Written by Kon-Tiki Taco
As with many types of food and menus, better quality tacos generally cost more to make and serve. It begs a question: what are your guests worth?
Some of the finest events now feature tacos as the primary food and even event motif. That applies to corporate as well as family affairs (weddings, anniversaries, graduations, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, Quinceañeras, etc.). There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but suffice it to say those tacos have come a long way, baby.
Indeed, the taco was once a working class food typically sold by street vendors. Later, a fast food chain that introduced most Americans, Canadians and others to the food most typically associated with Mexican cuisine, largely sold tacos. But taco cart caterers have brought the wraps and their versatile fillings up to gourmet status, and it’s proven to be quite popular.
Gourmet tacos from taco catering companies that specialize in fiesta menus and themes have figured out that menu items and ingredients that include Caribbean carne asada, Jamaican chicken, grilled vegetables, seasoned/grilled tofu, and seasoned and grilled tilapia and shrimp all make for a delicious meal. These are not simply beans and rice in a tortilla shell. The service levels with mobile taco catering – where stations can be positioned at events that aren’t tied to kitchens (the carts are a type of self-contained kitchen) but which facilitate party flow and guest enjoyment – also are a huge advantage. They even open up event venues where no kitchen is available and a temporary tent-kitchen is financially prohibitive.
But to that point, gourmet tacos cost more than what one is accustomed to at casual-dining restaurants. Anyone who has had a gourmet taco from a food truck knows the prices can be double and triple what they paid elsewhere. Why such a steep difference in gourmet vs. average tacos? It largely boils down to four factors:
Labor/preparation – The marinades, salsas, hand-chopped vegetables and other prepping of ingredients is more labor-time consuming than that which is mass processed. This means the food is fresher – and local jobs are created.
Labor/service – Gourmet taco service is not a matter of four or five selections, reheated after being cooked and assembled hours or even days earlier. Each taco is made to order in front of the diner, using ingredient combinations that only that diner orders.
Ingredients – Fresh, often locally grown ingredients can be cost-competitive with frozen or shipped ingredients. But that’s generally when that product is in season in the region. Otherwise, those higher-quality ingredients will cost more because more effort (shipping primarily) is needed to procure them.
Presentation – Gourmet food deserves better quality accouterments. Even the margarita bar will have better tequilas and fresher citrus juices.
Is all this worth the price? Only the host and planner can answer that question. But suffice it to say that gourmet tacos are like a lot of things in life: you get what you pay for.