Quick Tips: Local Food Trucks and Non-Dues Revenue

By Amy Drew Thompson

Want Unique? Ensure Authenticity

While some may balk at the idea of food trucks being unique, the trend has persisted for a good few years at this point. The New York Times recently reported that some hotels are even creating fake trucks to satisfy their event-based guests craving for good, local food.

There is no need for movie-set moves in cities like Austin, where the truck scene continues to roll with passion and some seriously good eats. Diversity and loads of adventurous local foodies mean there’s far more than good Texas BBQ (although, to be sure, there’s no shortage if that’s what you’re looking for) to serve at your next event.

Here are a few solid options that take catering gigs as seriously as they do music festivals and daily lunch drops at the local office parks:

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Rolling since 2012, this one features good ol’ Hill Country barbecue and loads of charm, courtesy of its vintage trailer. Smoke meats and craft sausages abound, along with some serious sides and scratch-made desserts – what else do you think landed this truck on Texas Monthly’s “Ten Best BBQ Joints in Texas” roster?

Wondering if they can handle your gig? Micklethwait is a veteran food purveyor of the Texas Book Festival and the ACL Music Fest. You’ll be in good hands.

Baton Creole

Okay, this adorable pink truck is a fixture (that means it doesn’t travel) in its East Sixth Street location, but you can contact them for full-service catering that will have your guests downing all manner of deliciously decadent Cajun creations from its Louisiana-born chef, including the Jambalaya Baton (essentially a whole bowl of the stuff, deep-fried and served on a stick)!

Gumbo, etouffee and other classics your group will crave are on the menu, as well. And Chef Linzy can cover your vegan and vegetarian attendees with ease.

Luke’s Inside Out

They blew Guy Fieri’s mind on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” and they can do that for your attendees, too, as long as you’re looking to take up space at Austin’s cozy Gibson Street Bar, because that’s where this mom-and-pop trailer operates. It’s upscale, but not, and it serves French-inspired sammies and shareable apps in a super unique space your partygoers will enjoy (plus, you’ve got your bar issues covered in one shot). Luke’s also does brunch. Austin visitors often opt in for some day drinking.

Song La

Taiwanese in Texas? You better believe it. Song La sits alongside the University of Texas campus, offering up authentic Taiwanese street food. Braised pork belly, chicken bites and veggie offerings abound. Plus, they cater! This is a musician-founded business that’s well connected within Austin’s vibrant scene, something planners may want to tap into. They do boba beverages, too – could be a bubbly learning opportunity for many of your guests.

ScADS of Income

Oh, the ads! We all find them invasive at times, but choosing good partners can not only help your association generate all kinds of non-dues revenue, but serve a vital role in bringing quality products and services to members while helping partner businesses reach their intended audience. Print, digital and native (a form of advertising that matches its environment, making it subtler to readers) are all viable and effective options.

Trade show and conference sponsorships are ideal ways to get your partners’ names and services out there – and you may find loads of takers from within your own organization, members eager to stand out, generate leads and create new business

Don’t forget the hype-building portion, too. Allowing businesses the opportunity to create excitement for their product or service in the same wave that your association uses to build excitement for the event. Social media posts (use your numbers to boost theirs) can be an incredibly effective way to build brand recognition ahead of time, ensuring members will be looking for that cool promotional swag when they arrive. Help your advertisers find their audience and, in doing so, line the coffers!

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