How to Find Food Trucks for Rent in New York

Written by: Blake Moore

New York may not be known for its food trucks right off the bat, but take a closer look and you’ll find that food trucks warm the bellies of many New Yorkers, day in and day out. There are many different cuisines to be found within the small kitchens of these mobile meals, each with their own proud chef. 

If you’ve never leased a food truck before, or even experienced the outstanding food cooked within one of these amazing mobile food stations, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll show you why you should rent a food truck for your next event, whether you’re a big brand or a brand-new company looking to make a statement.

Satisfying your hunger for a clean, delicious, and timely food truck in New York has never been easier. With the New York Food Truck Association (NYFTA), all you have to do is decide which of the 50-plus cuisines you want to include on your menu. We take care of all the rest, from food truck permits and licenses to ensuring your food truck is on-site, on-time, and on point.

The History of Food Trucks in New York

Serving food from a mobile station in New York dates all the way back to the 17th century. Oysters and clams were the delicacy of choice, but what began as a way to sell seafood certainly bloomed into one of the most lucrative business models on the streets of New York today. 

Between the years of 1892 and 1954, a total of 12 million or more immigrants made the historic journey to Ellis Island. With them, they brought an entire culinary culture vastly different than what native New Yorkers were used to. These immigrants struggled to make a living in the new world, but many of them found success in food vending on the streets. 

Before the time of automobiles, pushcarts were popular ways to operate a mobile business. Immigrants loaded up their delicacies on these pushcarts and walked the streets, enticing members with unique smells and sights. In the year 1929, there were over 6,000 pushcarts operating the streets of New York alone. 


Nypl Push Carts

However, in the 1930s and 40s, automobiles began to dominate the streets, pushing street food vendors to change their tactics. Automobiles were tangling with street vendors who weren’t paying attention. Plus, many people were beginning to think about a family car and taking day trips out of the city. The appeal of a pushcart food vendor began to fade a bit. 

Those that were able to adapt and overcome this historic transportation change soon found motored trucks they could use to vend their food. Many chose to work in the ice cream industry, especially since their main audience was children. You might be able to take a car out of the city and visit new places, but everyone has time (and an appetite) for a sweet treat like ice cream. 

Today, those same pushcarts that traveled the early days of streets in New York have evolved into the same food trucks you often see marketing their unique cuisine each day.

Who Can Rent a Food Truck?

Renting a food truck might seem like something a company does for their employees on occasion, but there’s more to food trucks than just special events. For example, there are many people who would benefit from renting a food truck, such as:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Schools
  • Companies large and small
  • Universities
  • Restaurants
  • Event coordinators
  • Individuals and/or couples

In fact, many people prefer food trucks to traditional options for their catered events. The stress of place settings, courses, fancy desserts, and suited-up waiters and waitresses can overwhelm an event, rather than feed it. Food trucks can provide a mobile option that’s flexible, so you’re not pinned down to one location for every event, no matter how busy your schedule. Plus, food truck permits and licenses regulate the industry so you can find a clean solution to a hungry staff. 

Why You Should Rent a Food Truck

There are many reasons why you might rent a food truck, the root of them found in saving money, time, and space. There’s also a certain novelty to a food truck that you just can’t get anywhere else. Isn’t that the reason why the ice cream was so popular?

Low-Cost Option

Food trucks are a great way to offer multiple cuisines at an event without having to pay for separate catering services. For example, hiring a food truck for a company party or annual get-together could cost you hundreds of dollars instead of thousands. With the kitchen confined within the food truck and all your guests relaxed with a more friendly and laid-back setting, cleaning up is as easy as putting out a trash can. Some food trucks even provide their own power, so you don’t even have to worry about paying a little extra for those hot ovens.

Clean Eating Experience

You might think that hiring a food truck can be similar to skating around local health laws regarding food preparation, but the opposite is true. Food truck rental companies often vet food truck permits and licenses before they offer a company on their menu. The cuisine served from a food truck must meet the same standards restaurants are held to, so members can be sure everything is on the up-and-up

Most people don’t realize that food trucks are typically equipped with enough cooked-to-order food to serve 100-150 guests. When prepared ahead of time, prepackaged meals can increase that number. This allows you to host a larger event without having to worry about a steeper price tag.

Adjustable Truck Rental Terms

Plus, you can choose between short- and long-term leases. Whether it’s a single one-time event or a month-long endeavor, food truck rentals have the food covered. Long-term leases typically last a month or more, whereas short-term leases can be as short as a few hours.     

Branded promotions are a common vehicle for food trucks as well. Realistically, any promotional event can leverage the mobility of a food truck to bring guests savory cuisines meant to enrich the eating experience. In fact, many full-fledged restaurants use food trucks to promote new items or inform members of a new menu altogether. Used in the right way, a food truck can have a huge impact on your business. 

In the end, food trucks can be a great way to bring people together, no matter why you’re gathering.

Rent with New York Food Truck Association

Preparing food is a personal thing, so don’t let just anyone connect you with food trucks. Here at NYFTA, we understand the challenges our members face when renting or leasing a food truck, and we’re here to help.

One of the most common hurdles to overcome when hiring a mobile meal solution are food truck permits and licenses. Food trucks are no different than restaurants in that they must be approved by the New York Department of Health in order to legally serve food, and we ensure that the options you have access to in our vast network are properly vetted and approved. 

Speaking of approval, we also happen to know how each menu tastes. In fact, there are over 50 cuisines to choose from in our gourmet food trucks, from cooks who pride themselves on clean eating that’s as delicious as it is fun. At NYFTA, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years to provide custom catering options to over 200 annual events. 

Customized Event Catering Options

NYFTA goes beyond just coordinating food truck permits and licenses. We also offer custom-tailored solutions, such as insurance paperwork and a point of sales system. 

In addition, we also offer our members the ability to customize their food truck as they see fit. For example, you can choose the menu based on your preferences, choosing from an array of local tacos & burritos, bbq, or even classic New York hot dogs. If you’re unsure of what will work best, speak with a member of our staff for guidance. 

We also offer branded goods and packaging so you can get your name out there in the best way. Looking to do a pop-up or experiential marketing event? We’ve got you covered with our full-service branding and activations alike.

When it comes to the food truck itself, we also allow you to customize the interior and exterior. We provide wrap services by working with your graphic designer to come up with the best use of your new mobile space. After all, as much as food truck catering provides meals to your members and clients, it’s also the perfect marketing space for your project. 

If mobile catering solutions are something your colleagues and clients—and their bellies—could use, go online or speak with one of our representatives today. You can also join our association for free to become a member and enjoy a number of perks, from social media advertising to working with local food truck owners in New York. We only work with food trucks who have earned an “A” rating from the New York Department of Health

Food Trucks for Rent in New York

There are many places where you can find a food truck for rent, but nobody does it like the New York Food Truck Association. We work directly with food truck business owners and event planners to align each of them with the best food trucks for their needs. 

Whether you’re planning a birthday party, wedding reception, or corporate event, NYFTA has your back. We work with local food truck owners in the New York area to bring you the best cuisine you never thought would show up on wheels. Trust us, your taste buds, staff, and members will thank you.

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