You have a built-in start for your food truck catering expansion: everyone you serve at the window of the truck is a potential catering customer or catering referral! Start by offering a rack card at your order or pick-up windows (see below examples of some of my rack cards for Love Food Truck Co.).
Food Truck Catering: Signs and Cards
You will need to educate the customers that you offer catering by telling them at the window, on social media, and your cards and web site. I also use an A-frame sign at events – one side is my logo and dry erase board, and the other is our catering information. It is a silent salesman while the line is walking past it and other people at the event are passing. It is always selling for you.
Collect Leads Online
You can also do a Google form for your Facebook page and website. People can fill it out and then Google emails the form to you for review and contact. The form can be as easy or as complex as you want. I have mine require that all questions must be completed or the email can not be sent. We all get those phone calls “can you quote this?” and it is missing all the pertinent information for you to quote the job! This form eliminates that!
Food Truck Graphics
My other favorite silent salesmen are my truck graphics. You should have that you cater prominently displayed on your truck. You are driving this giant mobile billboard around daily. Think of the numbers of people your truck passes on any given day?
Catering From Food Truck
I like that there are several ways to cater from your truck, depending on what the clients envision. You can serve a complete meal and drink from the truck, just like you are vending on the street. You can serve the main entree at the window and sides on the shelves. You can have a buffet line across the truck with tables at a 90 degree angle to the truck. We plate plates and napkins etc on the shelves and then maybe sides; the main dishes would be served by staff off of chafing trays.
Drop-Off Catered Buffet
Or it can be a drop-off catering job, where you prep, pack and deliver to the customer. You can do drop-off and set-up for a buffet service. As you can see, there are many ways to cater from your food truck. Being able to adapt and change your truck set-up for the client, helps land more jobs.
Winery, Brewery, Distillery Catering
Some of the other ways I cater from my truck is to do tasting dinners for the breweries, wineries and distilleries. You can work with your client to develop a menu in conjunction with their drink offerings for each course. We start off each course with a description of the food & drink offerings. The event can be promoted ahead of time and tickets can be sold off of social media and through your truck and the location. It is another great way to get in front of potential catering customers!
Catering Plates and Presentation
Your plating will need to be perfect for these events. You might want to get some catering dishes for service. I prefer black plates and disposable silverware. The colors seem to pop off of the black plates. Your catering should be upscaled from your street service, since you are charging more for your catering.
Social Media Buzz
You will need to up your social media game by posting frequently with awesome food and event pics. Post pics from the catering jobs that you are doing and let them know you are available for their catering needs and refer to your catering quote form.
Consider Catering Management Software
You may need to look at a catering software to track your orders and customer base. We use one to quote the jobs and then convert to an order and prep and delivery ticket. It is worth the money for what it offers us.
Catering can be a great way to expand your brand and increase your bottom line for the business. You can start small with your current customer base and grow from there!
Looking For a Food Truck or Trailer?
Take a video tour of the Stand King concession kitchen. It's a full kitchen on wheels! Have questions about the catering business? Try Vendors United – top street food pros and caterers are there to help!
Also, check out this incredibly successful Food Truck business over in Wyoming!