As with all types of business there are always pros and cons and a market stall or marquee based catering business is no exception
1) Cost – A market stall complete with sheets can be bought second hand for a few pounds, even a new one need cost no more than a few hundred pounds
2) Very versatile and can be expanded and contracted very easily and cheaply
3) Easy to transport in a van or a small trailer
1) A pain to set up and take down in bad weather
2) Most of these portable structures need level ground
3) You will need to provide flooring
4) Fire is a high risk and a lot of space can be lost as you cannot operate cooking equipment close to the walls
5) Gas installation and testing can be a problem
4) Hygiene issues are paramount at events and this type of installation always invokes a more in depth inspection compared to say a trailer
5) Marquees are much more expensive and have to be secured if high winds are a possibility
6) Hand hygiene is a problem
This type of trading is limited to mainly markets and outdoor events such as country shows and festivals. Unless of course, you go to the opposite end of the spectrum and have a large scale operation which is definately not for somebody just starting up in the industry.
Almost any type of catering can be carried out from this type of installation and good money can be made from them, but it is worth noting that most serious caterers in this sector use trailers and there is a reason for that, they are less hassle on nearly every front.
One of the biggest downfalls on this type of operation is probably the weather. Setting up and trying to keep everything and yourself clean and dry on a wet or cold day is not fun, especially if you are due to open as soon as you are set up, as you would on a market or small show.
In the cold you will of course get colder, in the wet you will of course likely get wetter, particularly your feet, which is an area of much concern for environmental health officers, mud and dirt means bacteria.
Having said all that, there are many that would not swap this kind of operation for anything else. With a market stall you are granted more freedom to move around, advertise your products with banners etc and you are in direct contact and height with your customer. A market stall with the right care can be made to look very appealing indeed to any would be customer.
Sometimes caterers use a combination of trailers, stalls and marquees, particularly for things like outdoor weddings and major events / festivals. The trailer being the kitchen, the marquee being the public area, and the stall being the drinks server. Basically anything’s possible and one very common use of the shelters is for BBQ’s and hog roasts and baked potato ovens.
If you are looking for Shows and events, there are thousands around the UK every year and if you want the contacts we can help, just take look at the Events Guide, we have published it every year for the past 19 years and have a good knowledge of who does what and where in the events industry.