Gourmet Food Trucks are the HOTTEST new trend in Fundraising
There are numerous ways you can use Gourmet Food Trucks as a fundraising opportunity for your non-profit organizations.
Gourmet Food Trucks can create a virtual “Turn Key” fundraiser for your school, church, or other charitable organization. They can also be incorporated into your existing events. A Food Truck event can be used as a one-time fundraiser or even function as an ongoing source of revenue for your group. Here are some examples:
- Incorporate them into your major sporting events such as homecomings, tournaments, playoffs etc.
- Serve a “Mobile Sunday Brunch” after church services.
- Utilize them to draw additional crowds to you existing carnivals.
- Create a weekly “Family Night Out” with family friendly movies and a variety of trucks.
- Include them at the finish line of your 10k’s, marathons or “Walk for a Cure” events
What you can expect from the Food Trucks:
The Food Trucks provide an increased level of excitement about your event. The cache that food trucks now have, make them a natural attraction for your event. Parents and others may be more interested in attending your event, simply because there will be food trucks there.
A number of trucks have large numbers of followers on social media. They may be able to attract some of them to your event but you should not plan on that or use it as the reason to include trucks. You can create marketing materials in digital format (posters etc.) and email them to the trucks. They can display the poster in their trucks and potentially send it on to their customer-base.
Food Trucks make for a very simple way to include attractive food for your event. No booths to worry about, no health department inspections and little or no cleanup afterwards.
What YOU need to provide:
In a fundraising situation, trucks will donate 10% of their sales (less sales tax) to the sponsoring non-profit.
To help you calculate your fundraising projections, an average truck meal is around $10. That means your organization makes in the neighborhood of $1.00 on each order. Now you can calculate how many customers you need to attract to make your goal. While the trucks have their individual followers, you should plan on attracting your target number of customers with your own efforts. Any followers that the trucks attract are just “icing on the cake”.
The number and type of trucks is determined by the volume of people you can attract to your event. Here are some “Rules of Thumb”.
- For a truck to have a successful event, they need to sell about 100 meals.
- Generally about 1/3 of all attendees will purchase something from the trucks (unless it is specifically a Food Truck Event, as opposed to an Open House, Carnival etc.) 300 planned participants = 100 truck customers.
- If you want to raise $500, you need to have about 1500 people at your event. (1500/3 = 500 meals @ $10 = $5000/10% = $500
Food Trucks make a wonderful addition to any event and, with their current popularity, they are a natural attraction for even larger crowds.
Basically, the trucks provide the food and you provide the crowd.
Do not expect the fact that you have Food Trucks at your event to attract a crowd by itself.
Get the word out as far in advance as possible! There are a number of simple and inexpensive ways to successfully promote your event:
- Word of Mouth – Talk it up to everyone you meet. Have all your volunteers do the same.
- Press releases to local media.
- Post your event on local community calendars (online and in local newspapers).
- Send flyers etc. home with students at local schools.
- Encourage local churches to mention your event at their services.
- Social Media. Email all your friends and encourage them to forward the email to their friends as well. Get your event out on Twitter, Facebook etc. Involve students and other youth. No one can spread the word faster than a teenager with a Smartphone.
SEATING: It is a good idea to set up tables, chairs so that the truck patrons can have a comfortable environment to enjoy their truck food. Depending on the season and the locae, you may want to consider umbrellas, outdoor heaters or tenting. No tables or chairs? Make it a picnic and encourage people to bring blankets and beach chairs.
TRASH: Make sure you have plenty of trash cans and liners available as well as volunteers assigned to see that they are emptied regularly.
Volunteers: Use students or other members of your organization to pick-up trash, direct parking etc.
It is best if you have someone assigned to collect the donations from the trucks at the end of the event and to issue tax-deductible receipts for their donations.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER
Food Trucks are first and foremost small businesses struggling to succeed in a difficult marketplace. It is of primary importance that they are successful at your event, not only for your fundraising efforts but for them to support their employees and families. Our priority will always be to ensure that the trucks make money. It is encumbant on you to ensure that the marketing, number of trucks, location etc. is designed to make sure the trucks have a profitable evening. Their success determines your success.