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The Broomfielder

How to Hire a Food Truck for Your Spring Event in Broomfield

May 01, 2019 11:51AM

By Kristen Beckman

The popularity of food trucks has accelerated during the past decade as options have evolved beyond the taco trucks and hot dog stands of yesteryear, to gourmet mobile restaurants on wheels today. 

“Back when I first started cooking professionally, food trucks were usually little lunch trucks that parked at construction sites,” said Chris Rubeck, owner of Broomfield-based Ruby Ru’s Street Eatery, which serves dishes like Bourbon Chicken, CurryWurst, and Cajun Potatoes. “Since about 2010, there has been an uprising of new food trucks doing really cool and cutting-edge food. I think it’s a trend that’s here to stay.”

The public’s appetite for food trucks is healthy. The industry is in a rapid growth phase across the country and food trucks can often be found at festivals and dedicated food truck ‘rallies.’ Food trucks are also now becoming a popular catering option at events, including weddings, graduation parties, neighborhood social gatherings, corporate events, and even birthday parties. According to Matt Casarez, co-owner of Broomfield-based Mc2 Ice Cream Co. — which serves custom ice cream flavors like caramel popcorn, buttered blueberry pancake and ghost pepper raspberry — food trucks can often be cheaper than traditional catering, depending on the menu, and offer variety and choice for guests while eliminating the long lines you might find at a banquet-style event. 

Want to hire a food truck for your event this spring? Consider the following advice from local food truck operators.

Start by sampling food served by trucks operating near you to help you determine what kind of food you want to serve and find potential trucks to hire, said Rubeck. This will give you an idea of the quality of food and service you can expect and allow you to meet the truck’s owner to learn more about their event options. Many trucks will customize their menu to fit your event. For instance, Casarez said he is planning a custom red velvet ice cream flavor for a wedding booked this summer. Be aware that custom food options can affect pricing.

Speaking of costs, there are two basic ways to pay for a food truck at an event. For an event like a wedding or graduation party, the host typically pays the entire cost based either on total food consumed or a set price agreed upon in advance based on the number of guests to be served. Some events, such as neighborhood social functions or school events, lend themselves to a customer-pay model where guests buy their own food. For these types of events, trucks may require a minimum to ensure they don’t lose money on their trip if the event doesn’t draw the expected attendance or guests don’t buy as much food as anticipated. Minimums can range from a few hundred dollars to $1,000.

The number of guests you plan to serve at your event can have a big impact on which food truck you eventually hire. Some trucks are large and have several people working in them, which means they can handle a large crowd. Other trucks are smaller and have a limit on how many guests they can serve. Rubeck said his truck can usually serve about 100 people per hour, so for events with more than 250 people, he advises potential clients to consider a larger-capacity truck or to hire a second truck. 

Typically, food truck owners take care of permitting and licensing in the areas they serve. However, if you plan to have a food truck on private property, ensure that you have permission from the venue or property owner in advance. Broomfield statutes allow food trucks to park on public streets that have on-street parking and on private property with permission as long as they do not interfere with the operation of business. In some cases, a temporary permit may be required.

Ensure there is a space large enough for the food truck to park and for guests to queue. Food trucks also need power to cool and cook food. In many cases, it is ideal if the truck can plug in to a power supply. If that’s not possible, many trucks have a generator they can use, but they can be noisy and increase costs.

Food trucks are becoming extremely popular for events, so make sure to book early and be prepared to pay a deposit to hold your date.