So You're Going to a What the Truck?! Event…

Now that we’re in our third season of What the Truck?!, we’d like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about how best to navigate our way through the crowds and have as much fun as possible at food truck festivals. However, we’ve all been newbies at one point, so in order to help ease the shock and let you get the full experience, here are some tips and tricks from our team and the folks who have shared their feedback with us over the years.

Follow these steps, and you’re golden:

10. Make it a group outing. Talk to your friends about who else wants to have a good time, and get your posse together for the event. The best experiences are ones that you can share with the ones you love, right? This will also help you for some of the other recommended steps.

9. RSVP to the Facebook Event. If you were going to have a party, wouldn’t you want to know how many of your friends were going so that you could pick up enough pop and chips? It sounds pretty trivial, but we actually do pay attention to how quickly the event attendance is climbing, and do our best to prepare for the number of people who are going. If you tell us we’re going and we’re WAY under-prepared, we’ll be able to warn the trucks to have more servings on hand, or book a few extra if we can.

8. Read the menus on http://www.whatthetruck.ca/. You’ve seen the pictures of the crowds, don’t leave this to chance. Read the menus, wipe the saliva from your chin and figure out what you think you want to eat and make a game plan. Which lines should you be in, and at what time? We heard from attendees at the 104th Street event (with the longest lines we’ve ever had) who managed to eat at FOUR different trucks AND leave the event before the halfway point. Failure to plan is planning to fail.

7. Arm yourself with the tools you need. Cash in your wallet? Check. Phone charged? Check. What about weather-appropriate clothes, comfortable shoes or a blanket to sit on? These items can be the difference between a good experience and a great experience. We’ve also seen some pretty clever reusable grocery box-bags in hand for holding multiple food items in a flat surface, or some attendees who bring reusable containers with lids.

6. Divide and conquer. Between you and your friends, figure out which trucks everyone wants to eat at, divvy up the cash and orders in pairs or smaller groups, and pick a meeting point to bring the grub back to.

5. Be patient and friendly. It’s busy, it’s crowded, it’s loud. We don’t like long line-ups either, but what really sours the experience for everyone is the guy or gal in the lineup who is constantly remarking at how they can’t believe they have to wait in a line. Kindness is totally contagious, so if it looks like the person in front or behind you is also a little tired from standing in line, don’t be afraid to be friendly. Chances are pretty good you’ve got something in common – after all, you’re both in line for the same good food!

4. When it’s your turn to order, order and then move out of the way. Especially if the line was long, a quick way to undo all the friendly gestures you made to your line-mates is to spend 5 minutes at the till changing your mind at the last minute, or staying in front of the next person after you have ordered. After the trucks take your order, step to the side; they’ll call you when your food is ready.

3. Reconvene at agreed-upon meeting place, and enjoy your food. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for – go on, take a bite!

2. Clean up after yourselves. It seems silly to say this, but garbage belongs in the garbage. There are strategically-placed garbage bins around the event grounds, but our volunteers still spend a great deal of time at the end of the events picking up stray trash on the ground. We want to leave the area the same way (or better) than we found it so that different areas are happy to have us back again (and consequently, more events for you to attend later), so please do what you can to help us do that!

1. Show and tell us about the event! We want to know how the event went for you so that we can make any changes necessary to make future events better – your feedback is important to us! Whether it’s tweeting a picture of your food to us, filling out our questionnaires, or sending us a message on Facebook, we appreciate you taking the time to come to our events and want to keep having them in the future, and your two cents (or five, if you want to round up for the lack of pennies) is important to keep the cycle going.

Looking for more? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

A Word About Line-Ups

Just like trying to use the washrooms at Rexall Place during intermission at a hockey game, line-ups are an inevitable part of What the Truck?! events. If you love pork belly sandwiches and coconut BLT wraps, you aren’t alone (we do too!) – but this means that there will be many more like-minded folk who share your good taste in deep fried pickles and smoked mac & cheese. Each truck has their own system to get through the line-ups as quickly as possible, but you wouldn’t want them to sacrifice the quality of their food to set the landspeed record for assembling a poutine, would you? We’ll do our best to schedule as many trucks as we can for each event to handle the estimated number of attendees, but if your line-up is a little bit longer than you had anticipated, all we can ask is that you bring a nearly in-human amount of patience – there’s light at the end of the tunnel (and boy, does it taste good)!

Do you have any tips or tricks that you think we should share with new attendees? Let us know in the comments below!

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