Where can I trade?
Trading opportunities for mobile caterers are fast improving. Street Food is thriving in the UK, affording mobile caterers the ability to trade at markets, private family or corporate events as well as at a growing number of UK-based festivals.
Street Food Events
Street Food events have been thriving for several years and have now spread the length and breadth of the country. Events such as Digbeth Dining Club in Birmingham and KERB in London are increasingly popular and attract thousands of customers seeking alternative, authentic, artisan street eats in a friendly, communal setting.
Street Food events are also a great place to liaise with fellow mobile caterers, share and receive advice and meet an array of hungry punters. Meeting customers face to face is also a great way to receive and respond to feedback and perhaps alter your food offering accordingly.
Many street food traders also apply to work at private parties and events, such as weddings or conferences. No to be confused with traditional function caterers, street food traders are often hired to serve from their unit outdoors due to their exciting unit style and food types. Mobile bars, dessert units and tea & coffee caterers can be very popular with private event planners, and with fees and customer numbers secured upfront, there’s no fear of making a loss on the day.
In order to obtain this kind of work, it’s important to work on your business brand and marketing to show organisers how hiring your trading unit will make for an enjoyable, memorable event.
Many business owners who start out in street food will go on to work at festivals of varying sizes. In recent years, event organisers have insisted on supplying only the very best quality food and service at their events, and pitches can lead to huge profits for traders. Music festivals, specified food festivals; such as vegan-only, cheese-only, chicken-only, etc, arts festivals and local community events all require caterers, and they’re multiplying nationwide.
Pitch fees at these events can vary hugely based on expected footfall, location, notoriety, number of traders and organiser discretion. It’s important to make sure you have the means to make back the cost of the pitch and a profit before you agree to work at a festival.
Trading in a town centre is often one of the most desired opportunities for street food businesses. With heavy footfall around trading units and a chance to attract customers at all times in the day, be they shoppers, commuters, or workers on their lunch break, traders in town centres can make big profits.
However, these pitches are almost always on an annual license by the local authority and subject to a monthly rent. Local by-laws also vary greatly from one council to another. Some require a street trader’s license, (hawker’s license), whereas others have abolished them. Along with this, there may be a risk of street food traders creating too much competition for local fixed site businesses, and this can restrict opportunities for this kind of work.