Eye-catching branding, unique culinary offerings, and convenience make food trucks an attractive alternative to standard event catering. Now, increased attendee safety is an important asset as well.
"Food trucks are the best catering option if you're trying to be Covid safe," Claire Kelly, market manager of the New York Food Truck Association (NYFTA), said. "You’re outdoors, and there is ventilation."
Professional food trucks include food handlers with appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, although some clients insist on food truck operators taking a Covid test before the event.
They can roll into an event either indoors or out. It has become popular to have them park in an exhibit hall or convention center. Each truck can offer a different culinary offering. Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and Vegan are popular food truck themes. Variety is important and smaller portions give attendees the opportunity to try a number of different dishes. Think tacos and quesadillas in one truck, grilled cheese in another, vegetables and chickpeas in a third, and cupcakes and other desserts in another.
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is on board. The perception of safety is important to Melinda Burdette, senior director of events at MPI, as she believes it leads to an increased feeling of well-being among the group, helping put attendees at ease.
"Food trucks definitely provide less handling of food items and serving utensils, as opposed to a traditional buffet," Burdette added.
Keeping health and safety front and center, you’ll need to know the anticipated size of your group in order to book the appropriate number of food trucks. Long lines to order can be an issue especially when social distance is a goal.
If you plan to include food trucks in your next event, be sure to check credentials, focusing on health and safety protocols. Members of NYFTA, for example, must meet a specific set of requirements that includes cleanliness, presentation, high-quality meals, and friendly staff.