Summer events can only mean one thing: It’s time to get creative. The weather was beginning to warm up on a beautiful day in May, and Dell Canada employees were ready to celebrate a successful year.
We thought, what could be more enjoyable than an outdoor picnic themed event to help meet their event needs? So, a few months of creative planning and site-visits later, after settling on Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto as our venue, we were ready. The general session in the Holcim Gallery was followed by a reception with everything from games, interactive photo booths, a DJ and live band performance, and most importantly…Food Trucks.
From music festivals, to outdoor concert venues, to food festivals; food trucks have truly taken over the event scene. Most catering and restaurant businesses have expanded to catering various events with a food truck addition, and they have proven to be a new favourite in the eyes of consumers. After settling on a rustic picnic theme at Brickworks, we knew we couldn’t settle for anything less than Food Trucks as our F&B option. I’m here to tell you all of the do’s and don’ts, challenges and successes of having food trucks at your event. With all of the classic and up-and-coming food trucks in Toronto, how did we narrow it down to 6?
TO DO #1: HAVE VARIETY
The answer to this turned out to be easy: if you are going to have food trucks that are very specific to one type of food, or even one food item, you need a variety of trucks to satisfy everyone’s needs. As a result, we chose the following:
Smoke’s Poutinerie: Because, well, who doesn’t love poutine after a long day of work, eh?
The Food Dudes: Because these dudes might just have the coolest truck in the city, with a great variety of options!
ME.NU: Because I bet you have not had Asian cuisine this tasty…
Portobello Burger: Because we need to keep the vegetarians and healthy-eaters happy too!
Caplansky’s: Because oh my gosh…you have not had deli meat until you’ve tried this…
BeaverTails: Because dessert is important (duh), and a Canadian dessert is even more important
On that note, this brings us to our next TO DO:
TO DO #2: PLAN OUT A SCHEDULE…TIMING IS IMPORTANT
As mentioned, guests attended a general session keynote in the event space before the fun began. Since the space was split in half, with only a curtain separating the areas, we needed to strategically get the food trucks in place while still keeping them a secret. In order to make this possible, we ensured the food trucks drove into the space (one-by-one, on scheduled timing), set-up, and stayed silent throughout the general session. The moment the curtain was removed, the food trucks were revealed and ready to serve!
Additionally, one little surprise was strategically planned out as well. BeaverTails had a later arrival time, which happened to be at the time the band was set to play. The truck and the band replaced the general session area, so once guests were satisfied from the variety of food trucks offered, they turned around and discovered even more yummy options waiting for them.
With the issue of scheduling being important, it is vital to mention that this is the event world, and unfortunately, complications can arise. This brings us to…
CHALLENGE #1: A TRUCK BREAKDOWN
As event specialists, we can arrange décor, we can arrange entertainment, we can set-up registration, F&B, and schedules, and everything in-between… but, we can’t fix a broken down truck. Unfortunately, one of our food trucks died (I wish I could explain what happened, but those are logistics I just can’t describe). Either way, the truck made it to the parking lot, but could not turn on to pull into the event space. Not only was this possibly going to leave a gap in the space, but also was bumping back the schedule for all vendors loading into the space. After we realized that it was impossible to get the truck up and running, we were brought to…
CHALLENGE #2: BRAINSTORM A QUICK SOLUTION TO A BIG PROBLEM
We needed a solution, and fast. So, we made some calls, we worked with our vendor, and we concluded that if they could get a make-shift truck made (aka if we provided a table and some space) we could still have their service. That’s exactly what immediately happened – a table was set-up, signage was brought in, and the vendor served as normal (just lacking the truck part). All in all, the set-up worked with the picnic theme, and guests still got to enjoy the amazing food…crisis averted!
Many successes and a few challenges later, a very fun-filled evening came to an end. While all of the entertainment and event elements were a hit, it was the FOOD TRUCKS that guests raved about. This event is one that the TK team will remember for a long time.
What is the final verdict on food trucks, you may ask? They are a MUST-DO. They bring unique tastes, they bring a different vibe to your event, and can work within your budgets.