How Food Trucks Work


Here is everything you need to know about booking a food truck. A question that we always get is… How do food trucks work? How many should I hire??? There are a lot of answers to that question. Some trucks have a designated route, while others schedule locations in advance and yet others roam looking for the hot spot. Here is the best way for you to get an Indianapolis food truck to your event or location.

Before a truck hits the road, there is anywhere from 4 to 12 hours (with multiple people) in preparation. Other costs include cooking time in a leased kitchen, gas/propane, health department fees, licenses, etc. Realistically, it costs at least $200 to get on the road. Next, there are labor costs. Normally 2-3 people working for a minimum of a 3-4 hour shift, depending on the size of the event. Then include food cost. Most trucks can’t afford to open up if they do less that $400.  Those that do will most likely be gone next season.

Now that you have an idea of the effort associated with a food truck hitting the road, here are a few ideas on how to book a truck.

  • If you have no idea which truck you want to use, go to a site like Roaming Hunger or if you are in Indianapolis, a number of trucks that share best industry practices can be found at Indy Food Truck Alliance.
  • If you want to do more research, go to the local Food Truck Fest.
  • If you know who you want, call them up and schedule a date. Most trucks need 30-60- days advance notice, especially if you are trying to book in October.

I also often hear, “why are food trucks so unreliable?” Again, there are many answers. The one you hear most often is that “our truck broke down.” Most of the food trucks on the road are older and have over 100,000 miles on them. So this is a reasonable excuse. The other reason is… There is not enough business at your location. We frequently get calls like this. “We have 300 people in our office and I think this would be a great site for you to come to.” While it would be a great location if 1/2 of the people came out to eat, in most cases we are lucky to get 10% of the people, and that is only if we have an inside advocate that is reminding people for a week in advance.

I guess the best barometer of if you will have a good event is if you can just about guarantee that the food truck that shows up will do at least 50 to 150 orders, if the event is to be paid by individuals. If it’s under 40 orders, most likely they will not want to come back. Therefore, the next best way to guarantee service is to cater a truck. Depending on which truck you have, most will require a minimum of $300-$700. Some will require a deposit while others may not.

If you ever have additional questions and need consulting on the best way to feed your group, please give us a call. While we are a part of the Indy Food Truck Alliance, we are friendly with most of the truck owners and will direct you to the best fit for you and your company. If it’s a major event, we also partner with Professional Gifting to bring the added flair of logo swag to your event.