Food Trucks for Graduation Parties
Finally, the end is here! It goes by so quickly but, now it's time to party and celebrate all the hard work of completing one of the legs of the journey of life.
What matters most when hiring a food truck for graduation celebrations:
1. What style of food?
What's the grad like? Also, what will the guests like? Having a variety of food is nice, but, you'll find many food trucks are specialized and very good at their craft.
2. Dietary restrictions?
For some this is massively important and for others usually those who don't have immediate family members with needs. Keep in mind those who are impacted by this are very grateful when we can accommodate them, so having some choices available can go a long way.
3. How many trucks do I need?
Speed and Food Type play a major role here. So do the number of menu items that a truck is running. Want 7 things on the menu? You're going to wait a while regardless of what is being served. If you have less than 100 guests you shouldn't need more than one truck. If more, our team can help crunch numbers with you based on the cuisine and menu items you have in mind. Food trucks catering for a graduation should have fast turn times, the food being served is likely not going to be complex and pretty standard fare for the truck to serve.
4. How long should we feed our guests?
Having a defined period of time of 2-3 hour is usually sufficient. If coming straight from graduation and you're unsure of timing, having the truck set to serve 30 minutes into the party is a good idea. Have some snacks around in case the graduates have worked up an appetite. If you start service at the beginning of the party your late comers may miss the food. We can certainly give service longer than 2-3 hours but, there will be additional charges.
5. Where should we place the trucks?
Typically a flat surface is best. A place that's easy for guests to get to. Often times parking on the street facing a home works well. Pulling into the driveway works well. We also pull into yards at times, keep in mind, the trucks are not good with soft ground and going up hills or difficult terrain. Trucks also have to be placed 10' apart from one another and any structure to meet fire code.
6. What about music?
It's a must, one way or another it really help sets the tone for the celebration. It doesn't have to be knock your hair back crazy loud, but if that's what you want it certainly can be. Our Mobile Dj Truck puts a nice spin on Mobile DJ Service, see what we did there? Luckily our DJ's aren't corny with dad jokes. We know how well that would go over with the new grads. Boomers, is likely what would be said with an eye roll.
Party catering can be tricky, the nice thing about food trucks is undoubtedly the lack of mess and preparation needed for them to serve. A truck typically arrives one hour prior to service to ensure everything is hot and ready for service when it begins. Service usually lasts for 2-3 hours, sometimes if you have a smaller group, only 1 hour of service is needed. After service is over, a truck typically shuts down and cleans, polices the area around their truck for any trash and then departs. Leaving without a trace, there's not enough things to say about wrapping up a party and not having a kitchen to clean. Entertaining guests and having them trek all through the house or even just the yard outside is enough work, you don't need the kitchen to look like a disaster occurred too.
Nico's Arepas Still Crushing It!
The Sweet Buttery Smell of Arepas and Corn
That's what hits you in the face right after you walk into the Armenia Ave Nico's Arepas Restaurant and mini market.
The menu is much larger than what they could serve up on their food truck. Yep, they started out in a food truck on MLK across from the famed Taco Bus when it was on its way to its painful decline to being a gas station brand. You can find the passion and love for food that started that bus at Rene's Kitchen now and you should, it's awesome.
Arepas, Cachapas and Tequenos are the OG's at Nico's. Still delicious as ever, my go to choices are huge and filling. Plus, you need to get a beverage, no contest, pick the Postobon. Apple flavored soda, super sweet, but amazing.
The fitting name of La Glotona is Shredded beef, Shredded Chicken, Chicken Salad, Shrimp and White Cheese oh and butter which isn't listed as an ingredient, but if nothing else is there to grease the pipes to be able to put that all down.
The Cachapatona which sounds devishly gangster is the same as the Glotona on fillings but comes on a sweet and savory corn pancake like vessel. .
These are Venezuelan cheese sticks that are encased in a sweet exterior and fried to a light brown where they snap just a little bit as you bite into them.
The tutorial is real here, you need the sauces! There are three kinds of main sauces, garlic, salsa rosada (mayo and ketchup) and Volcano. My whole family likes different sauces on different things. None are too polarizing or spicy. Definitely safe to experiment.
Photo credit Nico's Arepas
The menu has soups, burgers, salads, platters, and even pasta! Oh and the market is super cool too, lots of hard to find authentic Venezuelan goodness! It's best that I'm not unleashed in such environments the carbs and sugar that ensue are not safe for anyone.
Tampa LED Trucks for Hire
Looking to advertise your business? You should check our friends out at First Step Marketing with their awesome LED Trucks in Tampa.
They can help with general marketing campaigns, community awareness and other fun things.
Currently they are thanking crossing guards for what they're doing everyday.
Why join Tampa Bay Food Trucks as a local food truck owner?
Often when starting a truck, it's overlooked how hard it can be to shop, cook, clean, and get booked. We can't help with the first three, but we can certainly help with the booking portion.
- Growing Revenue and Profit without additional admin work.
- Exposure to exclusive opportunities.
- We're all about small local businesses - you won't find us working with national franchises.
- Mentorship and helping with best practices. We help you to stretch your capabilities and help from the beginning or at any point of your journey.
- Often, we'll offer trucks the largest opportunities they've ever had a shot at, we offer it with coaching and direction to ensure we're all as successful as possible.
- Our technology and processes are second to none, we help create seamless experiences for clients and food trucks.
- Compliance, our team will help you to stay on track with insurance, fire and state compliance making sure your team is on top of the things that matter.
- We have a killer team that are all in for local food trucks, we love helping others succeed and win!
- It doesn't cost anything to apply or join; you've got to meet our base requirements which we consider basic industry best practices.
- Let's get started, here are the basics you need to apply to be a vendor with us: A fully wrapped or muraled truck with family friendly branding. A quiet generator less than 68 db. 2M/1M in General Liability and 500k CSL on a commercial auto policy. Must have NFPA 1 Propane safety certification (state required) No chains or franchises. APPLY NOW
There are more reasons but one of our least favorite things we like to talk about is ourselves. We'd rather show you what it's like to be a part of our team and get some business going!
Booking Fall Events
It's hard to believe but, it's already that time. Getting food trucks booked well in advance of your event ensures the best food trucks have been selected instead of just the ones that were available.
Starting early is key, it allows time for proper coordination, contract review and margin. At times, a venue needs additional insurance information, verification of compliance with state requirements like licensing. Good news, our team not only manages those risks, we help our partner trucks manage them throughout the year ensuring they are compliant. From safety inspections to aesthetics, we're on it.
- Cuisine Style - Pick Your Food Truck Catering Cuisine
- Service Style - Full Meals, Half Meals or Small Plates
- Best Point of Contact
- Decide whether you want us to handle the music with a DJ Truck or Indoor Setup with our partner: DJ LMO
- Any Special Requests / Accommodations
Next step, get it submitted so our team can reach out and work with you to make your event happen seamlessly.
Just after that, we're ready to party - Let's Go!
Wrap a Food Truck Like Your Business Depends On It!
You might ask why? Well, because it does. Imagine starting a restaurant but not placing a sign on the building? Maybe just some vinyl lettering on the door? Sound like a short sighted strategy? Well, it is and it would be for a food truck wrap too.
There are many things that don't transfer from a traditional brick and mortar concept to a food truck. Branding though, does in some ways. Often your most dominant brands have what they sell in their name. Certainly there are juggernauts that started 50 years ago that have iconic brands. Look at Shake Shack just shy of 20 years of operation. They didn't select a name like Wendy's, Arby's or McDonalds. They selected a name that state some of what they do. Its intriguing and fun. Not to say you can't have some fun with a red head and pigtails, let's face it, Wendy's is Savage on Social Media. If you haven't seen some of what they do, if their burgers were half as good as their social strategy they'd be on my radar to grab a burger.
Wrapping a food truck can have a massive impact on sales, like 50% or more. Imagine every time you open, you'll make 50% more in sales from a one time investment that lasts 3-4 years when well cared for. I wish we could have that kind of impact in many areas of your business, your financials would be amazing!
So what does a wrap usually cost? Somewhere in the realm of $4,000 - $6,000 usually depending on the size of the vehicle and removal of former wraps. That certainly is a significant sum, but, the cost of a sign on a restaurant for the most standard simple version is usually double that. Plus, when wrapping a food truck, a local government isn't asking you to pull a permit and comply with their standards.
Branding should match the attitude and mindset of your core customer. Who is that and how serious they are can drive your artwork. Sometimes fun and playful is the way to go, other times a more serious approach is needed to suit the more formal events you are looking for.
Same goes for the name, you can certainly name your truck or trailer something offensive and get attention that way. That can also diminish someone's desire to work with you. Some may say, my demo isn't an elementary school anyway, so I don't care. You certainly don't want to be bland or boring though. Descriptive is good in our opinion, saying what you do is key. That doesn't mean you can't do more, one thing can just be your core competency. IE You can be the Cheesesteak Truck but still put a burger on your menu for a catering. Oh and don't add and more to your name if possible, it just waters down your name and makes it a mouthful!
Let's get to Wrappin! We partner with local shops and get wholesale pricing and can pass that discount on to you! Contact us today about wrapping your food truck!
The most common things we hear from people wanting to start a food truck:
- I want to work for myself.
- I'm tired of making other people money.
- I want to set my own schedule.
- I want to be in control of my own destiny.
- I have to get out of corporate.
- I love to cook.
Luckily, not many people come into our industry thinking I want to get rich. Wealth is relative to begin with, having margin in your life is all about setting realistic expectations with your standard of living. Some of the most joyful people I've ever encountered were mildly successful and were extremely happy with what they were doing and earning.
We're fortunate to work in a Billion dollar industry, when we got started back in 2011, that was definitely not the case. It had certainly caught on in other cities, but, there's a utility to being able to feed people where they are with hot and fresh food. New opportunities and niches within our industry are constantly developing. Couple new opportunity with some folks exiting the industry after a few years and it's a recipe for new entrepreneurs. The industry is ripe for innovation, the industry learns more about itself, it's customers and it's very own food trucks.
If you have questions about getting started, what will work and what might not, give us a call. We're happy to discuss your future path on starting a successful food truck venture. We don't have answers for everything, but, we're happy to share what we've learned with and from others.
What's different in food service now than when we got started?
Food trucks have made a significant impact on the food service industry over the past decade. Here are several ways in which food trucks have influenced and transformed the culinary landscape:
- Culinary Innovation: Food trucks have become hotspots for culinary innovation. These mobile kitchens have provided aspiring chefs and culinary entrepreneurs with a lower-cost entry into the food industry. Food truck owners have the freedom to experiment with diverse cuisines, unique flavors, and fusion dishes, leading to a wave of creative and exciting culinary offerings.
- Increased Food Diversity: Food trucks have introduced a wide range of ethnic and regional cuisines to cities and towns around the world. Previously inaccessible or underrepresented foods have become more readily available, allowing people to experience diverse flavors without traveling long distances. This has enriched the food culture in many areas and broadened people's culinary horizons; this is especially true in rural areas.
- Enhanced Street Food Experience: Food trucks have revitalized the street food scene. They provide a convenient, quick, and casual dining experience, breaking away from traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants. The ability to enjoy high-quality, restaurant-style food on the go has attracted a diverse customer base, including office workers, students, and tourists, contributing to the vibrant street food culture.
- Affordable Dining Options: Food trucks often offer more affordable dining options compared to traditional restaurants. With lower overhead costs and smaller menus, food truck owners can provide reasonably priced meals without compromising on quality. This accessibility has made gourmet and artisanal food more affordable and accessible to a broader audience.
- Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth: Food trucks have fueled entrepreneurship in the food industry. Aspiring chefs and food enthusiasts can start their own business with a relatively small investment, compared to opening a full-fledged restaurant. This has created opportunities for individuals with culinary talent and entrepreneurial spirit to pursue their passion and contribute to local economies. Doors were opened with less capital and more passion and that's made a clear impact.
- Community Engagement: Food trucks have become a focal point for community gatherings and events. They often participate in festivals, private parties, and neighborhood gatherings, creating a sense of community and bringing people together. Food truck events offer a unique social experience, where people can explore various cuisines, interact with food vendors, and enjoy a shared dining experience.
- Flexibility and Adaptability: Food trucks are highly flexible and adaptable to different locations and events. They can respond quickly to changing consumer demands and preferences. Food truck owners can easily move to areas with high foot traffic, cater private events, or adjust their menus based on customer feedback. This agility has allowed food trucks to thrive in various environments and serve a broader customer base.
- Influencing Traditional Restaurants: The success and popularity of food trucks have influenced the traditional restaurant industry as well. Many brick-and-mortar restaurants have adopted elements from the food truck culture, such as incorporating street food-inspired dishes, offering grab-and-go options, or creating food truck-themed events. Food trucks have spurred innovation and encouraged established restaurants to think creatively about their offerings.
Overall, food trucks have had a transformative impact on the food service industry in the last decade. They have brought diversity, creativity, affordability, and community engagement to the culinary world, challenging traditional dining norms and enhancing the overall dining experience.
Tampa Bay food trucks hosted a local food truck rally with over 10 truck options. The DJ truck was going full blast, setting the tone for the fun evening of eating. Despite the 50 degree, freezing weather, families poured into Fishhawk to get a taste of the amazing variety offered.
When you have 10+ trucks in one lot, you have to have to do something that sets you apart from the rest. Right off the bat, you could notice some trucks with lines outside, and others, with workers just standing idle, waiting for customers to walk up. I wanted to figure out why. I know I’m not the authority in what works and what doesn’t in the food truck business, but I am a consumer, who is able to see what others are enjoying, and what they are not.
....So let's talk about it!
The first stop was The One Stop Food Truck!
I ordered the aloha burger, and the street corn. The burger was delicious! The meat was perfectly salted, and did not fall apart while you were eating it. The lettuce, tomato, and onions were fresh and added a nice crunch. The potato sticks were very inventive and added to the crunchy, saltiness of the burger, balanced out well by the pineapple and aloha sauce! The fries were well seasoned and crispy, the way they should be. The corn was surprisingly good! Not overly sauced, and the cotija cheese added the perfect amount of salt.
I give it a 9/10. Definitely restaurant quality, and I would order it again! I was surprised at the quality of food that was coming out of that food truck! The other patrons seemed to be enjoying their food as well! I did not see anyone looking disappointed.
Finally dessert, I got the nutella donuts from Glazed Up Mini Donuts.
The donuts themselves were delicious. So warm, and fluffy. The topping tastes more like a Hershey's chocolate syrup than nutella, and it could have used more of it. The picture on the truck showed the donuts smothered in the thick, nutella, while the ones I got had a bit of a thin drizzle.
I give it a 7/10. It would’ve been a 9/10 had it been like the picture on the truck. Nutella has such a rich, distinctive taste, so when you replace it with anything else, you can definitely tell right away.
With that, we closed out the night. Our bellies were full, and despite the freezing cold weather, even more people were starting to arrive to have a night of music and good food! If you’re looking for a creative date night, or a fun event for the family, consider a food truck rally! It gives you the chance to try new foods, in a new environment and even the small kids there were running around having a good time. The music food truck had a lot to do with the great vibe, it definitely set the tone of the event. What a delicious night!
The last two years have been a whirlwind for us as a company and naturally for our team members and partners as well. That being said, you haven't heard as much from us on our blog and until recently our social channels were quieter than normal.
With an extremely busy 2021 and first half of 2022 it's been a lot of fun and a lot of work. So midway through June, the team embarked on a one day retreat for fun and relaxation.
No work, just good times with our team. It was a blast. We encourage you all to to also engage your teams in such outings. We're extremely thankful we get to engage with so many customers in helping them to appreciate their team members. Thank you for your business and support over the last two years.