Street food has boomed in popularity over the last few years across all of the UK’s major cities. It is easy to understand why it has become such a successful industry - it offers consumers a range of restaurant-quality meals at significantly lower prices.
So if you are passionate about food and want to start your own business, there has never been a better time to set up a street food business. There is a lot to know before you dive into starting your street food venture and this article will outline all of this so you can make informed decisions and hit the ground running this Summer.
When starting a street food business it is important to make sure you have all the necessary skills needed to be successful. There are many various skills needed to run a street food business and if you don’t have all of them covered, be sure to hire staff and partners who do to ensure your business runs perfectly. And remember that a lot of the skills needed to execute a successful street food business can be and will be developed over time so don’t be disheartened and keep your expectations reasonable at the start.
Some of the crucial skills needed to start your street food business include: cooking ability, financial knowledge, marketing skills, management ability, and customer service skills. The street food industry is highly competitive so it is important to focus on serving top-quality food. Become great at making a few variations of a single type of cuisine that share a lot of the same ingredients as this will give you the best chance of success.
Before taking the plunge of starting a new business it is important to be well informed on all the costs involved in setting it up and running it. The amount can greatly vary depending on the route your particular street food business takes. Some of the costs involved in a street food business include: transportation costs, workspace, cooking equipment, serving and presentation costs, marketing budget, and staff wages. It is easy to start a low-cost street food business at first and then continue to improve and upgrade as you expand. Always be on the lookout for ways to reduce business costs, such as investing in an industrial vacuum packer to lower the amount of food wastage and improve storage efficiency.
To sell food within the UK, you need to apply for food business registration at least 28 days before you may begin trading. If you are found selling food without this registration you can be imprisoned for up to two years - so it is important to apply for this far enough in advance. And to sell food specifically as a street vendor, you will also need to register your street food business with your local council at least 28 days before you begin trading. This can be applied for through the food business registration page on the government website, and if you are caught trading without one, you can be heavily fined.
Before your business starts trading, you should join the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF). This membership provides liability protection up to £10 million so it is a great way to give you peace of mind. Anyone involved in selling food to the public also needs Level 2 Food Safety qualifications. It is illegal to serve food without this qualification, but it can easily be achieved from a one-day course.
Also, remember that any gas equipment used on-site needs to be gas safety–compliant and all electrical equipment needs to undergo annual Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). It is crucial to also follow all health and safety regulations and you will need to carry all adequate fire-fighting equipment at all times. All this information can be found on the government’s website. Keep a copy of all your acquired licenses and certificates on your premises at all times in case you are ever asked to provide them by a health and safety inspector.
Your menu is the most important factor of your street food businesses, so it is crucial to carefully consider what food you are going to serve. Do a lot of market research and be sure to create a menu you are passionate about. Also, consider what is practical to prepare and to serve.
We hope that with this article’s information and advice, alongside a lot of hard work and dedication, you will be able to start a highly successful street food business this Summer!