Written by Kon-Tiki Taco
Companies have emerged from the Great Recession to host events for employees and customers once again. But the parties they throw are different – and better.
In the first few years following the financial crisis of 2008 there was a fairly predictable decline in the special event business. Where completely over-the-top extravaganzas had defined the nature of corporate events prior to that moment, the companies that were barely surviving the recession that followed were doing so on an austerity budget.
Perhaps what has emerged in the growth economy since gives evidence of how challenges beget creativity. Where once the fanciest and most expensive venue in Southern California might have been the 32nd floor penthouse of the AT&T Center, Club Nokia at L.A. LIVE, the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Vibiana or The Wiltern, SoCal event planners have been thinking outside the box – and outside the buildings.
And where they land often doesn’t have kitchens. This partially explains the ascendancy of mobile taco catering, the plug-and-play version of moving the feast to where the fiesta is. With mobile carts stationed around the event, event attendees can sample a bit of Caribbean carne asada here, some slow simmered carnitas there, perhaps even have seasoned and grilled tilapia alongside a mobile margarita bar.
Even if tequila at a business event might not be the choice of all – margarita bars are not for everyone – the universal appeal of tacos is part of what makes this effective. The lowly food of 19th century Mexican silver miners is now served in fine restaurants, from food trucks, tacquerias and in popular and festive restaurants coast to coast. West Coast taco catering firms have perfected the art of business event service that makes planning a breeze because the mobile taco catering carts are largely self-contained kitchens that make any picnic venue hospitable to large groups. Picnic events now are held at places such as Barnsdall Art Park (Los Feliz), Exposition Park Rose Garden (near USC) or Rocketship Park (Los Arboles Park, where Torrance and Palos Verdes estates meet).
The trend is consistent with what Successful Meetings magazine says define the quality business events of today. The magazine said in August 2015 that the following characteristics are what innovative companies are doing now:
- Unique and new venues: Leave the hotel ballrooms and go to sports and concert venues, private estates, and activity-based locations (e.g., whatever gets people out of their seats and interacting with each other).
- Décor venue transformation: Make the place yours. If you use mobile taco catering for food, the theme and decorations might be about expanding global markets.
- Sustainable, local and organic: The foods, the materials and the suppliers can help a company emphasize its commitment to environmental and social principles.
Taco catering is not the only way to achieve each of these ideals in event hosting. But it’s a pretty natural way to do it.