While winter is coming, it’s never too soon to start planning summer events. And summer in the city now goes hand in hand with food trucks.
From festivals and outdoor concerts to street parties and even weddings, food trucks are big on the event scene and book up early. Several caterers and restaurants now offer a food truck option. Consumers love them, as much for the catered novelty as for the elevated cuisine they’re serving.
Incorporating food trucks into an event, takes me back to a Dell Canada employee celebration we produced this past summer. We settled on a rustic picnic theme at Evergreen Brick Works. The general session was in the Holcim Gallery followed by a reception chockablock with everything from games, interactive photo booths, a DJ and live band performance. Most importantly, food trucks! We knew we couldn’t settle for anything less as we wanted to keep the dining element a surprise.
With all of the classic and up-and-coming food trucks in Toronto, how did we narrow it down to six? Here’s where I share all of the do’s and don’ts, challenges and successes of having food trucks at your event:
TO DO #1: HAVE VARIETY
The answer to this turned out to be easy. If you are going to have food trucks that are very specific to one type of food, or even one food item, you need a variety of trucks to satisfy everyone’s needs. As a result, we chose the following:
- Smoke’s Poutinerie: Because, well, who doesn’t love poutine after a long day of work, eh?
- The Food Dudes: Because these dudes might just have the coolest truck in the city, with a great variety of options!
- ME.N.U: Because I bet you have not had Asian cuisine this tasty.
- Portobello Burger: Because we need to keep the vegetarians and healthy-eaters happy, too.
- Caplansky’s: Because, oh my gosh, you have not had deli meat until you’ve tried this!
- BeaverTails: Because dessert is important (duh), and a Canadian dessert is even more important.
On that note, this brings us to our next TO DO:
TO DO #2: PLAN OUT A SCHEDULE …TIMING IS IMPORTANT
As mentioned, guests attended a general session keynote in the event space before the fun began. Since the space was split in half, with only a curtain separating the areas, we needed to be strategic in getting the food trucks in place while still keeping them a secret. To make this happen, we had the food trucks drive into the space (one-by-one, on scheduled timing), set up and stay silent throughout the general session. The moment the curtain was removed for the big reveal, the food trucks were ready to serve!
We planned out one additional surprise. BeaverTails had a later arrival time, which coincided with the time the band was set to play. The truck and the band were placed in the now-vacant general session area so that once guests had their fill of food-truck noshing, they turned around to discover even more yummy options waiting to sustain them throughout the evening.
Scheduling is key, but as everyone in the event world knows, complications can arise. This brings us to…
CHALLENGE #1: A TRUCK BREAKDOWN
As event specialists, we can arrange décor, book entertainment, set up registration, select food and beverage options, make schedules and everything in-between. But we can’t fix a broken-down truck. One of our food trucks made it to the Brick Works parking lot, but died before it could pull into the event space. Not only were we faced with a gap in our event staging, but the mechanical failure was bumping back the schedule for all vendors loading into the space. After we realized that it was impossible to get the truck up and running, we were brought to …
CHALLENGE #2: BRAINSTORM A QUICK SOLUTION TO A BIG PROBLEM
We needed a solution, and fast! After making some calls and working with the vendor we concluded that if they could create a “make-shift truck” we could still have their service. Immediately, a table was placed in their assigned space, signage brought in and the vendor served as normal (just lacking the truck part). Actually, the set-up worked quite well with the picnic theme, and guests still got to enjoy the amazing food. Crisis averted!
Many successes and a few challenges later, a very fun-filled evening came to an end. While all of the entertainment and event elements were a hit, it was the FOOD TRUCKS that guests raved about. This event is one that the TK team will remember for a long time.
What is the final verdict on food trucks, you ask? In my opinion, they are a MUST-DO! They bring unique tastes, a fabulously different vibe to your event and can work within your budgets.
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