What two things do tacos, burgers, or pizza all have in common? They are all traditional food truck choices and they pair well with beer. Adding alcohol service to your food truck business can really add to your bottom line, especially if you often set up shop at festivals or near nightlife spots. The following tips can help you get set up and going with as few issues as possible.
Tip #1: Make a Choice
Chances are you don't want a full bar in the food truck. Bottles take up room, as do the accoutrements necessary for creating mixed drinks. Instead, opt for three or four beer choices. Pairing with a local microbrewery or two for some local fair that pairs well with your truck's signature food is a good choice. Most breweries are more than happy to provide a pairing list. At the most basic, you will likely need a pale wheat bear, a richer amber ale, and a light beer so you have options that appeal to the widest customer base. You may even want to add a fun flavored beer, such as alcoholic root beer or orange soda, if it pairs well with your food.
Tip #2: Get Your Permit
You will need an alcohol permit to sell beer. Find the local requirements for permitting a food truck in your area. Make sure you read all the rules, since having a permit may affect your business. For example, you may not be able to set up and sell in certain areas if you are serving alcohol. Or, you may still need to get additional permits to sell at one time events, such as at festivals. Also, your permit isn't usually transferable, so you will need to get permits in each city or state where you set up if you normally travel longer distances to attend food festivals.
Tip #3: Train Up Your Employees
For many areas, each server in your truck will also need a server's license. There may be special requirements to get this license, such as the server taking classes, a test, or being above the legal drinking age. Not all off your workers may be able to get the necessary license. In this case, you will need to make sure someone with a license is always on shift. While any server, licensed or not, can take the order for beer, only the one with the license can actually serve it. You will still need to train all employees, regardless of license status, the laws on checking ID and for knowing when a customer has had too much.
Tip #4: Install a Beer System
You don't want to go with bottles. Many locations, especially at festivals, outright ban glass containers because they can be dangerous and they create too much garbage. Instead, a draft beer system is the way to go. There are compact systems available that take up minimal space in food trucks. The system comes with the kegs, lines, and taps, so all you need to do is replace the kegs as they empty. Draft beer systems for sale in your area are also easy to switch out, so if you want to feature seasonal brews, for example, all you need to do is change the keg and relabel the tap each time you change your offerings.