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Starting a street food business: top tips & insights

Whether you’re in the early stages of researching the industry or already looking for street food trucks for sale, we’ve put together a list of practical tips and useful information for aspiring street food entrepreneurs.


Starting a street food business has many benefits. First of all, everyone’s got to eat so there’s definite market potential. Secondly, there are low startup costs and legal entry barriers. Lastly, you get to work independently and be your own boss.


blue coffee street food van with a chalkboard menu

Do your research


As with any new venture, you want to be as prepared as possible before starting a food street business. This means laying out a solid business plan, researching your market in-depth, and testing all your menu options.


As the UK faces a recessionary period, customers are turning to low-price options when eating out, which may present an opportunity for street food businesses, according to Euromonitor International.


Check out Business Gateway’s market report for a snapshot of the industry as well as key stats and helpful resources to get you started.


Check out Street Food Central’s profitable food ideas to kick-start your business, from roast dinner wraps and burgers to pizzas and smoothie bowls.


Make sure to research the following elements before launching your business:

  • Legal requirements

  • Food safety

  • Menu & ingredients

  • Customers

  • Competitors

  • Pricing & costs

  • Location

  • Setup

Food safety records - opt for digital instead of paper


If you’re running a mobile food business, it can be tricky to carry all your food hygiene paperwork with you everywhere you go. You probably have limited space and things can get unorganised very quickly. This is where digital food safety records come in handy.


Digital, smart solutions (like Hubl) help keep all your records in one place - including your due diligence checklists, temperature logs, delivery records, and more. They can even store your HACCP plan, i.e. your food safety management system. This allows you to cut costs, save valuable time and be more sustainable.


Did you know? A survey by Deloitte (2021) reports that 32% of consumers are highly engaged in adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.


Finding a strategic, high-margin location


According to Euromonitor International, finding the right location for your street kiosk or truck will be even more important in a post-covid world, as “the lifestyle of many will differ from that of pre-pandemic times”.


Make sure to assess which locations offer higher margins. Consider locations close to offices and other workplaces as people gradually return to work. You can also consider food festivals, markets and transport locations such as train or bus stations.


woman and child in front of ice cream van

Marketing your street food business


There are many ways you can promote your street food business. Here are some cost-effective marketing avenues to explore:


You can use Instagram to feature food images and tell customers where they can find your food van or stand on a specific day.


Check out @thecheesetruck’s page for inspiration. A mobile British cheese and wine supplier, they’ve got an impressive following of over 20k people.


Top Tip: If you’re using Instagram, make sure to use geotags. These allow users searching in your location to quickly and easily find your business.


Don’t forget to create your own hashtag for your street business either (e.g. #thecheesetruck). Customers will feel encouraged to post about your mobile business using this same hashtag, which can help you create a great community of brand ambassadors.


Instagram is free to use (unless you’re running paid ads), and you don’t have to buy any expensive equipment to photograph or film content - a phone with a good camera should be enough.


It’s also good to think about how to market your brand offline/locally. You can create business cards and distribute flyers with special offers, for example. You might want to consider using recycled papers for this.


You can encourage customers to revisit your street cart, stall or kiosk with loyalty cards or by offering discounts if they bring a friend.


You can also give out free food samples to help increase brand awareness and test new products (just don’t forget to take food safety procedures into consideration).


person wearing apron organising street food truck

Summary


Street food is an exciting business, but getting started can be quite daunting.


From swapping your food hygiene paperwork for a digital solution to utilising Instagram to market your food truck or stand, we’ve shared lots of practical street food business tips to help you on your journey.


Here at Hubl, we love talking about all things hospitality. Whether you’re looking for ways to improve your food hygiene score, or researching restaurant sustainability practices, we’ve got you covered.


References:


Start a Street Food Business, streetfood.org.uk, accessed February 2022


Street Stalls/Kiosks in the United Kingdom, Euromonitor International, Accessed February 2022


How To Start A Profitable Street Food Business In the UK – 2020, Street Food Central, Accessed February 2022


19 Profitable Street Food Business Ideas for 2021, Street Food Central, Accessed February 2022


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