Now, my work kind of confines me to the southern California area (and even then, I can only go on days where I happen to have that day off, which is usually mid-week and thus limited), but in every single non-pinball, non-food convention or expo I’ve been to, and a LOT of various competitions, there is a swarm of food trucks outside, and they are always quite packed.
Yet whenever I hear about pinball events, and the ones I have been to, if food options are mentioned at all, they are always either in-facility, cooked by volunteers, or they’re restaurants that happen to be nearby.
Thinking about Arcade Expo made me think about that: When I went to Arcade Expo last year, I saw some people cooking hot dogs and hamburgers and such in the parking lot, and there were a few eateries within walking distance in the town. But I think, as the Arcade Expo facility does not internally have a cafeteria (or I never found one), and it’s in a town so small that options are limited without driving, I found it weird for there not to be even one food truck, despite Banning being within an hour’s drive from major cities that have whole fleets of food trucks. If there’s a gathering, and they’re informed far enough in advance, they’ll come. Cosplay Expo, this past November, was a one-day event with an attendance of about 100 people, and even that had seven food trucks lined up outside, and they also gathered crowds of customers from people who happened to be passing by.
Are food trucks just not that common in certain areas? Is the pinball audience not that interested in food trucks? Do other events have food trucks, but they’re just never mentioned by anyone? Are food options low-priority for organizers?
(For that last one, I know people who help run Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and they tell me food options are classified middle-priority. The LACC’s food is from Aramark, which nobody likes, and it’s hard to find walking-distance food otherwise, so they bring in about 30 food trucks to Anime Expo. I’ve seen some high-profile ones there too, like Nonna’s Kitchenette, Middle Feast, Slap Yo Mama, Ludo, Jogasaki, The Grilled Cheese Truck, India Jones, Belly Bombz, White Rabbit, Rounds, George’s Greek, Buttermilk, Le Beignet, and Phantom.)
I don’t mean any disrespect to the people grilling the food just outside or making food on the premises, but it seems kind of weird to see it. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that, and it made me think about how Pinball News talks about the banquet at Pinball Expo, or how I hear people walking to McDonald’s or Jack in the Box for Replay FX. I also don’t mean any disrespect to event organizers; I know their job is VERY tough and I’ve seen the year-long prep work for other events. It just leaves me scratching my head about the lack of food trucks.