Mobile food and breweries have become almost as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly or burgers and fires. People love their local brewers, but many breweries don't have food options. So gourmet food trucks, trailers and breweries have built a symbiotic relationship that boosts business for both all while satisfying the masses. Selling at a brewery can bring tremendous sales to your food trailer, but it can be hard to get in if the brewery already has established relationships and food trailer schedules. Here are a few ways you can secure your spot and secure steady income by working with your local brewers.
1. Start early. Before those relationships and schedules are established, find out who is opening a brewery and where. Once you know, offer a private tasting to owners and staff. If they just leased the space they will be there around the clock to watch the build and help install their precious equipment. The workers and owners will surely be hungry. This is your opportunity to get to their heart through their stomach. Bring your A game and best menu for a private tasting and be firm in letting them know you want to be one or their "go to" food vendors. Try to get a formal or informal commitment to working together before too many other trailers do the same.
Depending on what state you are in, there is most likely public information available on liquor licenses and the address of the current or proposed brewery. In California the ABC has a public listing of license holders. Download the list, sort by your area, type of license, and date licensed issued. Then start calling and visiting your prospective brewery partners. Here is the link for California ABC license holders that is updated weekly!
2. Bring your own crowd. Breweries do a pretty good job of marketing and can get a crowd, but all businesses have slow days. Find out what the slow days are for your local brewery and offer to generate business for them using your existing following and marketing efforts. If you bring something to the table, they will be appreciative and may include you in their events and busy days if you solve a solution to help them on their slow ones...
3. Get creative. Come up with a dish or menu item that is custom to their brewery. For example, you can use their beer in a marinade and name the dish something after them... Not only are you supporting them by buying their beer, but you are promoting them by getting their name out to a wider audience. Ask for permission in advance ahead of time of course. This will give you the opportunity to talk to the owners and build a relationship before you get to the point of asking if you can serve at the brewery.
Many of our clients have already done some or all of the above and are capitalizing on brewery relationships, are you? The food trailer market is very competitive and in some areas saturated. These are the type of actions and activities you have to constantly think about to build your brand and business. We have has several clients a that built such strong relationships with breweries that they partnered to build a full restaurant within or next to the brewery. That may or not be a goal of yours, but it's just one more way to build your empire. Have tips to share with the community? Leave a comment below. For more information on how to grow and protect your business, please follow us on socials and reach out anytime!