Memorable experiences call for memorable food—and graduation parties are no exception.
Beyond serving as one of the most meaningful milestones in a person’s life, graduations also offer a great excuse to celebrate. And with so many great Bay Area graduation party catering options, there’s no need to be stuck in the kitchen. If you want to make it all the more memorable, a food truck graduation party is the way to go.
Here are 8 solid reasons why hosting a food truck graduation party is an insanely easy, festive and innovative way to mark the occasion.
Here’s Why You Should Host a Food Truck Graduation Party
#1) Food trucks get you into the great outdoors
With the weather warming up and safety in numbers still top of mind, catering an outdoor event is the best option. Bay Area mobile food vendors are mightily talented outdoor caterers. They also require fewer staff members than traditional restaurants, caterers and private event venues, further reducing exposure risks. Food truck employees don’t even need to enter your home, unlike conventional caterers and their staff. Many food trucks offer contactless ordering and payment, so if your guests will be paying for their grub, contactless is the way to go. If you’re footing the bill, you can also pay online.
#2) Food trucks offer countless location options
Food trucks can pull up and park just about anywhere in San Francisco, East Bay, Oakland and San Jose, which vastly increases your party location options. If the festivities are in your backyard, the truck (or trucks) can park in your driveway or on the street. If you live in an apartment or condo, you can usually reserve some outdoor patio space in your complex, and the truck can park nearby. Ditto for parks, neighborhood block parties, cul de sacs, indoor-outdoor dining rooms, scenic overlooks, ranches and outdoor special event spaces.
All you need is access to restrooms or portable toilets, which you can rent if your event location lacks facilities (or you don’t want people traipsing into your home). If you’re trying to use public space such as a park pavilion, check with the governing body about permits and potential fees. And don’t forget to look into private event spaces, since they can often be rented.
And if parking a truck in your perfect space isn’t possible, some mobile food vendors offer pop-up services. Instead of serving from a truck, they’ll set up a temporary serving and dining area and work their magic.
#3) Food trucks offer versatility in cuisine
Instead of having to pick specific dishes from a ho-hum catering menu or one type of cuisine like you would with a traditional catering service or restaurant, San Francisco mobile food vendors are masters of innovation. They offer an almost endless array of creative cuisine. Barbeque? Check. Caribbean, chicken wings, Chilean, Filipino, Indian, Hawaiian, Korean, Latin, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Peruvian, pizza, soul food, sushi, Thai, vegetarian? Check! These are just a few options.
(To give you an idea of the diverse offerings, check out Off the Grid’s list of food truck partners.) You can book more than one or have your vendor provide a buffet so your guests can sample various dishes.
#4) Food trucks allow time of day flexibility
If you want a morning graduation party, book a gourmet coffee, doughnut or acai bowl food truck. For midday lunch or midafternoon snacks, tacos, wings, sushi or sandwiches would be an excellent fit. For dinner, the field is wide open.
For the over-21 guests, you can even have cocktail vendors shaking and stirring fun adult beverages for a happy hour celebration! And don’t forget dessert—many food trucks dish up gelato, cupcakes, macarons, cakes, frozen custard and all sorts of delectable treats. You can always book more than one truck—for example, a dinner truck, drink truck and a dessert truck.
#5) Food trucks cater to all age levels
If your grads are experiencing their first graduation milestone, moving on from elementary or middle school, food trucks serving ice cream, doughnuts, churros, popsicles, cupcakes, smoothies or ice cream tacos (yes, this is a thing!) are sure to delight. High school students will happily nosh on pizza, tacos, wings, burgers, fried chicken or Philly cheesesteaks. For older grads, the sky’s the limit. If you have mixed ages, food trucks offer the versatility to make all ages happy. Let the young ones gorge on ice cream while the older ones enjoy savory international cuisine.
#6) Food trucks are no fuss and no mess
Often, as a host, we find ourselves frazzled and stressed in the days and hours leading up to a special occasion. We also don’t get to enjoy spending time with our guests during the event because we’re scrambling to feed everyone or overseeing the caterers—and let’s not even get into how long it takes to clean up after a party. With a food truck graduation party, you simply provide the outdoor space, and the truck arrives ready to feed your guests efficiently. You get to circulate, eat and watch your guests tuck into delicious food with no worries about your culinary talents (or lack thereof). And best of all? The mess drives away at the end!
#7) Food trucks won’t break your budget
Hosting a graduation party at a restaurant, event venue or even your home can get pricey quickly. Food truck pricing varies based on the number of guests, duration, cuisine and type of service, but typically costs less than a catering service, event venue or restaurant. If you’re footing the bill, your mobile food vendor(s) will usually build their proposal based on the number of people eating. If attendees are paying, vendors typically require a minimum sales amount ($600 to $1200 is an average minimum in the Bay Area). You’ll likely need to be responsible to make up the difference if the minimum isn’t met.
#8) Food trucks create memorable, festive, on-trend parties
Unlike in a traditional restaurant or sit-down catered meal, your party guests will be mingling and moving around, which automatically makes the event livelier. (If some guests don’t want to line up to order or pick up their food, many mobile food caterers will bring orders to wherever your guests are seated.)
The food truck trend has exploded in popularity in recent years, so your guests get to partake in a trendy gathering they won’t soon forget. You can jazz up your outdoor event space by hanging streamers, balloons and twinkling lights (No outlet? No problem—buy or rent battery-powered LED string lights). Add music and you’ve got yourself one festive event! And think beyond graduation parties—food trucks are here to stay and make excellent choices for birthday and anniversary parties, weddings, quinceaneras, bar and bat mitzvahs and pretty much any holiday or special occasion.
How to book a food truck party?
Typically, you’ll work with an event coordinator or event planning agency that specializes in mobile food vending in the Bay Area to take care of all your event needs. While you could do it piecemeal, you’ll have to deal with vetting vendors, locations, permitting, etc., on your own.
Event coordinators serve as a single point of contact who will help you determine your budget, plan your event, choose your truck (or trucks), track costs, set up decorations and seating, manage food safety and handle any permitting.
If you’re looking to host a memorable private party for your next event (including birthday parties, baby showers, anniversaries, holiday parties, team building or corporate events in the San Francisco Bay Area) Off the Grid is here to help. Our team has more than 10 years of experience creating full-service special occasions for our clients throughout the Bay Area. Contact us here to get started.
Byline: Lee Ridley