The summer is well known for numerous outdoor events and activities such as weddings, picnics, and corporate events. Food truck business owners can take advantage of these outdoor events by adding outside catering to their portfolio.
Incorporating outdoor catering requires proper planning to ensure success. It also requires equipment, labor, and capital investments and the right location to serve your food. This blog will offer food truck owners the main tips for getting started with catering.
Learn the Zoning Ordinances and Acquire the Vital Permits
The last thing you wish for your new outdoor catering venture is to get slapped with a licensing or permit fee right off the bat. Make sure to do thorough research and identify catering business licenses and permits required at your city, county, and state levels. Typically, the restaurant and catering industry falls outside of federal regulations.
Catering business licenses and permits may differ from state to state and by local ordinances in your city or county. This means that the location of your catering business plays a significant role in the type of business permits, licenses, and corresponding fees required to run. Also, it would be best if you never forgot to renew your permits, licenses, and insurance policies to avoid fines from the local authorities.
Visit the Location of the Venue in Advance
Before planning your outdoor catering setup, it is essential first to visit the venue’s location to have a glimpse of the layout. This will help you decide on the essential equipment you will need. You will also be able to learn about other important site details, such as the terrain, power availability, and light levels. If you cannot visit the site before the event, contact the venue representatives and inquire about the above details or any other thing you need clarification for easy planning.
Finally, after getting familiar with the venue, it is essential to plan ahead for the logistics of transporting your food and equipment to the event location. When catering for large events, you may be required to hire a larger vehicle to transport your equipment.
Acquire Outside Catering Equipment
When serving an outdoor event, there are specific essential catering equipment you will consistently use. Typically, the equipment depends on the outdoor event. Some of the vital equipment include:
- Table settings: Napkins, glassware, flatware, tablecloths, flatware, and dinnerware
- Disposable catering equipment: Aluminum foil, paper napkins, plastic cutlery, foil pans, and plastic drinkware
- Portable cooking equipment: Outdoor grills and portable gas ranges
- Liquid propane or natural gas for cooking
- Serving equipment: Serving trays, chafer fuel, serving utensils, tray stands, and chafers
- Furniture and seating: Tents, bars, benches, folding tables, and folding chairs
Customize Your Catering Menu
It is important to evaluate the type of food or menu items that you will be selling at the catering events. Some factors that can help you define your catering menu include the attendees’ demographic, the event’s size, and special dietary restrictions you may need to add. After customizing your menu, you can also develop a pricing strategy based on food costs, labor costs, overhead expenses, and the time needed to prepare the food.
Expanding Your Food Truck Business
It is no secret that adding outside catering to your food truck business model enhances its growth and expands your revenue streams. At Legion Food Truck, we can design a food truck customized to your catering business needs and also help you acquire the required licenses and permits. Get in touch today to learn more!