It’s hard to go to a brewery nowadays without seeing a food truck or two parked outside with a line of customers. We wondered: What is it about mobile eats and brews that draws such a crowd? We chatted with a few breweries that have food trucks at their locations on a regular basis to see what sparked these collaborations and how this movement has benefited their breweries.
Owner of Combustion Brewery & Taproom in Pickerington, Ohio
There are so many good food trucks in Columbus [Ohio], so inviting food trucks to park outside of our taproom on busy nights seemed like a win for us, the food trucks, and our customers. We essentially have a rotating food menu. With each unique food truck at our brewery, our customers can enjoy a different meal with each visit, or plan to come when they know their favorite food trucks will be here. We try to keep our beer menu fresh and exciting, and we like that rotating food trucks can offer the same. We also enjoy the benefit of shared marketing — we get to offer a bigger menu without managing a restaurant.
The spirit of the food truck movement is similar to the craft brewing movement in that it’s full of passionate business owners and chefs getting their amazing food to people in a new way. Our businesses create a synergy because of that shared spirit. Our customers can sense that energy and it really gets people excited about going out to have a beer while enjoying some great food in a fun atmosphere. It’s a new and exciting way to go out and socialize, offering something different than the traditional bar or restaurant experience.
Events coordinator at Jackalope Brewing Co. in Nashville, Tenn.
Jackalope’s focus has always been craft beer. This led us to finding different options for food — whether it be from a caterer or a food truck. Craft breweries and local food trucks both share a mission of creating community and culture through what we do. Creating a partnership allows us to expose more people to both of these crafts. Food trucks often have great supporters who will come out to whatever location just to have a bite. This isn’t far off from those who are fans of a specific brewery. Who wouldn’t want their favorite food and beer in one place? By working with multiple food trucks, we’re able to offer an eclectic variety of food, from burgers to pad Thai, without feeling stagnant with a set menu.
Patrons will hang out a little longer [if there’s a food truck]. I think it’s important to be able to offer a more substantial meal while guests are drinking. After having a bite, they’ll continue to enjoy more pints and play a little shuffleboard on our patio. The no-fuss of hiring a food truck is definitely worth it.
Manager of Trophy Brewing Co. in Raleigh, N.C.
Our second location [on Maywood] has a small taproom, but no kitchen. Food trucks seemed like a perfect solution to providing food for our customers during meal times. One of the things we love about having food trucks is just the amazing variety of food concepts. With a different truck every day of the week, customers always have something new to choose from, ranging from BBQ to tacos to steamed bao buns. A lot of the food trucks have their own loyal followings which helps bring out a crowd and introduces more people to the Trophy brand.
We definitely see more business when we have a food truck — guests typically stay longer when we have one onsite. When we don’t have a truck during meal times, customers tend to have one or two beers and then leave, whereas when we have a truck, guests will stay for a few hours and call their friends to join them. I know a lot of our regulars look at our food truck schedule every week to decide which days to come to Trophy based on their favorite trucks! [Partnering with food trucks] also allows us to establish good relationships with local restaurant owners and get Trophy beer on tap in those establishments.
Holly Edwards is Gather‘s content marketing specialist. She works on blog posts, social media content and thought leadership pieces that help restaurants and other venues streamline their planning process and host successful events.