Food Truck Events: Working with Organizers

Food Truck Events

Working with special events organizers can be one of the more profitable segments of your business. A special event, or a food truck event that is well organized and attended can make the difference between profitable month and just getting by.  However, an event that charges you a large fee and ends up being a dud can seriously impact your bottom line for the month.  So how do you protect yourselves from the bad organizers while focusing on the great ones?  We’ve put together a list of tips:

Has the organizer worked in your area before? 
1.  If the organizer is established, ask them about their previous experience with events locally.
2.  If they’ve worked with food trucks, reach out to food trucks that have experience with them.
3.  Read reviews of their previous events on yelp or other review sites.

What type of social media presence does the organizer have?
1.  Check their facebook, twitter, instagram and snapchat accounts to see how many followers they have
2.  See how often they post about their events or events in general.

Are the organizers easy to get a hold of?
Communication is very important when going to an event. Make sure the organizers are good at getting back to you before you commit to doing an event with them. If they don’t get back to you in the setup process, they’ll be less likely once they have your money.

What permits will they be pulling for the event?
Will they be pulling a community event permit? Has the fire department approved the organizers layout plan? Do they have a business license to do business in the city where the event takes place?

Will there be clean and accessible restrooms for the food and food truck vendors?
It’s important to make sure that there are accessible bathrooms with handwashing sinks for all of your employees. All health departments require that you wash your hands after you use the restroom and BEFORE you go back to your truck. It’s important the the organizer understand their responsibilities to you and your crew.

What are they charging, a flat fee or a percentage?
Make sure that you can afford what they’re charging. 10% used to be the standard percentage rate, however some larger events are charging up to 35% and asking trucks to raise their prices. Percentages can protect you from a bad event by eliminating a large flat fee, but can also end up costing you big time if the event is a huge success.  Ask the organizers charging a flat fee if they have a refund policy for inclement weather or other forced cancellations beyond your control. Ask them via email so you have it in writing.

How will the organizer be promoting the event?
Be cautious if the organizer only plans a social media promotion campaign, or if they believe that the food trucks will promote the event themselves.  Every good event needs a good promotion strategy and it will help you make an assessment if you know what it is.

What other trucks are doing the event?
Ask the organizer about other trucks doing the event and give them a call.

What is the expected turnout and how many food vendors will be serving the public?
Be sure to ask the organizer how many food trucks will be attending the event. Also ask about other potential food vendors that may be working out of tents. The ideal ratio of attendees per truck is between 200 and 300 if everyone is expected to eat. With less than 200, it’s difficult for the trucks to make money. Over 300, the lines often get long and the customers are unhappy. If it’s not an “eating” event, that ideal ratio should double. For more info 

Will there be any free or promotional food at the event?
Sometimes events will have a sponsor that gives away free food. This always hurts the food sales of all the vendors. Be sure to ask if the organizer will have any freebies or samples.

Will the organizer be charging customers for the event?
If the organizer is charging an exorbitant fee, it’s going to hurt attendance. If the event is a food event, many people don’t want to pay to get into an event if the food isn’t free or has reduced prices. Make sure the event has something of real interest to patrons if there is a large entrance fee.


The most important thing to remember is to use common sense. If you see an event listed on lotmom, or you get an email from an organizer, don’t just blindly book the event. Make sure to talk to the organizers to gather some information first. If the organizer is rude or short with you, don’t reward them with your attendance.  Good luck!


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