About this type of business
When the 2008 recession hit, eating out was harder to do and people needed cheaper ‘foodie’ alternatives. Thankfully there were some genius food-loving entrepreneurs who stepped in and provided a solution.
They created a new eating experience for British people. One that didn’t cost an arm and a leg but instead presented traditional burger vans with a new rival. Street food was born to give eaters quality, affordable and different fast food. And now it’s a multi-million pound industry. Want to be part of it?
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10 reasons you should start a street food business
1. You don’t need loads of money.
The low start-up costs of street food are pretty attractive right? A market stall or gazebo set up (including new equipment) can be put together for about £5000. It’s low cost and low risk.
2. You’re COOKING – all the time!
This is your chance to show the world what you can do. Whether it’s kimchi, barbecue or Korean that you love, starting a street food business is your yellow brick road of opportunity.
3. You can kiss goodbye to the office.
Feel like your current job isn’t enough? Want to be outside, watching customers delight in your dishes? Street food allows you to choose when and where you work.
4. You’ll become part of a family.
The street food family is amazing. Even though you’re really competitors, people look out for each other. Whether you’ve forgotten some kit or lost your tongs, your fellow traders will help you out.
5. You’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling in your belly.
As a trader, you’ll constantly be meeting your customers and getting feedback about your food. What other job will allow you to gauge how good your product is in just one mouthful?
6. You’ll be part of a trend that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Street food has already established itself in most of the UK’s biggest cities and the revolution is still growing. Some of the UK’s most popular eating hang-outs are street food markets these days.
7. The rents are reasonably low.
Rents for pitches at street food markets tend to be £30-£100 plus a percentage of takings per day. You shouldn’t break the bank with this approach as this sort of low investment rent is low risk.
8. You’ll get the opportunity for private work.
A combination of street food events and social media means that customers can find the perfect food for their private do’s these days. Established traders do several gigs a year.
9. You don’t get stuck.
Whether it’s tweaking a menu or altering where you work, changing things up is always doable. And if street food isn’t for you? You can simply recoup most of your small investment by selling up.
10. You can get plenty of help from the experts.
NCASS has been overseeing and aiding the street food trade since the start. We’ll give you pretty much everything you need to start up your street food business for a comparatively minuscule fee.
8 Reality Checks of Starting Up a Street Food Business
1. It’s probably not as easy as you think.
Running a street food business is physically challenging. Sometimes you’ll find yourself setting the alarm for 4am and getting to bed at midnight after a day’s cooking and lugging equipment around.
2. You won’t become a millionaire overnight.
You can earn good money from street food but it’s going to take time to develop your product, build up your customer base and get regular, profitable work. It’s a long game!
3. You will spend some time cursing the British weather.
Sadly there’ll be times when what should be a perfect pitch is an absolute let down because of the rain. This is Britain – there’s no getting around it.
4. The competition is growing.
The amount of pitches available hasn’t caught up with the growing demand just yet. Established street food markets are your best bet for regular trade but their waiting lists are pretty long.
5. It’s not like Chef; you can’t pull up and trade anywhere.
‘Street’ food is a bit of a misnomer really; you can’t actually just pull up and trade on any street. Pitches are pretty limited and street trading rules differ between local authority boundaries.
6. You’re going to have to increase your skillset.
You’ll be doing everything yourself: cooking, marketing, stock control, HR, social media, bookkeeping and so on. Get ready to learn new skills (and neglect any area of the business only at your peril).
7. Initial profits are going to be low.
You won’t be able to turn over huge amounts of covers, what with limited space for stock, short trading times and probably just a couple of pairs of hands limiting your opportunity for big profits.
8. One irresponsible trader could give the industry a bad name.
Among other things, a lack of HACCP understanding, unsafe gas installations and poor hygiene training could be the death of this industry. If consumers go off street food, you could be done for.