Not even done with this first roll-out, I’m keeping one eye on the next features, which will include support for events.
Before I go there, here’s how I view a “schedule” versus an “event.”
A schedule is managed by a mobile vendor. That is, if it up to the vendor to declare a date and time and a place and then eventually end up there.
To support this, FoodTruckYP enables schedules to be added and edited as recurring calendar items, and each individual entry can be marked as canceled, etc. In other words, free reign, the idea being we keep the customers and the vendors on the same page.
An event is managed by someone else. That someone else may be a mobile vendor, may be an event organizer or coordinator, or it may be someone who has taken on that latter role but who isn’t really an event coordinator.
More specifically, here are the usage scenarios:
- A formal, promoted, pay-to-participate event organized and executed by some entity that oversees who is invited, who attends, who is late, gross receipt percentages, etc.
- A less-formal fund-raiser event or similar, sometimes organized by a coordinator, other times coordinated in a more-or-less ad-hoc fashion, perhaps by one or more of the participating vendors.
- A periodic event in an company parking lot or similar, where the event is coordinated by an office manager or other individuals who are not necessarily focused on mobile food vendors.
All of these events are presumed to be recurring, though they may not be.
We assume for events that the final decision as to which vendors are invited and will attend is not up to the vendor, but up to the vendor and the coordinator(s) of the event (and possibly not in that order).
At the end of the day, the goal is to make sure mobile customers (even if they’re at work, at some point they get to stand up and venture forth to locate and patronize mobile food vendors) can find their favorites as well as vendors in the area, and sometimes those vendors are serving lunch or dinner at a periodic company parking lot location, other times at a mid-day promotional event for recreational vehicles, other times at a formally-organized lunch or dinner gathering in a nearby (or not-so-nearby) venue.
As long as the events are accessible to the public (not private, and ideally not requiring paid admission, though we’re making that a 3-way distinction), they should appear right along side individual schedule items, and that’s are approach.
One of interesting things to note here, though… except for the first case, where there is a formal, organized effort to coordinate and oversee gatherings (surely there are some near you, in my case we have MVBL Feast, Edgewood Eats, Off the Grid, Eat StreEat, and others), these events are sometimes under-represented in media and online in general because often there is no website setup as a landing spot for them.
The typical approach seems to be to place mentions on Facebook pages, have the participating trucks do the same, have them tweet, and then hope for the best.
One of the goals, then, is to make that work better, while enabling ad-hoc and more formalized events to be coordinated and promoted by those who may not have the time, the inclination (office managers, we love you, but you’re not focused on promoting the vendors…), or perhaps any idea what to do.
It’s on the list…