Is Street Food For You?
There are a few crucial personality traits required to be a successful street food business owner. The job is not for everyone, and though it may seem like an attractive idea at first, business owners really need to have the right attributes to make it into a long-term career.
A Passion for food
Street food is about quality ingredients and excellent service. Good food business owners know everything about their menu, from the farm their meat is reared at, to the time it takes to blend the ingredients to make the perfect salad dressing. Customers can go anywhere for fast cooked, processed foods – make sure they come to you for nothing less than the best.
Street food gives business owners and chefs great opportunities to engage with their customers and receive instant feedback on their dishes. But in order for things to run smoothly, you’ll have to ensure you can communicate effectively with a wide variety of people, from customers both happy and disgruntled, to suppliers, event organisers, staff and EHOs.
As a self-employed business owner, you’ll have no boss to turn to should things go wrong. Decision-making and problem-solving will be your main job and you’ll need self-motivation to cope with every challenge that comes your way. Your enthusiasm mustn’t waver, as the success and staying power of your business depends on it.
Working hours will vary widely in street food. You’ll have to be capable of getting to site early to set up, staying late in the evening to close down, remain enthusiastic with every customer that you serve, and take on marketing tasks such as social media promotion to get the word out about your business. You may be working 6 or 7 days a week, so you and your team will have to thrive at the heart of busy events and be willing to give up your own social activities.
Problems can crop up at any time and you’ll need to be prepared to solve them without quitting. A can-do attitude is crucial, as you’ll need to be able to come up with contingency plans at short notice for anything from staff not showing up or suppliers being out of stock, to wild weather conditions and broken-down vehicles.
There is a potential to earn at lot of money as a street food trader, but only if the right steps are taken to ensure financial stability. You’re never going to make money overnight. Successful street food businesses spend months building up brand recognition and perfecting their menus. Start small and you’ll eventually secure regular work with good profits.
Stand out from the crowd
The street food industry is growing, but that means competition is growing even faster. You’ll have to be capable of standing out to attract customers to your unit and encourage event organisers to choose you for their pitch by demonstrating what makes you and your business different.
Need some more guidance?
We have a training course dedicated to teaching you everything you need to know about starting up in Street Food. From marketing advice and planning the perfect menu, to legal requirements and securing work, the course has provided hundreds of trainees with the guidance needed to achieve their dreams of starting their own business.
Created by Street Food experts, the course provides tips from NCASS; the UK’s only Primary Authority Trade Association for mobile caterers and street food businesses.
The course covers:
The evolution of street food
Choosing food that sells
Finance – from start up costs to menu pricing and tax
Marketing – from branding to social media
Equipment, kitchens and catering units
Health & Safety
Fire, gas and electrical safety
& much more.