Article written by Ariel D. Smith of The Food Truck Scholar
Cover Photo courtesy of The Beignet Bar
Food trucks have become part of the vernacular here in the United States. Every week, you can bet your bottom dollar that somewhere, whether in a big metropolis or a small town, there’s a food truck parked on a corner outside of an office building, at a game, or participating in the ever-popular food truck festivals. The food truck industry has been steadily gaining momentum over the last decade and is not showing signs of stopping anytime soon. Loyal customers or those looking to try something new are even requesting food trucks to be their main or sole food providers at business meetings, conferences, concerts, and birthday parties. Recently, I had a guest on my podcast who organizes food truck catering for weddings, and I was a little surprised! I knew that many brides are looking to break with traditional wedding structure, and I knew of food trucks on the West Coast that have catered events, but I completely underestimated the demand on a national scale for this particular market. I decided to do some research and have found out quite a bit about the union of food trucks and weddings (see what I did there). Even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Harry and Meghan had ice cream trucks outside of Buckingham Palace the night of their wedding! If you’re thinking about having your favorite food truck at your wedding, allow me to provide you a few tips and dispel a few myths.
Tip 1: Make a list of your favorite trucks.
This is your special day, so why not have your favorite foods? There are food trucks that specialize in putting a creative spin on just about any food you can imagine. If you want food trucks handling both the food and desserts, make sure your list includes sweet and savory options. In some cases, going with a food truck that has your favorite food(s) can come with a smaller sticker price and bigger food portion than traditional routes. Choose what feels right to you!
Myth 1: Food truck owners are not chefs
There is a common misconception that food truck owners are in the food truck industry because they are not trained chefs. While it is true that some are not formally trained (and the same can be said about some traditional caterers that are phenomenal), many food truck owners are well experienced chefs and restaurateurs. I have met food truck owners like Darrell Johnson of Nola Creations that has over 20 years of professional experiences cooking all over the world.
Tip 2: Decide if you want the truck to ACTUALLY be there
The food truck does not necessarily have to be there. Many food truck owners also function as caterers that will set up your food with elegance and professionalism in the same format as any caterer. The key is that you need to contact the food truck owner and ask if that is an option.
Some weddings are designed so that the food truck is parked in a location that is convenient for guests to access and are there for roughly two hours. This creates a more casual flow that allows your guests to eat whenever they want during that time span and leaves plenty of time for mingling and festivities. If you want a more casual feel to your wedding where everyone is just there to enjoy themselves and the moment, this could be a great option! Just be sure you coordinate with the venue to decide if you want tables outside for guests to sit or if you prefer for guests walk back in after receiving their meal.
Myth 2: Food Trucks can’t provide wedding cakes
Remember, many food truckers are also chefs and bakers. Many have both a food truck and a brick-and-mortar. Also, food trucks are required to have commissary kitchens so there is usually a way to get special requests if that is their specialty. Reach out to your favorite dessert truck and ask! One of my favorite dessert trucks when it comes to cakes is K&J’s Elegant Pastries in Alabaster, Alabama. If you love beignets like I do, consider having Nola Creations or The Beignet Bar take care of your big day.
Tip 3: Consider the style you want in a food truck
Food trucks not only provide various meal options, but they also come designed and wrapped in various styles too! Whether you’re going for a 1950’s diner style theme, a Hollywood glam theme, Hip Hop icons, a certain city theme, or whatever comes to mind, there’s probably a food truck to fit the look you have in mind. Have fun and do some digging to see what options and styles are out there.
Myth 3: You are limited only to the food trucks in your area.
This may sound silly, but some often think that food trucks are rigid to the city they call home. This is not always the case. After all, this is the whole premise of food trucks- they’re mobile. I have seen food trucks from Florida in Detroit…now I wouldn’t say they would make that big of a drive all the time, but it is not too uncommon to see a food truck drive 2 hours for an event. Communication about expectations and pricing is critical for this, which brings me to my final point.
Tip 4: Communication, communication, communication!!!
This is true for anything in life, as newlyweds will soon learn, but communicate clearly with your selected food truck(s). Do the initial phone call to inquire about their offerings and when you have selected the ones you want, follow up in a clear email right after. Leave nothing up to assumption. Clarity is critical. If you are not in the same city as the food truck, make that known in advance; there might be a travel fee included. After all, the food truck is forgoing opportunities locally to be there during your event in addition to round trip travel time.
If you decided to say “I do” to wanting a food truck to cater your wedding after reading this, get out there and start searching! While you can find some great trucks through your local or state food truck associations, there are many great trucks that might not be affiliated. If you’re a social media user, that is an easy and quick way to find food trucks near you. You can also go for a nice drive and see some along the way!
Meet the author:
Ariel D. Smith is a PhD student studying the current food truck movement and the founder of The Food Truck Scholar, where she runs a weekly podcast and travels across the country meeting food truck owners and listening to their stories. You can find out about her and her podcast by visiting TheFoodTruckScholar.com. The Food Truck Scholar Podcast is available on all major platforms including iHeartRadio, Apple Podcast and Spotify.
Ariel D. Smith, M.Ed - a.k.a Le Foodie Noir
The Food Truck Scholar, Founder
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