How to Cash in on the Food Truck WeddingThe wedding business is a $72 billion industry. Your food truck can get a share.
Weddings are big business in the United States. According to IBISWorld, the wedding service industry generates $72 billion annually. And thanks to the food truck wedding trend, food truck companies can get a slice of that wedding revenue cake.
NCR Silver asked five food truck owners and consultants for their tips on how to get brides and grooms to say “I do” to your food truck on the big day.
Participate in bridal shows
Bridal shows happen throughout the year and sometimes feature hundreds of vendors trying to appeal to couples. Keith Marshall, president of Absolute Restaurant Consultants, said it would be wise to participate in these. “If I were a food truck operator, I’d go to the bridal show, park my truck, and serve food that would appear on a wedding menu.”
Marshall said he would also hand out flyers while people are waiting in line to get into the show, or even offer them some sliders to sample. “I believe many brides would have food trucks at their weddings if they knew they were available,” he said.
Network with event planners
To break into the wedding industry, network with people and businesses that are already involved. This includes wedding planners, who are always looking for the best options for their clients.
“We work with event planners and organizers,” said Mike Mikhail, a food truck consultant and owner of four Los Angeles-based food trucks, Greenz on Wheelz, Fries N More, The Hungry Nomad and Hang 10 Tacos. “They reach out to us for alternative choices.”
Use social media and online ads
Use your online presence to attract clients. Marshall recommended establishing Pinterest and Instagram accounts and marketing to brides through both. He also advised investing in pay-per-click search engine ads and using relevant keywords such as “wedding catering” plus the location you’re targeting.
Describe the options you can offer
Brides may not be aware that food truck catering is available, or they might think it will make the wedding less elegant. When speaking with potential clients, describe the different number of ways you can add to their celebration.
“We can cater a wedding at a venue where they don’t want to see the truck, or one that’s casual where we park the food truck there,” said Mikhail. “We’ll have servers in tuxedos, and guests won’t even know the food is from a truck. We can also just provide service for the cocktail hour.”
Plan ahead for the big day
Once you get the contracts, the work doesn’t stop there. You have to do a great job so your clients will recommend you to their friends and planners will hook you up with more weddings.
Since it’s a different serving style than you’re used to, you’ll need to organize ahead of time and focus on speed.
“If I’m doing a wedding for 150 people, I prepare for 175, and I have my food ready to go” said Bob Aungst, a chef and owner of Rocks, Sticks & Hell, LLC, and Food Truck Rescues. “No truck has the capacity to serve 150 people in 20 minutes. [Owners] need to be prepared with hot boxes.”
Matthew Sieger, owner of the Holy Frijoles food truck in Los Angeles, offered similar advice. “Speed is really important, so have a set menu and don’t try to go too big,” he said. “People want a lot of food to impress their guests. On a food truck you have limited space, so don’t have too many options. If you do a formal sit-down wedding where you cater off the truck, you need one person for every 30 or 40 guests and a server for every 15 people.”
Ask for testimonialsPeople trust reviews, so it’s crucial that you collect reviews from your clients. Don’t be too aggressive about it, however, advised Josh Hiller, general counsel for food truck consulting business RoadStoves. “You can always post signs [and] stickers [on your truck] and ask, but pushing too much can backfire.”
Marshall said that once you have testimonials, you should display them on your website and your Facebook and Yelp pages.
Stay on top of your regular food truck business
Even if you do well in the wedding industry, you need to ensure your regular food truck business is running smoothly and your customers are satisfied. After all, they may know brides and grooms or want to take advantage of your catering services one day.
Hiller said, “Word of mouth is the best advertising for any [caterers], so take care of your current customer and current business.”