About this type of business

The jacket potato first hit the fast-food scene in the early 1980s, after which mobile caterers selling the food type became a staple on the British high street. Companies such as Spudulike subsequently caught on to the mass appeal of the baked spud and opened fixed retail sites up and down the country.

The emergence of jacket potato food outlets were initially met with skepticism, though this quickly dissipated in light of their success. Fast forward to present day and the humble spud remains a firm favourite amongst hungry punters looking for wholesome, versatile, wallet friendly food.

The Main Advantages of a Jacket Potato Business:

Readily available

Potatoes remain one of the most readily available sources of food and can be grown, bought and cooked en masse! They are also easy to prepare and can be pre-cooked and simply heated before purchase.


Their mass availability also means that they remain one of the more affordable ventures for mobile caterers. Savings made by traders also stand to benefit the customer – thus hopefully encouraging custom. The fact that several potatoes can be cooked at once not only reduces energy costs but also ensures that you can easily serve all of your customers in periods of high demand; time is a key consideration for busy workers at lunch times, meaning that this gives baked potato vendors a potential advantage over competitors.

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The Main Disadvantages of a Jacket Potato Business:

The Prep Work 

As with starting any business, it is important that you plan ahead and do the important ground work to ensure that your new jacket potato business is off to the best start.  

Legal Requirements  

Join NCASS and ensure that you are compliant with Food Safety, Fire Safety and Health & Safety requirements. This will help you to make sure that you are running your business legally and safely. Utilise your member discount to train your staff where appropriate in food safety, HACCP and allergen awareness etc. Use the NCASS Safety Management System (SMS) to compile and store all necessary paperwork such as risk assessments and your Daily Diary.  

Register your business name and obtain any necessary licenses required by your local authority. Take out liability insurance and make sure you have the correct level of cover for what you are doing and where you are located. 

Research and Planning  

Thorough market research is imperative to understand the current market and plan the trajectory of your business. When conducting market research pay particular attention to competitors, the target market, staffing and equipment needs and the overall demand for jacket potatoes in your area. Use this research to develop a business plan that outlines your concept, target market, menu offerings, pricing, marketing plan and financial projections. Don’t underestimate the importance of researching your location. Find a pitch or get onto events in suitable locations where foot traffic will be beneficial to your business. Consider parking availability, visibility and proximity to your target market and competitors as these will all have a notable impact on your business. Also take the time to determine whether you want to operate as a food truck, a bricks and mortar location or a catering service.  

Menu Development  

Create a menu featuring a variety of jacket potato toppings. Include the classics, but don’t be afraid to introduce creative toppings and experiment with different potato varieties and cooking methods to offer deliciously unique options.  


Invest in commercial-grade kitchen equipment such as potato ovens. Ensure that anything you buy is CE, UKCA or UNKI marked and remember just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean that it will work well or to the standard that you need it to.  


Train your employees on food safety practices, customer service and the importance of cleanliness in the kitchen and dining area. This is integral to maintaining high standards of food quality, service and cleanliness across your business. Not only will this bolster customer satisfaction it will secure repeat business from returning customers.   

Marketing and Promotion  

Utilise social media, local advertising and promotions to build awareness of your business and what you have to offer. Use this time to showcase your USPs encouraging people to come and visit you. Offer specials, discounts and a loyalty program to incentivise people to both visit you for the first time and to keep coming back.  

The British public love a good jacket potato and engaging with this nostalgic fan favourite can make for a lucrative business model. Whilst there is no secret short cut to success here, NCASS member Ben Newman a.k.a The Spud Man is proof of the endless possibilities of a hearty spud through hard work and creative thinking. Read more about The Spud Man and his innovative success on TikTok here.


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