A feverish catering craze has burst onto the post-pandemic food scene, as an unexpected solution has sped up to meet this surging demand. With a hungry workforce returning back to the grind, many have noticed some of their favorite eateries are unfortunately not coming back. Some businesses were also forced to restructure expense sheets, as many choose to permanently close cafeterias or in-building food vending options. So almost overnight, catering calls started pouring into a surprising source to fill this new void: Food Truck booking services.
Roaming food trucks have been around since the 1930s, but the newfound popularity of these mobile restaurants skyrocketed by 1980 when they were first introduced by hot dog cart vendors in Los Angeles. The industry then boomed soon after, as gourmet menus and chef-inspired creations ignited a mobile frenzy of food truck operators offering restaurant-style cuisine on the road; some with actual chefs behind the wheel. It was only a matter of time before catering honked the horn.
Helping drive this trend is that many food trucks offer affordable menu options and all-inclusive packages without any hassle or time wasted setting up or breaking down for events. With more businesses deciding to use catering services from food trucks instead of reopening cafeterias for example, fiscally it makes more sense to take advantage of the bountiful selection of mobile kitchens available; especially with previous food venues struggling to rebound as post-pandemic staffing issues transpire.
A food truck’s range and adaptability to cater these events and feed the returning workforce, as well as being able to serve a wider variety of cuisine options, gives the immediate edge for the food truck industry to be the desired heroes for the hungry. Considering the additional benefits of often being able to serve higher quality gourmet dishes (with menu item cost equal to or less than the previous traditional vendors that were visited), allows the food truck industry to gain the edge it needs to maximize on the profitable potential these catering opportunities offer.
So as these gourmet mobile kitchens truck across the Nation to keep up with the expanding metropolitan area demands for service, the need for catering seems to be growing even faster. The simplistic and no hassle nature of a food truck option just makes more sense for catering larger events like weddings, residential developments, commercial buildings, universities, cafeterias and others alike, especially now that the quality of cuisine being served has been “foodie” approved.
This unexpected craze for catering has now ignited a rush of food truck operators flocking to the industry booking companies that are receiving an overwhelming and increasing amount of inquiries daily. Operators are quickly jumping on these catering events, as many of these opportunities tend to develop into great relationships with a desirable clientele and well paying catering coordinators that will inevitably result in return business, or possibly a permanent location.
All the while, food truck booking companies continue to dish out these catering events to the operators eagerly lining up to offer their services to this booming market. Given the fact that the catering events often offer a guaranteed pay out, food truck operators are seeing more profit by excelling operations through these advantageous food truck industry booking platforms. With some of these online businesses now equipped with technologically advanced online ordering tools and other useful marketing avenues to assist with the catering events offered, operators have not only seen an increase in daily sales, but also predictability regarding scheduling and even more control over costs in general.
So on top of the added business and brand exposure created from this catering craze, as well as broadening the overall need for food trucks in general, operators have not only been able to limit food costs, but often able to order exactly what will be needed for that event ahead of time. That ability to pre-order or choose from set menus, with orders coming in and paid for prior to the event, allows operators to keep waste at a minimum and maximize profits. And the catering events just keep coming in.
Food truck operators are catching on quick to the advantages of not only utilizing the booking platforms for more business, but realizing the benefits of signing on before it’s too late. Many of the catering events needing food trucks are transitioning into permanent locations for operators as companies turn to these mobile kitchen options instead of reopening doors to those cafeterias.
“Now I know what to expect in sales, I know what to buy at restaurant depot because of the pre-order system, and because of the business relationship established with our location booking platform, they offer us the best spots that have turned out to be consistent business,” said Robbins, who has seen a dramatic increase of profits since joining a booking platform, focused strictly on the catering events being offered.
Many large catering requests need multiple trucks, leaving booking companies with even more jobs to fill. This constant and increasing demand has resulted in booking companies having limitless opportunities to offer food truck operators, and the need for more trucks has never been greater due to this catering craze. This has also caused the booking companies to tirelessly work on distributing these events to the top food trucks available on its platform. Booking companies are well aware that any lost business or jobs they are unable to fill may also jeopardize the reputation of the current stability of the industry.
“We have been receiving more calls from these operators recently now that the word has caught on, but honestly we need more to meet this increasing demand. The new trucks joining our platform are making and saving more income than they ever had thanks to these catering opportunities. It just makes it so much easier for everyone involved. And they just keep coming in, we just need more trucks,” said Matt Geller, founding president of the National Food Truck Association and current CEO of BFT (Best Food Trucks), the nation’s largest food truck booking and ordering platform.
With many food truck operators that claim to be struggling post-pandemic, these catering opportunities couldn’t of pulled up at a better time. For larger food truck concepts that have multiple trucks or even several concepts, scheduling around these large events has helped cut costs tremendously and fill up schedules weeks in advance. For those operators who are now reaping the benefits from these innovative booking companies lining up these catering events one after another, business has never been better.
This recent boom has also opened up an entirely new world for food trucks to explore and get creative, with some trying out new menus and cuisines options. Those that do not want to rely exclusively on their own marketing and promotional efforts now utilize this guaranteed revenue stream as a supplement to what they already have going with regular customers at brick and mortar businesses or events. Catering opportunities provide much more stability than relying solely on word of mouth advertising.
The larger food truck chains seem to be well aware of this catering craze, as many have quickly transferred over operations to these online booking services to handle. Now with these larger chains gobbling up the biggest catering events, the smaller individual food truck operators are seeking to jump on board quick to get in while the catering events are hot.
Online booking platforms are making the connection between the food trucks and customers, also helping operators get more comfortable with their clientele and assisting with implementing trucks into regular rotations. The food trucks that are ahead of the game and already signed up and in the booking platform system are getting a massive jump start on the current business, as well as future bookings to come.
Inevitably as the food truck industry expands, the online booking and ordering platforms will unquestionably drive more business to the operators as this catering demand grows larger. Now the race has begun for the food truck operators to take advantage of these opportunities and help expand on that word of mouth advertising that is also developed and carried over from these events in addition.
“I never in a million years would’ve thought to order food trucks for our residential apartment complexes and developments, but an associate of mine was hosting a large real estate business conference that used food trucks for their catering needs. I was blown away by the quality and once I discovered how affordable and easy it was, we decided to permanently schedule food trucks for all of our residential properties and the feedback from staff and residents, well, it’s been fantastic,” said Mary McHue, property manager of AIG Residential Development.
With this word of mouth spreading rapidly and the crave for food trucks becoming almost overbearing for booking platforms, operators in the loop are benefiting tremendously from these non-stop catering waves of business. And for these food truck operators that are aware and taking advantage, business is the best that is has ever been.
“I believe that it is a well known fact now that if food truck operators don’t come on board soon, it will make it much more difficult to compete later on down the road. As these other trucks establish great relationships early with our clients on the other side, it often progresses into consistent bookings. We have some trucks that are now permanently booked for catering events that are needed multiple times a week or month. They’re doing a great job and our clients love them and continue to rebook them. And the catering calls just keep coming in,” said Geller.
Hopefully more operators will now take advantage of this new catering craze and keep this movement energized and moving forward. As the online booking platforms continue to expand and help drive the industry to new heights, communities are eagerly tracking down these invigorating roving kitchens on wheels through booking platforms in hopes of being able to find trucks for larger events instead of ordering take out or dealing with traditional catering annoyances.
“This is the food truck catering gold rush and absolutely the future of this industry. I just wish the word would spread faster, but we are bringing on new trucks everyday that are luckily jumping in on the never-ending amount of requests we receive daily for catering,” said Geller.
These gourmet food trucks that have sparked this new catering revolution with dishes that you could once only find at a restaurant are now controlling the scene. There is no question that the word is out and the returning workforce is craving food truck catering at an unbelievable demand. And with more operators continuing to take advantage of this new catering craze, while also utilizing the advanced booking tools available from companies like BFT, this will only help continue to drive the expansion of food truck catering and help this exciting industry continue to profit into uncharted territory.