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Preparing For Holiday Weekends & Big Events


Getting ready for a busy holiday weekend or huge event can be scary, to say the least. Millions of questions and “what if” scenarios run through your head as fear takes a mighty hold of you. The best way to chase away fear is simple: follow the Boy Scout Motto, Be Prepared. Here are my best tips to help you Be Prepared.


Prep Like a Pro

Do you remember your first big event? The excitement, the nerves, the endless list of things to do? Prepping for a big weekend doesn't have to be overwhelming if you break it down step by step. Start with these essentials:

  • Make Your Menu LEAN: Reduce the size of your menu and choose dishes that are crowd-pleasers and easy to prep, cook and assemble. Ensure you have all the necessary ingredients well in advance and locate a backup source just in case.

  • Batch Prep: Prepping ingredients in large batches can save you a ton of time during the event. Think about chopping veggies, marinating proteins, and pre-cooking and safely holding when possible. Depend on your Food Manager Certification, that’s why you took the class.

  • Organize Your Truck: A well-organized truck is a lifesaver. Make sure everything has its place and is easily accessible. Label containers and clean as you go. Hustling to serve your guests quickly becomes much easier in an organized and clean environment.


Stock Up Wisely

When it comes to purchasing, it’s all about finding the balance between having enough stock and not overbuying. Here's how to strike that balance:

  • Predict Demand: Use data from past events to estimate how much of each item you'll need. Consider factors like the event size and the weather. If this is your first event your service or cooking capacity are the limiting factors for purchasing. For example, if you can only cook 60 pounds of fries an hour and the event is 5 hours, there is no need to purchase 400 pounds of fries. Most likely you won’t even sell the capacity.

  • Bulk Buying: For high-demand items with long shelf life, consider buying in bulk to save money. But be careful with perishables—buy just enough to avoid waste.

  • Vendor Relationships: Maintain good relationships with your suppliers. They can often help you with last-minute needs or advice on trending products. I know one salesman that drove two hours to meet a vendor that had run out of funnel cake mix over the last 4th of July events.


Engage with Your Guests

The service aspect is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition and leave a lasting impression on your guests. Here’s how to make every interaction count:

  • Friendly Service: A smile and a warm greeting can go a long way, especially in the heat of summer. Train your staff to be friendly, attentive, and be the expert on your menu.

  • Efficient Ordering: Implement a system to streamline the ordering process. Whether it's a mobile POS, self-ordering kiosk, or a well-thought outside order taking process, efficiency is key.

  • Customer Feedback: Encourage feedback and reviews. It not only helps you improve but also shows guests you care about their experience.


Market Your Presence

Let people know where you'll be and what your menu will be for the event. It is your business let people know you exist! Marketing can make a huge difference:

  • Social Media Blitz: Use your social media channels to create buzz before the event. Share your menu, special deals, and your location. Do not depend on the event’s reach to market for you.

  • Eye-catching Signage: Make sure your truck is easily identifiable with clear, attractive signage. Your truck should stand out and draw people in.

  • Engage Onsite: While serving, engage with guests and folks walking by. If you are slow, sample food, get people tasting your creations.  Encourage them to share on their social media and use a specific hashtag.


Stay Adaptable

Lastly, no matter how much you prepare, Murphy is an unpaid employee, seemingly working everywhere that can wreak havoc. Expect things to go wrong. Staying adaptable is crucial:

  • Backup Plans: Have backup plans for key equipment, like an extra generator or a secondary cooking method. Where to get more supplies in a pinch and who is getting them.

  • Staffing Flexibility: Ensure your staff can handle multiple roles if needed. Cross-training can be a lifesaver during busy times, as well as having a pipeline of backup employees in case of no shows or call offs.

  • Problem-solving Mindset: Keep calm and focus on solutions when issues arise. A positive attitude can turn a potential disaster into a memorable guest experience.

There you have it, 5 little tips that will have a big impact on your success during the busy event season. Remember, it's all about planning, smart purchasing, engaging service, effective marketing, and staying adaptable.


About the Author

Bill Moore is the founder of Food Truck Training Group LLC, Executive Director of the National Street Food Vendors Association and a seasoned expert in the food truck industry with over four decades of experience. As a passionate advocate for food truck owners, Bill offers invaluable insights and practical advice through his podcast, "10-Minute Food Truck Training," and private Facebook group, "Food Truck Training." Bill is also the author of the popular books "Food Truck 101: Beginner to Winner" and "Food Truck 201: Get off the Truck." Through his dedicated coaching and training, Bill has helped countless food truck entrepreneurs achieve success and boost their profitability.


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