Today’s guest post is from Louise M. Felsher, director of marketing and events at Treasure Island Wines, which recently hosted a food truck event. Treasure Island Wines was recently recognized with the Regional Award of Merit for Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences from Great Wine Capitals Global Network and Legendary Napa Valley.

Gourmet food trucks are sizzling hot and just getting hotter, but the rules (and etiquette) of rolling gastronomy are multifaceted when you assimilate them into your events.

If you think you can just have them drive up and serve, you may incur multiple burned bridges and fuming attendees (not to mention fines).

Steer clear of serious “truck-ups” with the best practices below. This movable feast insight includes tips from food truck oracles Lorring Jones, CEO and Jill Horn, CFO of The Mobile Gourmet in California.


Following through on logistics, such as providing an eating area and seating, is essential to a good food truck experience.

Permits vary by state, county and city. The cost for temporary permits is about $75-$95 for a single event. Always confirm with you local city permitting office, but the following are typically required:

  • A commissary agreement
  • A ServSafe food safety certificate
  • A Health Permit from the county, which follows an inspection to confirm that the truck’s equipment operates properly and meets all requirements
  • DMV Registration
  • Liability Insurance
  • A certificate from the State Department of Housing and Community Development

Note: Many cities have ordinances that food trucks must move every thirty minutes if they are parked on a public space, whether it is a city parking lot or the street. While the police do not go out of the way to enforce the restriction, other food trucks may call and complain.


Many factors can alter this ratio, but most trucks want at least 200 guests per two to four hour event per truck. The biggest complaint with food trucks are that the line is too long or that the trucks run out of food.


Protocol with regard to the portable epicurean is where most amateurs get curbed.

Trucks live and die by their social/digital reputations and public demand. You need to be ultra sensitive to this with regard to care and handling and pairing.

When in doubt, consult professionals like The Mobile Gourmet or Off the Grid.



  • Disregarding the law and/or common courtesies
  • Not collaborating/ leveraging the UberTruck “cult status” via Twitter and other social media
  • Attempting to apply conventional catering parameters
  • Circumventing professional Food Truck organizers
  • Not having detailed plan in place for PR and compensation (to organizers and trucks). Will you guarantee revenues? Will attendees pay on own?
  • Not having enough attendees per truck/misleading trucks on logistics/parameters
  • Wrong cuisine or price point for audience
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