Meals Gone Mobile
Hungry couples looking for an innovative twist on wedding grub needn’t look further than their own busy street corner.
The growing popularity of food trucks have hooked a nation, spawning a reality TV series on Food Network and a still-booming Twitter craze. And now, they’re taking the wedding world by storm, with food-truck catering quickly becoming a fun way of doing something different.
“The great thing about a food truck is that people will be talking about it for years beyond the wedding date,” says Jackie Valent Lucca, who runs the Fast Foodie truck in Milwaukee and has catered several weddings in the area.
Couples considering a food truck should first of all make sure it fits the style of their wedding. The atypical nature of food truck catering – guests will essentially be eating street food out of the side of a parked van – means less of a folded-napkins-and-silverware environment, and something more laid back.
Since food trucks usually target a unique food audience, owners suggest sticking to safer fare for a bigger guest list. “I recommend large parties go with items that are traditional crowd pleasers, such as … ribeye, barbecue pork and caprese,” says Nida Rodriguez, owner of the Slide Ride, a gourmet slider food truck in Chicago.
But smaller parties with more daring taste-testers will likely enjoy the thrill of the bizarre niche foods some trucks offer. The Fast Foodie is known for its “Globacos,” warm flour tortillas filled with different global cuisines. According to Lucca, the most popular wedding menu Globacos are Jamaican Me Crazy, a Jamaican beef curry with rice, and the Big Sexy, Puerto Rican rice with pigeon peas, marinated pork and fried plantains.
For couples going the traditional dinner route who still want the fun of an on-site food truck, try using it for other elements of the wedding. Food trucks can be used for the appetizer portion, the late-night catering as guests leave the party or in-between the ceremony and reception to feed hungry guests.
Aside from adding a unique flair to a wedding, food-truck catering is a great way to keep a food budget in check. According to the Bridal Association of America, the average catering bill for a wedding with 150 guests is $12,247. That’s about $82 per person. The Fast Foodie truck, as an example, typically charges $25 per person, depending on the menu. Rodriguez says she charges $3/$4 per slider, and a $150 truck fee.
Just remember that not all food trucks are created equal. Size and equipment can limit what can and cannot be done.
“The biggest thing I would say to anyone wanting to use a food truck is to find out how flexible each is with what they will make,” says Valent Lucca. “Some trucks will only service what is on their menu. Some will make whatever the couple wants.” She also points out that trucks are unable to acquire liquor licenses, so none of them serve alcohol.
It’s possible to bring food truck service indoors, although the logistics are slightly different, and it may increase the price. Valent Lucca, who has catered indoor weddings with her truck, says that added staff is the biggest difference between indoor and outdoor catering. A bigger staff will be needed to transport the food from outside to the venue.
“If the person needs servers and a more formal meal, usually a traditional caterer would fit their needs better,” she says.
“A wedding is not more difficult than our normal course of business,” adds Rodriguez. “We are a full-catering service – we can and will bring the party indoors if requested.”