Food trucks provide fast, flavorful, and affordable meals. They’re an ideal way to feed hundreds of people at once, whether you’re hosting a birthday party or planning a corporate retreat. You may be wondering, “How much does it cost for a food truck to cater?” Here are the answers you need to make the most of your next event.
Establish a Minimum Price
Before we delve into prices, remember that every food truck charges different rates, so costs will vary. Living in a city like Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., will inherently cost you more because each has a high price of living. Our numbers serve as a rough estimate.
Many food trucks charge a minimum price of $500, including tax. That covers a predetermined number of people and servings. The vendor will also incorporate labor, preparation time, and travel expenses into the billing.
Billing prices may vary based on the date. Vendors are busier during the summer, so minimum bids may increase. The same goes for holidays and other special events. Food trucks set these minimums because producing and transporting large quantities of food gets expensive quickly, especially without a guaranteed number of people.
Factor in Cuisine Type
All cuisines aren’t equal, at least when it comes to price. Serving burgers and fries present a more cost-effective option than farm-to-table salads. The salad ingredients are more expensive to grow and purchase, and food trucks pass those expenses on to the customer in the form of pricing.
Ice cream trucks are one of the most affordable catering options. The average meal costs $5 to $10 per person, with rental minimums ranging from $400 to $800 and up. Here are some of the other catering prices you can expect:
- Tacos and burritos – $10 to $18 per person with a minimum cost of $900+
- Barbecue – $10 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
- Burgers – $12 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
- Pizza – $12 to $20 per person with a minimum cost of $1,000+
- Lobster – $18 to $25 per person with a minimum cost of $1,200+
The cost per person typically includes side dishes, such as refried beans, grilled corn, and coleslaw. It may not include dessert or drinks, which cost an extra $1 to $5 per person. Note that the more people you have attending an event, the lower the price per person.
Price Hikes for Weddings
Weddings are expensive, with the average couple paying $33,900 to tie the knot, according to TheKnot.com. Part of the reason weddings are pricey is the “wedding tax” phenomenon. Photographers, caterers, wedding planners, and other service providers charge more at wedding events since couples typically spend with less discretion.
Food trucks tend to be more expensive at weddings than at regular events because of the logistical complexity. Catering with a food truck can save money, though. The average food truck charges $25 to $35 per guest, while traditional caterers charge around $70 per person for weddings.
Evaluate the Location
Your event’s location can result in additional charges. Food trucks may have to pay for permitting, zoning, or parking if they’re using public space. If you plan to host your event on private property, the operators may need a tent or pop-up to accommodate patrons.
Most food trucks charge a minimum fee, starting at $500, for catering. You should have at least 50 attendees to disperse the costs evenly and potentially lower the overall price per dish per person. If you’re ready to book a food truck to cater an event, choose from the many listed on our site!