Food truck owners have increased the number of their catering gigs over the past few years. This has become an alternative profit source for their mobile food empires. As this area evolves, more and more trucks have added outdoor food truck catering to the services they provide to their communities.
Many of these jobs come from their loyal customers who adore the food from their menus. Some jobs involve driving the truck up to an event space and serving directly from the truck. Others require the trucks staff to move indoors to use a larger kitchen or be able to provide a complete catering service.
While many these catering food truck owners prefer the ease of controlled indoor events such as those that take place in hotels, banquet halls or homes, taking control of outdoor food truck catering events is possible.
With a little extra strategy and planning, outdoor food truck catering events can quickly turn into an enjoyable experience for the vendor and their catering client.
Tips for dealing with outdoor food truck catering events:
- Prepare for wind, not just rain: Even the best food truck vendor can’t control the weather. But you certainly can plan for it. And a sunny windy day can be just as detrimental as a rainstorm. Have you prepared for the high gusts that may blow through the event, knocking over all of the table centerpieces or putting out your lit candles or chafing fuel?
- Select the proper equipment: When you cater large events it is not always possible to do all of the cooking in the relative safety of your food truck. Be sure the stoves that will be used are heavy-duty enough for outdoor use. Are your chafing dishes designed with professional wind-block attachments? Don’t use rolls of tinfoil to keep wind from blowing out a flame if you can avoid it.
- Keep food safe: While keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold may seem simple, unpredictable conditions outdoors can add challenges to this simplicity. Food shouldn’t sit out so long that hot food cools to the danger zone and cold food warms to the danger zone. Solutions include having an extra supply of chafing fuel on hand, keeping buffet times to 1 ½ to 2 hours maximum, or putting food out in smaller portions.
- Maintain ambiance: The importance of ambiance is made most obvious by lighting. But when the wind kicks up, the flicker of traditional wax candles goes out. For outdoor evening events, consider flame-less candles. This will help guests feel more intimate with their friends and family. And the right lighting also helps highlight your food.
The Bottom Line
Food truck vendors who take a little extra time up front to develop contingency plans for unexpected weather and how to maintain food quality, safety and ambiance are guaranteed a better outdoor food truck catering experience; as well as ending up with a happy client.