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Until quite recently, street food had always been associated with greasy burgers and kebabs, but times are changing. The ‘modern street food’ trend that began in the US has taken hold in the UK and street food is officially the coolest way to eat takeaway.
From fish and chips, gourmet burgers and chicken wings to more exotic foods from across the world, if you can name a cuisine there is probably an artisanal food van serving it and doing so very well indeed somewhere in London on Birmingham.
As well as attracting foodies from everywhere, however, it is a great way for food entrepreneurs to start their own business at a lower cost and work their way up to eventually owning their own restaurant.
Of course, there are drawbacks. Self-employment is not for everyone, there’s a wealth of competition and if your van breaks down, you’re going to really suffer for it. But we think the pros significantly outweigh the cons when it comes to British street food.
The Benefits of Starting a Street Food Business
The main benefit of owning a street food business is that you can set up shop just about anywhere. Whether you want to station yourself outside a football stadium on match day or turn up to a fine dining club and share your wares with local foodies. Of course, certain food festivals and other locations will charge you a pitch fee, but it will also give you access to a built-in customer base.
Whereas a restaurant requires planning permission, renovation costs and continual rental costs, a food truck is a one-off payment that you can probably clear with a relatively small bank loan. All you need to add then is the saucepans and plastic cutlery. It’s the ideal way to grow your business from scratch and learn the craft. There is very little financial risk to starting a street food business but major potential rewards.
The joy of being your own boss is that you can work the hours you want and run the business however you want. Fancy a week off? Simply don’t take the truck out this week. Want to work over Christmas when everyone else is forced to sit at home pretending to enjoy their families? Go for it. The same goes for where you choose to work. You could drive to the coast and live by the beach during the summer and then move to the city during the winter, for example.
One of the most important parts of the business plan is your marketing but thankfully, street food is seen as incredibly “on-trend” right now. Use social media to succeed in marketing and to get the word out about your food truck and you won’t need to charge a penny. Better yet, there’s an incredible community that’s built up around street food, with vendors eager to support each other. So, why not form some unofficial partnerships with food trucks that complement your cuisine? The world is your oyster, my friend.