In the past, summertime memories always included the jingle of the ice cream truck making its way through the neighborhood. On any given summer night, that sound was soon followed by the screams of children in the neighborhood with money in hand. To a kid, that truck was a dream come true on wheels.
I don’t hear that ice cream truck jingle as much today. Over the years our palates have become more sophisticated as we flock to specialty shops for handmade ice cream with a plethora of flavors and condiments. Even the offerings at supermarkets have been elevated making it easier to sample the more exotic flavors.
There is, however, a different truck roaming the streets today. It’s a part of the foodie explosion offering internationally inspired street cuisine. These vehicles of sustenance offer everything from burgers and hot dogs to foie gras and caviar. The familiar jingle of the old ice cream truck has been replaced with mobile applications the hungry can use to locate a truck, look at a menu, and peruse reviews before venturing out for instant gratification.
Food trucks have also become the new fashion for meetings and events. A ‘food pod’ of sorts can be created offering guests a culinary experience. Food trucks are more than just an attraction – while their primary function is to prepare and serve food, they are also great props and uniquely entertaining.
HMI partnered with a client to plan a meeting in Atlanta. A community day was planned and attendees were assigned to help with several projects throughout the city. At lunchtime, the mobile kitchens of The Varsity offering their famous chili, slaw dogs, fries, onion rings and fried peach pies visited attendees. The experience was completed by cooks shouting their trademark, “What’ll ya have”! It was a fun way to present lunch and was an unforgettable experience for our attendees who had volunteered their time.
At another meeting, on the final day of the program, instead of providing the typical grab ‘n go boxed lunch, our client surprised meeting attendees by taking them out to lunch. Attendees were guided from the closing general session to the sidewalk outside the hotel where food trucks awaited. Tacos made to order with all of the fixins’, grilled cheese and tomato soup – and even one truck devoted to cupcakes! Attendees eagerly lined up to place their orders. It was a delicious success! Interestingly, many of the high-end hotels have jumped on the ‘food truck’ craze. Executive chefs have added a little whimsy and turned some of their banquet menus mobile. It’s a great change of pace to the usual self-serve buffet lines. Some hotels are offering food truck lunches for meetings and conventions. The hotel will contact local food trucks based on client preferences, number of attendees, and budget. The food trucks arrive to serve at the designated time and voilà – a lunchtime event! There is a fee to host a food truck but it’s generally comparable to the cost of a buffet-style lunch at the hotel.
As you can see, food trucks are a unique and unexpected way to add character and interest to any event. Making your experience one to remember is sure to leave an impact on your attendees. Contact HMI to see how we can help turn your meeting or event into a lasting memory!
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