Nammi, Rockstar Bakeshop, Ssahm, Zombie, Cajun Tailgators, The Butcher's Son, So-Cal Tacos, Eat Jo Dawgs, Easy Slider and making their DFW debut, Coolhaus set up in Downtown Frisco for a Food Truck and Live Music Festival, with music being provided by School of Rock.
The event started at 3:00 and I arrived right around that time, in order not to have to stand in long lines for Coolhaus. It was a good plan on my part, my wait was less than 10 minutes and I had a tasty ice cream sandwich in hand and I was off to see the rest of the event.
The event had been promoted as family friendly and people turned out, by the hundreds, with families and pets in tow. This could have been one of the best food truck events that we have seen in DFW, but for one very important thing; there was no room to move. The ten trucks and hundreds of attendees were crammed in to one city block. The trucks were set up so that two were in a very small parking lot to the side and the other 8 were on the street, nose to tail, 4 on each side of the street. Since this was not a major street, it was not wide and the end result was that lines criss-crossed, attendees were confused about which lines were for which truck and the lines all met up in the middle. Since this was a family friendly event, I had my toddler, in her small stroller with me. It was impossible to maneuver through the crowd with a stroller; with that many people that close together I couldn't let her out to walk either. I apologize to everyone's legs and heels I bruised as I tried to go from one end of the street to the other.
The food trucks were prepared for such large crowds, with most not running out of food until the very end. I had talked to several trucks in advance of the event and we all agreed that this could be the largest attended food truck event, to date. We all knew the number of people in Collin County begging for trucks. I am not sure the event planners understood this otherwise, they would have spread the trucks out over several blocks, to allow for more room. The end result was that as I was leaving, an hour after the event started, for the sole reason that I couldn't maneuver with my child, I talked to three different families, who were leaving, for the same reason. None of those people had eaten at any truck. I posted on Facebook, to try to gauge other attendees reactions and got the same feedback; people showed up and many left without ever trying the food, just because of the layout.
Overall, a great turn-out, Frisco proved that the trucks are in high demand in the northern suburbs and the trucks have taken note. Recommendations for the next event:
1. More Trucks. There could have been 3 - 5 more trucks, which would have shortened the line times for everyone, kept people from leaving and not had a significant impact to the volume each truck sold.
2. More Room. The standard is that each truck needs the equivalent of 3 parking spots, just to set up. This rule doesn't work well when the trucks are parked on both sides of a neighborhood street. Either have all the trucks on the same side of the street or space them so that they are staggered and the lines don't blend.
3. Change the Location. The people that I spoke to at the event suggested moving the event to Frisco Square. I recognize that one of the goals of this event was to bring attention to the downtown area and shops. For that reason, I recommend moving the event to Main Street, so that the foot traffic is directly in front of the store fronts. I would have liked to have visited the shops on Main Street but the traffic pattern was not conducive or encouraging of this.
4. Better estimate the potential number of attendees. I saw articles saying that the planners expected 500 - 1,000 attendees. There has not been an event of less than 1200 since the food trucks rolled in to DFW; especially when the trucks are in an area where they don't serve often. If the only advertising had been on my own Facebook and Twitter pages, the reach is 5,400 and I was only one of many promoting the event. The only way this event would have had 500 people was if it had rained on Saturday.
With these few minor changes, the next event in Frisco will be one of the best in the Metroplex.