Mobile food businesses have grown in popularity in recent years. No longer are the British public limited to simple burger vans and ice-cream trucks, thanks to the explosion of “street food”, it is now possible to have cuisine from all around the world available in your local town. Street food offers quality, affordable, and most importantly, different fast food.
A mobile food business can be a fun entrepreneurial venture. But it’s not as easy as simply purchasing a food truck and firing up the grill. Are you thinking about taking on Britain’s street food scene? If you plan your mobile food business properly, you could be on your way to street food success.
Why are mobile street food businesses so popular?
Mobile street food businesses have exploded in popularity over the last decade. Some of the biggest reasons that are driving this popularity include:
- Less intimidating than investing in a bricks-and-mortar business.
- Lower start-up costs compared to a bricks-and-mortar business.
- Flexibility when it comes to the business location.
- Flexibility when it comes to the types of cuisine.
- Flexibility when it comes to business operating hours.
Ultimately, starting a mobile street food business offers one of the most realistic chances to start your own business for a reasonable investment.
Figuring out the basics of your street food business
Costs – There are fewer start-up costs when starting a mobile catering business compared to a typical restaurant business. A mobile street food business can startup with minimal financial investment. Starting small, serving street food at local markets and events, then as experience and confidence grows, opportunities will increase and the business can expand.
Equipment & Space – When considering how much space you will need to run your street food business efficiently, you will need to think about room to store, prep, cook and serve your food. Do you need a grill or deep fat fryer? Perhaps you’ll be serving milkshakes or smoothies and don’t need to cook at all, but what about refrigeration? Will you have access to an external power source to power all of your kitchen equipment? Or will you also need a generator? Whatever equipment that you decide to use, it must meet all legal requirements.
Food – The type of food that you choose to serve will probably come from personal experiences, such as a family recipe or a type of food that you’ve always dreamed of cooking. It could come from a type of foreign cuisine that you learned whilst travelling or you might just choose to cook the type of food that makes you happy. There are certain types of mobile food businesses, however, that work well and have proven a hit in just about any circumstances. The one thing that these foods all have in common is that they are portable and easy to consume.
Marketing – Look for places that other street food stalls or vans set-up at lunchtime and identify areas that you can set-up in at least 3 or 4 times a week to generate a solid, basic income. Then use the slower times of the day or season to perfect your marketing strategy. It is important that you stay in contact with your customers. So ensure that you have set-up Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts and use these social networks to gather reviews, share your menu, run competitions, and generate hype for your business.
The risks of running a street food business
Any type of catering job is always very physically demanding and extremely hard work. There are also strict legal requirements that must be conformed to when running any type of food business in order to avoid being fined. So make sure that you’re very thorough in researching all of the legalities involving your mobile catering business.
There are numerous risks that you face when working in the food industry. Accidentally storing food at incorrect temperatures can cause severe food poisoning, which you can be held liable for. You may have even assured your customer that their meal does not contain any nuts that could affect their nut allergy but, as it turns out, it does and you had no idea.
Public liability insurance for caterers provides financial protection for your business. If you are a mobile catering business serving food from a van or a small stall in your local market, you can ensure financial protection from such claims with this type of insurance cover. It is optional, rather than a legal requirement, but Ashburnham Insurance recommends that you certainly consider having it for your own protection. Furthermore, if you have valuable equipment, you may wish to consider tools cover to provide compensation in the event of them being stolen. CALL FREE ON 0800 1696137 to find out more.