Creating Event Experiences: Food Truck Program

In February, ESPA hosted a webinar on Creating Event Experiences featuring Amanda Bonvechio, CMP, CSEP, Director, Convention & Event Experience, Destination Cleveland. A hot topic during that session was on a Food Truck program offered in Cleveland called the CLE Meet & Eat. There were so many questions from our audience that we ran out of time, so here we continue some of that Q&A with Amanda for the benefit of all of our members.

Q: Do the food trucks require a flat fee to show up for the lunch hour? Or do they allow the conference/group to pay the bill at the end?
A: No, the food trucks do not require a flat fee to show up, however Destination Cleveland obtains their food minimum costs prior to the event and budgets extra funds to pay the difference of what money they make during the event and their food minimum. Most times, the trucks make over their minimums.

We have done payment both ways where the attendees pay for their own and where the planner sponsors the event and pays at the end. As long as the food truck is notified prior to the event about how and when they will get paid (in writing), they are good with both ways.

Q: How close is your convention center to restaurants? Does the truck program impact fixed restaurants?
A: Our convention center is close to restaurants, however they are on the higher end and wouldn’t be considered for a quick, inexpensive option for a breakfast or lunch. Therefore, the program doesn’t impact those restaurants as they wouldn’t have been utilized without it.

It is also important to note that we do not want to displace potential revenue from the convention center caterer or impact any F&B minimums that are contracted. Therefore, we wouldn’t offer, or agree to, this service if those factors were impacted by the program unless the planner and caterer came to a mutually beneficial agreement prior to the event.

Q: What are the costs associated with the Food Truck program besides permits, picnic tables, electricity access?
A: – Food Truck Minimums – No matter how the food trucks are paid (prior to event by planner, at the time-of-sale by the attendee, etc., Destination Cleveland will make up the difference if their minimum to participate is not meant. For example, if the food truck has a minimum of $2,000 per day to participate, yet they only make $1,350 during the event, Destination Cleveland will pay the food truck the difference of $650 post-event. This is to ensure that the food truck will show up to the event day.

– Waste Management – Destination Cleveland will also obtain and pay for waste management services to include trash and recycle receptacles, set up, onsite trash removal and clean-up post-event.

– Possible Entertainment – for certain groups, we will also provide live entertainment to enhance the experience.

– Security – The City of Cleveland requires security to block traffic to the closed street, as well as to observe during the event.

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