Do you own a food truck or trailer business? Have you struggled to keep business booming with so many large event cancellations in the past year? The good news is that larger gatherings are becoming more commonplace again, and the food truck and trailers industry is coming alive again. Capitalizing on these opportunities depends on your ability to bring your specialty to the customer and meet them where they are at. Here are five top locations for food trucks and trailers.
1. Sports Events
Football games, soccer games, track and field meets, and baseball games are all ideal food vending opportunities. The wonderful thing about physical exercise (cheering included) is that it creates thirsty and hungry people - precisely what you need to make it big.
The advantage of food vending out of a truck or a trailer is that you can serve fans at these regularly scheduled gatherings without owning retail space on the premises. While the market at big league games may appear saturated, there could be an opportunity to partner with other teams or venues to be an official concession provider.
You may also find success in places other companies overlook. Smaller events like ultra-marathons and motocross races might have fewer spectators, but the remote location may provide you with a monopoly on the menu.
Tip: Know your venue and choose your location carefully. A spot close to where the awards ceremony is held can be valuable. Generally, these after-event meetings involve a lot of sitting around and clapping towards the end of the day when people are tuned in to their empty stomachs and the aroma of delicious food they smell.
Some food truck businesses shy away from advertising for wedding catering because they don’t feel formal enough. That’s a job for someone with plates, knives, and wine glasses, right? Not quite.
Weddings are not always formal, sit-down banquets. Many couples welcome food trailer catering as a novel, economical, and more flexible catering option. Advertise the benefit of having food prepared fresh on-site, including menu options beyond those prepared ahead of time and kept warm on a banquet table. It also allows guests to order what they want rather than a couple of predetermined menu choices.
Tip: Keep the ambiance in mind and be prepared for the weather. A classy white tent will not only shield guests from extreme heat or afternoon showers, but it will elevate the experience for guests. If the wedding is in the evening, the proper lighting can enhance the atmosphere around your food truck or trailer. Word of mouth is a great way to advertise, and satisfied customers today can lead to referrals tomorrow.
3. Community Events
Fairs, rodeos, and car shows are food trailer paradise. These events draw large crowds of all ages. Families with young kids, groups of teenagers, and couples enjoying a day out. Many of these events recur annually, which allows you to build customer loyalty year after year. Many people remember specific treats they always get from their favorite vendor. It can be the highlight of their visit.
Tip: Try and deliver a range of options, sweet and savory, hot and cold. There will be older adults, school children, families, young adults, and everyone in between. Offering a sweet treat that will get a kid to pull her mom over to you, as well as the berries and cream the mom might enjoy, can double your sales.
4. Concerts and Music Festivals
Music concerts attract people in droves. Summerfest, a music concert in Milwaukee, had over 800,000 attendees in 2016. Food concession trailers serving exotic and cultural food can pique the interest of festival attendees. Concerts and festivals often last multiple consecutive days. So, it is a fantastic opportunity to reach out to a new market or demographic to build brand awareness and loyalty.
Tip: Focus on efficient service. The large crowds at a music festival can lead to long lines of people if your service is slow. Nobody wants to risk standing in a long line when they might miss their favorite act of the night.
5. Food Truck Events
This might sound like a bit of a stretch, but events where the main event is the food vendors are more common than you might think. In recent years, the quality of food produced by curbside vendors has dramatically increased. The food truck and trailer industry has created a culture of more creative and bold menus than traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, often at a more affordable price. Many major metropolitan areas have food truck festivals or competitions that provide an unparalleled opportunity to grow your food truck business. If you can’t attend one of these events, perhaps you can connect with other trailer owners and organize such an event in your area.
Tip: Use experiential marketing to your advantage. The key here is to stand out from the rest of the food trucks and trailers by offering an experience in addition to your food. Live music or interactive displays can keep patrons entertained while they wait in line.
The future profitability of a food catering business out of a mobile truck or trailer can feel uncertain at times. Moving from one event to another to pursue the crowd can feel like an endless game of cat and mouse, but your mobility is your greatest tool. While restaurants struggle to bring in customers, you can leverage crowds already gathering for various events.
The recent pandemic has created challenges for the foodservice industry as a whole, as large gatherings have been canceled or postponed. However, as the country increasingly returns to normal, market your business to sports events, family gatherings, festivals, and other community events. As the popularity of food trucks and trailers increasingly trends upwards, there are plenty of opportunities for a creative and well marketed mobile food kitchen.