IDEAS & INSPIRATION: Planning a food truck-catered event


Lately, more than ever, we’ve had new leads come in and ask, “could we have food trucks cater our wedding/event?” Our answer – a huge resounding “YES!” … Well, it’s a bit more like “absolutely!” but you get the picture. Here at The Lighthouse, we offer endless catering possibilities. How? Well, because you get to choose exactly who you want to cater your event, so why not a food truck? Our Sales + Event Coordinator, Brittanie, highlights the pros of having a food truck catered event, and shares some planning tips for those of you wanting to step outside of the box.

Photo Courtesy of Taliliz Photography

Photo Courtesy of Taliliz Photography

While we LOVE the wide variety of our tried and true preferred catering vendors that we’re so grateful to work with, it goes without saying that we have some of the BEST food trucks right here in the Bay Area (we’re pretty spoiled). And who says you can’t mix it up and have two different caterers for your event? Perhaps a formal sit-down fully catered reception plus a food truck caterer during cocktail or after-hours. Remember what I said about endless possibilities?

Whether you’re planning a classy casual cocktail party or a formal sit-down soiree, food truck catered events are more popular than ever. Let’s take a look at some pros to this exciting wedding/event trend:


  • Cost – Cost is the first thing on the list because, let’s face it, food trucks tend to be very budget friendly. On average, one food truck can feed up to 75-100 guests, and costs can be negotiated anywhere from $15-$20 per person. A huge plus!
  • Variety – You get to choose the food you want and have it reflect the way you typically eat. It’s no surprise that more and more standing restaurants are offering food truck catering and it’s worth the research to see if your favorites offer it as well. Whether it’s a taco spot you enjoy, the restaurant you went to for your first date, or your favorite weekly pizzeria, you’re sure to find a food truck that will satisfy. Plus, with so many options, you can offer numerous trucks for varying taste buds during the party!
  • Options – just because they’re a food truck doesn’t mean the food has to be served from the truck. There are options when it comes to serving your guests. If you’re going for a more casual feel, you can have guests line up at the truck or have the food truck setup a buffet table with all of their specialties. For something more formal, you can hire servers who’ll run the food from the trucks to guest’s tables, or even have them passed out like hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour.

If you’ve got those creative juices flowing and are ready to plan a food truck catered event, I’ve compiled some tips to help you get started:

  • Space - Does the venue allow and have space for your food truck? Well, if your venue is The Lighthouse, then that answer is yes, of course! But if not, then you’ll definitely want to make sure of this first and foremost!
  • Plan ahead (but not too far ahead)– the key to booking food trucks for your event is to not inquire too early or too late. Generally speaking, if you book too early, you run the risk that they may forget about your event entirely and book a huge festival in its place. If you book too close to the date, you run the risk of them not being available. Try to inquire and book about 2-3 months out from your event date. If one truck is unavailable, usually you can find a replacement with a good enough lead time.
  • Think weather – this one’s important for two reasons. One, think seasonal offerings. If it’s summer, you may want to offer an ice cream truck or shaved ice cart; basically something that will keep your guests cool during cocktail hour. If it’s winter time, think hot chocolate stand. The second reason would be literally the weather – does the food truck offer an overhang, or a basket with umbrellas in case it rains? Do they have an awning for shade in the really hot months? Definitely something to consider.
  • Consider cuisine – do any of your guests have food allergies? Make sure your truck offers different options – vegetarian, vegan, nut-free, etc. Another cuisine consideration would be time of day – of course if your gig is in the afternoon, think lighter fare. But, if you’re going for late night snacks for your guests after they’ve had a little too much to drink, you may want to hire food trucks that offer burgers, fries, pizza, and any other greasy food you can think of to help soak up the alcohol.
  • Setup – really think about the placement of the food truck. If you’re having guests wait in line for their food, perhaps having a photo-booth or bar set up near the food truck will allow your guests to still enjoy the event while waiting.
Photo Courtesy of Taliliz Photography

Photo Courtesy of Taliliz Photography

Here are some other fun ideas:

  • Customization – Some trucks offer cool customization when you hire them (i.e., custom music list to be played from the truck, a place to put your event hashtag, personalized to-go boxes, changing names of dishes to represent the couple/family/friends) so be sure to ask if your preferred truck offers any of these.
  • Food Carts – carts are a great alternative to food trucks as they tend to be even less expensive than trucks! Additionally, carts can be wheeled indoors in some places and you can surprise your guests with that awesome gelato, creme brulee, or cotton candy cart for dessert!

What are you waiting for? We can’t wait to host your next food truck-catered event here at The Lighthouse!