Food Trucks At Events – A Match Made In Ticket Sales Heaven

food trucks at events

Taste of Chicago 2013 will be one of the most popular food festivals in the country, thanks in part to the addition of a virtual army of food trucks. Just about any event, not just festivals, can benefit from having food trucks, and it saves the event operator money. Here's why...

Taste of Chicago

You've seen them featured on the Food Network. You've seen the long lines in the streets. But did you know that food trucks at events are so popular they can help sell tickets and save you money? The Taste of Chicago knows that and this year they will be hosting a virtual army of culinary coaches.

For the unfamiliar, the Taste of Chicago is one of the nation's largest food festivals, bringing thousands of people to the windy city since 1980. The event began after Arnie Morton attended a food festival in New York and wanted the same experience for his home town. The inaugural Taste of Chicago expected 100,00 people, but over 250,000 showed up, with food and soda sales grossing $300,000.

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New for 2013, the Taste of Chicago will offer attendees a special treat - food trucks. The addition was recently announced by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel:

The food truck industry continues to build in strength and numbers, and my administration is committed to creating the conditions and opportunities that will allow this industry to thrive, create jobs and support a vibrant food culture across Chicago. This will be a great way for many Chicagoans to get a sense of the excitement of this industry and sample some great food.

Of note for any venue owner or event organizer is the application process for food trucks to be part of the giant festival. Since the patron experience is paramount, the food trucks will have to accept the same electronic payment method as all the other festival vendors. In addition to hegemony of payment types  the food trucks need to tailor their offering with "signature items" just like the participating brick and mortar restaurants. From the food truck application (pdf)

This year, Taste will introduce one of the culinary community’s most popular elements – Food Trucks. Food Trucks will be placed on the perimeter of Butler Field, the lawn seating for the concerts at Petrillo Music Shell. Food Trucks will be allowed to vend for pre-established hours which will vary depending on the hours of the concert. Participants in this program will vend up to three or four signature items at a moderate ticket price, along with two “Taste of” items.

The City of Chicago and Mayor Emanuel are tapping into the popularity of the food truck trend to draw in more people, as well as expand the experience without increasing costs. That same approach can be scaled down for your event.

Lower Event Costs

A previous post on raising the affinity between venue and patron mentioned food trucks as a cost cutting measure.

In Austin, Texas, popular food trucks Me So Hungry and Arlo’s reside within the confines of the venue Cheer-up Charlies. The benefit of this is the venue defers the cost of serving food to the 3rd party  food truck operator, while utterly delighting patrons with delicious food. Since one must be inside the club in order to get the food, the venue inherits the patron delight.

Rather than incur the costs of concessions, you can contract the local food trucks in your area and ask that they set-up shop in front of your venue. If you are unsure of exactly which type of cuisine your patrons like most, you can present a survey during the ticket purchase process and ask them directly.

Food trucks at events also have the potential of reducing staffing requirements if your venue has a dedicated kitchen. Your big events can keep food sales in-house for maximum profits and then have the food trucks come by for lesser events or on holidays.

Food Trucks at Events, ThunderTix for Everything Else

Presenting a survey asking what kind of food trucks your patrons want most is a function of the ticketing software. ThunderTix offers you easy to implement surveys as part of the ticketing buying process. Our survey feature allows you pose up to five different questions to buyers during the checkout process. Use our “required fields” option to ensure you receive answers to questions you simply simply must know to fulfill an order appropriately.