So you are interested in starting your own street food business. Please enjoy this informative blog on an expanding industry
Pick a country, any country and you are sure to find a street food vendor in a city near you that will cater to your tastes. The vibrant, colourful world of street food has taken the UK by storm in the last 15-20 years. No longer are greasy kebabs and dodgy sausage butties the only option quick food option outside the big fast food chains.
Interesting food from all types of cuisine caters to the increasingly varied palettes of the average UK consumer. The low start-up costs and low operational costs make this an ideal business venture for ‘foodie’ entrepreneurs who have a limited budget and want to explore a new business idea at relatively low risk.
The figure below shows some of the key industry stats for the UK Street Food Sector. The market is growing rapidly, bolstered by a more adventurous customer base willing to try new food experiences. The versatility and flexible nature of a street food business means there are ample opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs. Be they focused on semi-permanent high street locations or mobile outfits travelling from event to event the average start-up costs are substantially lower than having a fixed premises like a restaurant.
With 1 in 4 of consumers buying street food 2-3 times a week there is a steady flow of demand for all types of street food. Fresh, high quality ingredients stand in stark contrast to the stereotypical burger van of yesteryear. Often the offerings can be made ahead of time and/or made in bulk. The cheaper nature of the raw materials also lends itself to a very lean operation with strong profit potential.
The average number of daily customers a street food vendor may expect to see sits at just over 100 a day. This number greatly varies depending on location but daily revenues into four figures is a perfectly reasonable expectation for a street food operator who has a differentiated offer and clear business plan.
The range of street food that can be found in the UK is as long as your arm. The table below shows the most popular offerings but is by no means exclusive. Within each cuisine type, there is potential to develop even a more specific niche. A Mexican based street food vendor, for example, may specialise in Burrito, or Tacos. This provides and wonderfully rich and diverse marketplace.
The Customer Spend on Street Food
As consumer tastes move away from the supermarket meal deal and fast food options towards the fresher, and often healthier, options provided from street food operators, so has the average spend seen at such businesses rise. For just a tenner customers can enjoy a tasty and freshly cooked meal.
How Do Street Food Vendors Get Financed?
The average start-up cost for a street food vendor is under £5,000 but great things can be achieved on even more minimal budgets. Mikail started his street food cart in late 2017 on the impressively small sum of £600. ‘All Things Wings’ specialises in serving 4 different types of chicken wings and started life with two second-hand charcoal barbeques. By having a detailed business plan behind him Mihail was able to leverage a small budget into a successful working business.
The table below shows the main sources of business finance and their associated percentage. In some cases, for larger projects, businesses may need to obtain finance from more than one source.
The layperson may be misled into thinking a fully written business plan would only be a requirement if looking for outside finance. Whilst it is true a solid business plan would be a pre-requisite for any form of form debt or equity finance the value of having a quality business plan cannot be underestimated. Even for those self-funding, a viable and robust business plan is a sure way to keep focused and accountable which will ultimately lead to better business decision making.
Importance of a plan
Having a solid business plan in the back pocket allows any business to have safe knowledge that their financial projections are carefully noted. For small businesses on small budgets, who may not have much contingency in place, the value of a quality plan should not be underestimated. The graphic below shows a high proportion of street food vendors do not possess any form of
So what can we say about starting your own street food business?
- Can be started on very lean budgets
- Wide variety and strong customer demand
- Businesses flexible and adaptable
- Extremely important to fully understand the business cash flow
- Location sensitive
How you can succeed
The best way to get ahead of the competition and eliminate the biggest unknowns and risks when starting your own street food business is to invest in a quality business plan. For a few hundred pounds, you can obtain a high-quality, visually stunning, financially robust business plan. It will give you a greater chance of seeking that vital finance and in the long run, could save you thousands.
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