associated with food truck catering. The cost can vary depending on factors such as the type of event, the chosen pricing structure, and the location. By understanding these factors, event organizers can make informed decisions and ensure a successful food truck catering experience.

There are three main pricing structures for food truck catering: catering, attendee-pay, and business guarantee. In the catering structure, the food truck acts as the caterer, providing a pre-determined menu for a set number of guests. This structure is suitable for smaller events or events where the organizer wants more control over the menu options.

For larger events, the attendee-pay structure is common. In this structure, attendees order and pay for their own meals directly from the food trucks. Food truck owners may ask for a business guarantee to ensure a minimum amount of business at attendee-pay events. This structure gives attendees more flexibility in their food choices and can be more cost-effective for the event organizer.

Location also plays a role in food truck catering costs. Busier metro areas tend to have higher costs due to increased demand and higher operating expenses. On the other hand, less populated areas may have lower costs, as food truck owners may be willing to travel longer distances for events. It’s important to take these factors into account when planning a food truck event and budgeting for catering costs.

Comparing Food Truck Catering Costs

Pricing Structure Average Cost per Guest
Catering $10 – $35
Attendee-Pay Varies based on individual orders
Business Guarantee Varies based on the minimum amount of business guaranteed
  • Food truck catering costs range from $10 to $35 per guest, depending on the chosen pricing structure and event type.
  • Catering, attendee-pay, and business guarantee are the main pricing structures for food truck catering.
  • Location influences catering costs, with busy metro areas being more expensive and less populated areas offering lower costs.

“Understanding the different pricing structures and considering location influences can help event organizers budget for food truck catering costs and make informed decisions for their events.” – Event Planning Expert

Determining the Number of Food Trucks

Attracting food trucks to your event requires careful consideration of the number of trucks needed to cater to your attendees. The ideal number of food trucks depends on various factors, including the number of attendees, the type of event, and the desired dining experience.

A reasonable starting estimate is to have one food truck per 200-300 attendees. This ensures that there will be enough options and variety for your guests without causing long wait times. However, it’s important to communicate the estimated number of attendees to the food truck owners in advance. This allows them to determine their capacity and ensure efficient service.

For events where the primary focus is on eating, such as food festivals or food truck rallies, multiple food trucks may be required to meet the demand. On the other hand, events with various attractions and no set mealtime can have fewer food trucks. It’s crucial to find the right balance that caters to the needs of your attendees and creates a pleasant dining experience.

Number of Attendees Recommended Number of Food Trucks
Up to 200 1-2 food trucks
200-500 2-4 food trucks
500-1000 4-6 food trucks
Above 1000 6+ food trucks

By determining the appropriate number of food trucks for your event, you can ensure that your guests have a wide selection of delicious options to choose from while avoiding overcrowding or long wait times.

Selecting the Right Food Truck Cuisine

When it comes to finding and hiring food trucks for events, selecting the right cuisine is essential to ensure a memorable and satisfying dining experience for your guests. Food trucks offer a wide variety of cuisines to choose from, ranging from classic favorites like hot dogs and pizza to more exotic options like tacos and BBQ. The key is to consider the preferences of your guests, any dietary restrictions they may have, and the type of event you are organizing.

Start by discussing the options with your clients, as they may have specific preferences or themes in mind for the event. Additionally, it’s a good idea to ask food truck owners about their popular menu items and specialties. This will give you a better understanding of the unique offerings each food truck can provide.

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When selecting the right food truck cuisine, it’s important to consider the type of event you are hosting. If it is a casual gathering or a family-friendly event, options like burgers, sandwiches, or street-style tacos may be a hit. On the other hand, if you are organizing a more formal affair or targeting a specific demographic, you may want to explore gourmet options or international cuisines.

Popular Food Truck Cuisines:

  • Pizza
  • Tacos (including specialty options like Korean or fusion tacos)
  • BBQ (ribs, pulled pork, brisket)
  • Burgers and sandwiches
  • Street-style food (hot dogs, sausages, falafel)
  • International cuisines (Thai, Indian, Mexican, Italian)
  • Desserts (ice cream, cupcakes, donuts)

It’s worth mentioning that food trucks with streamlined menus can ensure faster service and shorter wait times for your guests. This is particularly important if you have a large number of attendees or limited time for the event. Additionally, it’s essential to consider any dietary restrictions your guests may have, such as vegetarian or vegan options, and discuss these requirements with the food truck owners.

Food Truck Cuisine Specialties
Pizza New York-style pizza, wood-fired oven
Tacos Authentic Mexican street-style tacos, fusion options
BBQ Slow-cooked ribs, pulled pork, smoked brisket
Burgers and Sandwiches Gourmet burgers, artisanal sandwiches
International Cuisines Thai curries, Indian biryanis, Mexican burritos
Desserts Handcrafted ice cream, gourmet cupcakes

By considering the preferences of your guests, the type of event, and exploring the various food truck cuisines available, you can select the perfect food trucks to cater to your event and ensure an enjoyable dining experience for everyone.

Finding and Booking Food Trucks

When it comes to coordinating a successful food truck event, finding and booking the right food trucks is key. Luckily, there are various resources available to help streamline the process. Online platforms such as Roaming Hunger, FoodTrucksIn, and Yelp provide comprehensive listings of food trucks in your region, making it easier to find the perfect options for your event. Additionally, many food trucks have their own websites where you can request bookings and check their availability.

To ensure efficient coordination, it’s recommended to store contact information and pricing details for popular and reliable food truck options using event planning software. This allows you to easily keep track of your preferred vendors and stay organized throughout the planning process. However, it’s important to note that municipal regulations may impose constraints on food trucks, so it’s advisable to visit the town or city manager’s office for guidance on permits and other requirements.

Booking food trucks for your event involves communication and negotiation. It’s essential to discuss specific details such as the price, timing of arrival and service, number of attendees, and responsibilities of the food truck owners. Some food truck owners may require a deposit or minimum food sales guarantee, so be sure to specify payment terms and any tracking mechanisms for food sales. By maintaining clear and open communication, you can ensure a seamless and successful food truck catering experience for your event.

Designing an Inviting Event Layout for Food Trucks

food truck event planning

When organizing a food truck event, it’s essential to create an inviting event layout that enhances the overall experience for attendees. Consider the following factors when designing the layout:

  1. Placement of Food Trucks: For events with multiple food trucks, consider stationing them around the perimeter or in a clustered area for easy access. This arrangement ensures efficient flow and minimizes congestion. If you have only one food truck, place it close to the action to attract attention.
  2. Accessibility: Ensure that the event area is flat and easily accessible for food trucks. They will require enough space to park comfortably and set up their operations. Account for any obstacles such as trees, poles, or uneven surfaces that may hinder their mobility.
  3. Seating and Amenities: Provide ample seating options for attendees, such as tables and chairs or picnic areas. This allows them to enjoy their meals comfortably. Additionally, strategically place garbage cans throughout the area to promote cleanliness, and consider setting up stations for cutlery and napkins for convenience.

By carefully considering these aspects, you can create a well-designed event layout that maximizes the convenience and enjoyment of both food truck vendors and attendees.

“The layout of your food truck event plays a crucial role in its success. By organizing the placement of food trucks, ensuring accessibility, and providing seating and amenities, you can enhance the overall experience for attendees.” – Food Truck Event Planning Expert

Remember that the layout should facilitate easy movement and create an inviting atmosphere where attendees can socialize, indulge in delicious food, and have an unforgettable time.

Table: Sample Event Layout

Area Food Trucks Seating
Main Area Food Truck A
Food Truck B
Food Truck C
Tables and Chairs
Picnic Area Food Truck D
Food Truck E
Picnic Benches
Entertainment Zone Food Truck F Stadium Seating

Table: This is a sample event layout that demonstrates the arrangement of food trucks and seating areas. You can adapt and modify it according to your specific event requirements.

Negotiating Contracts and Finalizing Details

When hiring food trucks for your event, it is crucial to negotiate contracts and finalize all the necessary details to ensure a successful catering experience. Contracts should clearly outline the terms and conditions, including the price, timing of arrival and service, responsibilities of the food truck owners, and the number of attendees. It is important to have open communication with the food truck owners to effectively coordinate the event and avoid any misunderstandings.

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During the contract negotiation process, you may need to discuss and agree upon specific details such as deposits, guarantees for minimum food sales, payment terms, and food sales tracking. Be sure to establish clear payment terms and deadlines, and consider using event planning software to track and manage these financial aspects efficiently.

As part of finalizing the details, it is recommended to confirm the availability of the food trucks and their capacity to meet the demands of your event. This will help ensure that the food truck owners can successfully cater to the expected number of attendees and provide efficient and timely service throughout the event. Regular communication leading up to the event will help foster a good working relationship and allow for any last-minute adjustments or changes.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Food Trucks vs. Traditional Catering

When planning an event, one crucial decision to make is whether to opt for food trucks or traditional catering services. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks, and it’s essential to weigh them carefully to determine the most suitable choice for your event.

Food Trucks:

Food trucks offer several benefits that make them a popular choice for event catering. Firstly, they are generally more cost-effective compared to traditional catering services, making them a budget-friendly option. Food trucks also provide flexibility in terms of location since they can be easily set up in various venues, both indoor and outdoor. This makes them ideal for events with unconventional spaces or limited access to traditional kitchen facilities.

Furthermore, food trucks offer informality and a sense of uniqueness, adding an element of excitement to any event. They often specialize in specific cuisines, allowing you to curate a menu that caters to the preferences of your guests. Food trucks are also scalable, making them suitable for events of all sizes, from small gatherings to large festivals.

However, it’s important to consider the limitations of food trucks. They typically have a more limited menu compared to traditional catering services, which may not cater to all dietary preferences or restrictions. Additionally, food trucks generally lack seating arrangements, so guests may need to eat standing or find alternative seating options. Finally, the popularity of food trucks can sometimes result in longer wait times, especially during peak hours.

Traditional Catering Services:

Traditional catering services offer a range of advantages that may be more suitable for certain events. Firstly, they provide a wider variety of menu options, accommodating a broader range of dietary preferences and restrictions. Traditional caterers also offer full-service options, providing a more formal dining experience with waitstaff, table settings, and a designated dining area.

Furthermore, traditional catering services offer predictability and reliability, ensuring that the quality of food and service meets your expectations. They are often equipped to handle larger events with ease and can manage all aspects of the dining experience, from appetizers to desserts. Traditional caterers also provide seating arrangements, allowing guests to comfortably enjoy their meals.

However, traditional catering services come with some drawbacks. They are generally more expensive compared to food trucks, which may not fit within every event’s budget. Traditional catering services often require a minimum guest count or payment, making them more suitable for larger events. Additionally, they may lack the flexibility of food trucks and are typically confined to a fixed location with specific equipment limitations.

Table: Pros and Cons of Food Trucks vs. Traditional Catering

Food Trucks Traditional Catering Services
Pros Cost-effective Wide variety of menu options
Flexibility in location Full-service options
Informality and uniqueness Predictability and reliability
Specialization in cuisine Seating provisions
Scalability for larger events Formal dining experience
Cons Limited menu options Expensive
Lack of seating arrangements Minimum guest count/payment
Longer wait times Lack of flexibility
Equipment limitations

By carefully considering the pros and cons of food trucks and traditional catering services, you can make an informed decision that aligns with the specific needs of your event. Whether you value cost-effectiveness, flexibility, informality, specialization, or variety, there is an option that will suit your event perfectly. Keep in mind the preferences and dietary restrictions of your guests, as well as the overall atmosphere and ambiance you wish to create. Ultimately, choosing the right catering option will contribute to a memorable and enjoyable experience for all attendees.

Determining Food Truck Catering Costs and Menu Options

When organizing an event that includes food truck catering, it’s important to consider the costs involved and the menu options available. The cost of food truck catering can vary depending on several factors, including the type of food being served, the number of guests, and any additional services provided. Typically, food truck catering costs range from $12 to $25 per person. However, it’s crucial to discuss these costs with food truck vendors to ensure transparency and align on the pricing structure.

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Menu options also play a significant role in the success of a food truck event. It’s essential to select menu items that are simple, affordable, and appealing to both kids and adults. Consider incorporating local favorites or offering special deals to enhance the culinary experience. Discussing menu options with food truck vendors will allow you to choose the most suitable items that align with your event’s theme and guest preferences.

“The key to a successful food truck event is finding the right balance between cost-effective catering solutions and delicious menu options that cater to the diverse tastes of your guests.”

Table: Food Truck Catering Costs

Number of Guests Cost Per Person
Less than 50 $12 – $15
50 – 100 $15 – $18
100 – 200 $18 – $22
200+ $22 – $25

Table: Food Truck Catering Costs, showcasing the cost per person based on the number of guests. These prices are approximate and may vary depending on individual vendor rates and event requirements.


Planning a successful food truck event involves careful consideration of various factors, including food truck catering costs, menu options, location influences, and event layout. By understanding the pros and cons of food trucks vs. traditional catering, and utilizing online platforms and event planning software, you can attract and book the right food trucks for your event.

Remember to negotiate contracts, finalize details, and comply with municipal regulations to ensure a seamless and unforgettable culinary experience for your guests. Whether you’re organizing a small gathering or a large-scale festival, the popularity and convenience of food trucks can elevate your event to the next level.

So, embrace the food truck trend and bring a unique and exciting dining experience to your guests. With proper planning and attention to detail, your food truck event is sure to be a hit. Start your food truck event planning journey today and hire food trucks for your next event to create lasting memories for all who attend.


How much does food truck catering cost?

Food truck catering costs can range from $10 to $35 per guest, depending on factors such as the type of event and the chosen pricing structure.

What are the pricing structures for food truck catering?

The main pricing structures for food truck catering are catering, attendee-pay, and business guarantee. Each structure has its own considerations and implications for cost.

How many food trucks do I need for my event?

The number of food trucks needed depends on factors such as the number of attendees, the type of event, and the desired dining experience. A reasonable starting estimate is one food truck per 200-300 attendees.

What cuisines do food trucks offer?

Food trucks offer a wide variety of cuisines, including hot dogs, pizza, tacos, BBQ, and more. The choice of cuisine should consider the preferences of guests, dietary restrictions, and the type of event.

How can I find and book food trucks for my event?

There are various ways to find and book food trucks, including online platforms like Roaming Hunger, FoodTrucksIn, and Yelp. Some food trucks also have their own websites where you can request bookings and check availability.

How should I design the layout of my event space for food trucks?

For events with multiple food trucks, consider stationing them around the perimeter or in a clustered area for easy access. For events with a single food truck, place it close to the action while allowing enough space for lines to form. Provide tables, seating, garbage cans, and stations for cutlery and napkins.

What should I include in the contract when booking food trucks?

Contracts should include details such as the price, timing of arrival and service, number of attendees, and responsibilities of the food truck owners. Deposit or minimum food sales guarantees may be required. Payment terms and tracking of food sales should also be specified.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of food trucks vs. traditional catering?

Food trucks offer advantages such as cost-effectiveness, flexibility, specialization in cuisine, scalability, and uniqueness. However, they may have limited menu options, lack seating arrangements, and result in longer wait times. Traditional catering provides variety, full-service options, predictability, seating provisions, and formality but can be more expensive and have limitations.

How do I determine food truck catering costs and menu options?

Food truck catering costs typically range from $12 to $25 per person, depending on factors such as menu choices, cutlery provisions, distance traveled, and minimum payment guarantees. Menu options should be simple, affordable, and appealing to both kids and adults.

How can I plan a successful food truck event?

Planning a successful food truck event involves considering factors such as food truck catering costs, menu options, location influences, event layout, and contract negotiations. Utilize online platforms and event planning software to attract and book the right food trucks for your event.

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